That's right! It's time for the dreaded "Week In Review" post![*] What has your Friendly Neighbourhood Nomad been up to this week?

Monday: After work, I had a tight commute, but got back into Oxford just in time for my ice skating lesson. Actually, I had thought that I would be late for the first time ever -- very glad to have been wrong on that count! This was the first week of the Level Seven class. We are learning inside edge three-turns[**], backwards crossovers, continuous circles on the inside edges, and continuous circles on the outside edges. The first two seem a bit tricky, but I have a fair bit of confidence that I can manage to learn them all in the remaining five weeks of the class. Eventually, I know that I will have to re-take a Level... but it hasn't happened yet, and I'd like to put that off for as long as possible!

Tuesday: Missed the Oxford Tube in the evening by about two minutes, so I had to wait fifteen for the next one. This made me late for bell ringing practice with the OUSCR at Mary Mag. Thankfully, I was only seven minutes late to a seventy-five minute practice, so it all worked out. Indeed, it is quite likely that I didn't actually miss out on any ringing. There were twenty-two people there, so I only rang every third or fourth go. I also stayed up far too late watching the election results come in.

Wednesday: This was a free evening -- a rarity during term time. Since I skate on Mondays and ring on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Wednesday evening is the only one that is potentially open... and often [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I fill it with theatre dates (like we did last week and like we will do in two and three weeks time). I used the opportunity stay late at Imperial College. This seemed like a good idea, especially since I had arrived late, thanks to the long election night on Tuesday. Once I arrived home, I ate dinner quickly, then had a phone date with the tremendously terrific [livejournal.com profile] tawneypup! It had only been about a week since we had last talked -- which is normal for us -- but it was still quite lovely to hear her voice! Before the evening was out, I also got to catch up with [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle for the first time in awhile, and speak to the delightfully delicious Darelle, too.

Thursday: Today has turned out to be very different than planned. In fact, it has been a bit of an annoying day. Nothing serious has gone wrong, but I am non-plussed. I'm going to rant about my day, just to get the annoyance off of my chest. However, it really is just griping, so I will place it behind a cut, and please feel free to skip it! )

Friday: Tomorrow, we pick up the keys to our new flat! At which point, we officially start moving! Looking forward to this -- I like the new place, and it will make the commute a bit easier in a couple of different ways! Then there is a very busy weekend ahead... but I will write about that as it unfolds.


[*] Or, to be more specific, the slightly-less dreaded "Week In Review So Far" post.

[**] These involve skating forward, then pivoting on one foot, and ending up backward in a one-foot glide. We did them on the outside edge of our skates in Level Six.

[***] As anyone who knows me will attest, waiting is not my strong suit.

[****] Three cheers for mobile broadband!


That's right! It's time for the dreaded "Week In Review" post![*] What has your Friendly Neighbourhood Nomad been up to this week?

Monday: After work, I had a tight commute, but got back into Oxford just in time for my ice skating lesson. Actually, I had thought that I would be late for the first time ever -- very glad to have been wrong on that count! This was the first week of the Level Seven class. We are learning inside edge three-turns[**], backwards crossovers, continuous circles on the inside edges, and continuous circles on the outside edges. The first two seem a bit tricky, but I have a fair bit of confidence that I can manage to learn them all in the remaining five weeks of the class. Eventually, I know that I will have to re-take a Level... but it hasn't happened yet, and I'd like to put that off for as long as possible!

Tuesday: Missed the Oxford Tube in the evening by about two minutes, so I had to wait fifteen for the next one. This made me late for bell ringing practice with the OUSCR at Mary Mag. Thankfully, I was only seven minutes late to a seventy-five minute practice, so it all worked out. Indeed, it is quite likely that I didn't actually miss out on any ringing. There were twenty-two people there, so I only rang every third or fourth go. I also stayed up far too late watching the election results come in.

Wednesday: This was a free evening -- a rarity during term time. Since I skate on Mondays and ring on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Wednesday evening is the only one that is potentially open... and often [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I fill it with theatre dates (like we did last week and like we will do in two and three weeks time). I used the opportunity stay late at Imperial College. This seemed like a good idea, especially since I had arrived late, thanks to the long election night on Tuesday. Once I arrived home, I ate dinner quickly, then had a phone date with the tremendously terrific [livejournal.com profile] tawneypup! It had only been about a week since we had last talked -- which is normal for us -- but it was still quite lovely to hear her voice! Before the evening was out, I also got to catch up with [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle for the first time in awhile, and speak to the delightfully delicious Darelle, too.

Thursday: Today has turned out to be very different than planned. In fact, it has been a bit of an annoying day. Nothing serious has gone wrong, but I am non-plussed. I'm going to rant about my day, just to get the annoyance off of my chest. However, it really is just griping, so I will place it behind a cut, and please feel free to skip it! )

Friday: Tomorrow, we pick up the keys to our new flat! At which point, we officially start moving! Looking forward to this -- I like the new place, and it will make the commute a bit easier in a couple of different ways! Then there is a very busy weekend ahead... but I will write about that as it unfolds.


[*] Or, to be more specific, the slightly-less dreaded "Week In Review So Far" post.

[**] These involve skating forward, then pivoting on one foot, and ending up backward in a one-foot glide. We did them on the outside edge of our skates in Level Six.

[***] As anyone who knows me will attest, waiting is not my strong suit.

[****] Three cheers for mobile broadband!


As mentioned last week, I've been taking a bit of an LJ holiday... inspired by a bad sprain in the left wrist. One week later, it is definitely improved, but not back to normal. This may be in part due to the fact that I really have not been resting it much. Ah well.

In any case, I am now taking a break from my LJ break to just summarise the highlights of my life from the past week. Not terribly interesting to anyone else, I know, but I want to remember certain bits of it. So here they are:

Last week:
Was pleasantly surprised on payday by a rise. Just three percent -- the annual inflation adjustment -- but welcome nonetheless. With large vet bills and seven weeks as a single income household, this year has been a bit tight and any attempt to give me additional income will not be turned away at the door. Actually, the University has been fairly generous in this regard; after twenty-six months here, my salary is nearly 21% higher than it was when I started. That's equivalent to a 0.73% monthly raise -- not too shabby!

Also had a nice "phone date" with [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle last week. It has been nearly six months since last we saw each other, as her Spring visit to Oxford was cancelled on account of her needing surgery. Happily, Starwood is next month (!!!) and we will see much of each other again there!


Weekend:
On Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I had a nice day out. The weather cooperated with us, so we spent most of the day out of doors. We started by getting lunch at The Trout. Sitting next to the Thames, we enjoyed our meal while watching the water flow by us. Afterward, we went to the Oxford Botanic Garden, where we enjoyed the first of their summer picnics. In the evening, we went to Lincoln College to see an outdoor production -- our first of the year -- of Twelfth Night. I had not seen it before, so this makes twenty-one of Shakespeare's plays that I have seen performed on the stage, with sixteen more to go.

Sunday's biggest news was, of course, another visit with our new kitten, which I have already written about. The rest of the day was pretty ordinary and involved things like ringing bells for services at St. Giles and preparing the cryostat for this week's work. Not terribly worth writing on.


This week:
A couple of interesting things have happened this week. I already mentioned passing the level three and level four appraisals in my final ice skating course of the term on Monday. On Tuesday I received my first circulated[*] 2008 coin -- a shiny penny, still with the old reverse. And today I made a blood donation, my seventh since moving to England.

At work, we successfully managed to record an alpha-spectrum (using radioactive Americium) with our proto-detector. I talked about this several weeks ago, but it took some time to see a result. Electronics troubles -- most particularly interference from ground loops -- slowed things down and needed to be sorted first. In any case, as of Wednesday morning, we have an alpha-spectrum measurement, which is quite a satisfying step forward.

My ringing has been making steady and noticeable progress. At Mary Mag, I have been having further gos at Plain Bob Major. I am still quite rough at doing this on tower bells, but the practice is precisely what is needed. At St. Cross last week, we did an interesting exercise -- ringing called changes with our backs turned away from each other, using only our ears to guide us. Eeep! Nerve inducing, but quite useful, really. At St. Cross this week, I rang a touch of Plain Bob Doubles... and I thought that I handled myself quite well in it! Very encouraging! Indeed, I am reaching the point where Bob Doubles -- and, yes, I know it is a simple method -- is coming instinctively, without me needing to concentrate intensely on it to ring correctly. Tonight -- in about an hour -- I have another practice at St. Giles, first on handbells and then on tower bells.

Finally, if all this babbling about my life has not driven everyone away, here is a reward for any Batman fans out there. I was completely unaware of this until [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat found it... but there is an animated Batman movie coming out later this year[**]. The trailer does not give away much of the plot, but the animation looks really cool... and the voice of Batman & Bruce Wayne is being done by Kevin Conroy, who also was the voice actor on the most excellent Batman: The Animated Series. Here is the trailer:


[*] I have a complete set of uncirculated UK coins from 2008 already, all with the old reverses. I ordered it from the Royal Mint in December and, indeed, had it before 2007 was out. However, there is still something nifty about receiving one's first coin of the year from regular circulation. At least to me there is.

[**] Direct to DVD, I'm afraid.

As mentioned last week, I've been taking a bit of an LJ holiday... inspired by a bad sprain in the left wrist. One week later, it is definitely improved, but not back to normal. This may be in part due to the fact that I really have not been resting it much. Ah well.

In any case, I am now taking a break from my LJ break to just summarise the highlights of my life from the past week. Not terribly interesting to anyone else, I know, but I want to remember certain bits of it. So here they are:

Last week:
Was pleasantly surprised on payday by a rise. Just three percent -- the annual inflation adjustment -- but welcome nonetheless. With large vet bills and seven weeks as a single income household, this year has been a bit tight and any attempt to give me additional income will not be turned away at the door. Actually, the University has been fairly generous in this regard; after twenty-six months here, my salary is nearly 21% higher than it was when I started. That's equivalent to a 0.73% monthly raise -- not too shabby!

Also had a nice "phone date" with [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle last week. It has been nearly six months since last we saw each other, as her Spring visit to Oxford was cancelled on account of her needing surgery. Happily, Starwood is next month (!!!) and we will see much of each other again there!


Weekend:
On Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I had a nice day out. The weather cooperated with us, so we spent most of the day out of doors. We started by getting lunch at The Trout. Sitting next to the Thames, we enjoyed our meal while watching the water flow by us. Afterward, we went to the Oxford Botanic Garden, where we enjoyed the first of their summer picnics. In the evening, we went to Lincoln College to see an outdoor production -- our first of the year -- of Twelfth Night. I had not seen it before, so this makes twenty-one of Shakespeare's plays that I have seen performed on the stage, with sixteen more to go.

Sunday's biggest news was, of course, another visit with our new kitten, which I have already written about. The rest of the day was pretty ordinary and involved things like ringing bells for services at St. Giles and preparing the cryostat for this week's work. Not terribly worth writing on.


This week:
A couple of interesting things have happened this week. I already mentioned passing the level three and level four appraisals in my final ice skating course of the term on Monday. On Tuesday I received my first circulated[*] 2008 coin -- a shiny penny, still with the old reverse. And today I made a blood donation, my seventh since moving to England.

At work, we successfully managed to record an alpha-spectrum (using radioactive Americium) with our proto-detector. I talked about this several weeks ago, but it took some time to see a result. Electronics troubles -- most particularly interference from ground loops -- slowed things down and needed to be sorted first. In any case, as of Wednesday morning, we have an alpha-spectrum measurement, which is quite a satisfying step forward.

My ringing has been making steady and noticeable progress. At Mary Mag, I have been having further gos at Plain Bob Major. I am still quite rough at doing this on tower bells, but the practice is precisely what is needed. At St. Cross last week, we did an interesting exercise -- ringing called changes with our backs turned away from each other, using only our ears to guide us. Eeep! Nerve inducing, but quite useful, really. At St. Cross this week, I rang a touch of Plain Bob Doubles... and I thought that I handled myself quite well in it! Very encouraging! Indeed, I am reaching the point where Bob Doubles -- and, yes, I know it is a simple method -- is coming instinctively, without me needing to concentrate intensely on it to ring correctly. Tonight -- in about an hour -- I have another practice at St. Giles, first on handbells and then on tower bells.

Finally, if all this babbling about my life has not driven everyone away, here is a reward for any Batman fans out there. I was completely unaware of this until [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat found it... but there is an animated Batman movie coming out later this year[**]. The trailer does not give away much of the plot, but the animation looks really cool... and the voice of Batman & Bruce Wayne is being done by Kevin Conroy, who also was the voice actor on the most excellent Batman: The Animated Series. Here is the trailer:


[*] I have a complete set of uncirculated UK coins from 2008 already, all with the old reverses. I ordered it from the Royal Mint in December and, indeed, had it before 2007 was out. However, there is still something nifty about receiving one's first coin of the year from regular circulation. At least to me there is.

[**] Direct to DVD, I'm afraid.

Right -- this is what incredibly tired feels like. Now I remember.

With [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat in the States, I have been taking advantage of free evenings[*] to catch up with important people across the pond. On Sunday evening, after returning from Birmingham, I spoke to the Kiddo for a couple of hours... then followed that call up by giving the delightful JCM a ring. Similarly, on Monday evening, after ice skating lessons, I rang up the adorable [livejournal.com profile] squeektoy42 for a bit. And last night I was up way too late talking to the beguiling [livejournal.com profile] iamthesphinx.

One result of all this chatty goodness is that I feel re-connected to the lives of several people that I care about from far away. Another result is that I have not had a full night's sleep in nearly a week. On both sides of the Atlantic, legend has it that I do not actually need sleep. Like most legends, this is partially rooted in truth... but is not entirely correct. It finally caught up with me today, and I am quite knackered. Any incoherence in this entry can be justly attributed to that.

As such, the ever-nifty [livejournal.com profile] gyades has agreed to reschedule this evening's conversation for next week so that I can get to bed early. This is probably a very good idea, as tomorrow is May Day.

As usual, I will be taking May Day off from work. I have not worked on May 1st in six years, out of respect for my Anarchist forebears, the Haymarker Martyrs. To me, it is the most important Anarchist holiday, and I usually celebrate with some sort of activism[**]. Last year, for a change of pace, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I indulged in the traditional Oxford May Morning activities -- starting with the all-night bonfire at Port Meadow, continuing on to the Magdalen College choir at dawn, and the Morris dancers and street performers after. Twas a very good time, indeed! We finished with a yummy breakfast at Frevd's -- and I was way too tired to remember now what I ate -- then she went to work and I went to sleep.

This year, I have decided to mix and match a bit of everything. It is good that I am going to call it an early night and retire soon after bell ringing this evening... as here is what I have in store for tomorrow:

Dawn: Listen to the Magdalen College choir sing from their tower overlooking the Magdalen bridge.

6:30am: Ring in the May with the Oxford University Society of Change Ringers at the University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. I have never rung at this tower, so I am rather excited about this.

7:30am Lardy breakfast[***] at Keble College with the OUSCR.

Noon: May Day march and demonstration. I don't know if there will be an Anarchist contingent (besides me), but this is our holiday and I intend to be out there on the streets!

2:30pm Premiere showing of the Iron Man movie in Oxford! I already have my ticket and am -- perhaps naively -- psyched up for it!

5:00pm Take a walk, just to keep in practice. Only three or four miles.

6:30pm Handbell ringing at St. Giles, followed by tower bell practice.

11:30pm Beltane phone date with the enchanting [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle.

Looks to be a very fun day tomorrow, combining the best of several worlds. I'd best be off now to ring and then sleep, as I would prefer to be rested when the alarm sounds at 4:30am tomorrow...

[*] Well, free after about 10pm, anyway... which is when I usually get home.

[**] Sitting on a shelf at the Event Horizon, I still have the video tape of the nightly news showing a cop assaulting me during the Tempe May Day march of 2003. Whee!

[***] Vegetarian lard in my case.


Right -- this is what incredibly tired feels like. Now I remember.

With [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat in the States, I have been taking advantage of free evenings[*] to catch up with important people across the pond. On Sunday evening, after returning from Birmingham, I spoke to the Kiddo for a couple of hours... then followed that call up by giving the delightful JCM a ring. Similarly, on Monday evening, after ice skating lessons, I rang up the adorable [livejournal.com profile] squeektoy42 for a bit. And last night I was up way too late talking to the beguiling [livejournal.com profile] iamthesphinx.

One result of all this chatty goodness is that I feel re-connected to the lives of several people that I care about from far away. Another result is that I have not had a full night's sleep in nearly a week. On both sides of the Atlantic, legend has it that I do not actually need sleep. Like most legends, this is partially rooted in truth... but is not entirely correct. It finally caught up with me today, and I am quite knackered. Any incoherence in this entry can be justly attributed to that.

As such, the ever-nifty [livejournal.com profile] gyades has agreed to reschedule this evening's conversation for next week so that I can get to bed early. This is probably a very good idea, as tomorrow is May Day.

As usual, I will be taking May Day off from work. I have not worked on May 1st in six years, out of respect for my Anarchist forebears, the Haymarker Martyrs. To me, it is the most important Anarchist holiday, and I usually celebrate with some sort of activism[**]. Last year, for a change of pace, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I indulged in the traditional Oxford May Morning activities -- starting with the all-night bonfire at Port Meadow, continuing on to the Magdalen College choir at dawn, and the Morris dancers and street performers after. Twas a very good time, indeed! We finished with a yummy breakfast at Frevd's -- and I was way too tired to remember now what I ate -- then she went to work and I went to sleep.

This year, I have decided to mix and match a bit of everything. It is good that I am going to call it an early night and retire soon after bell ringing this evening... as here is what I have in store for tomorrow:

Dawn: Listen to the Magdalen College choir sing from their tower overlooking the Magdalen bridge.

6:30am: Ring in the May with the Oxford University Society of Change Ringers at the University Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. I have never rung at this tower, so I am rather excited about this.

7:30am Lardy breakfast[***] at Keble College with the OUSCR.

Noon: May Day march and demonstration. I don't know if there will be an Anarchist contingent (besides me), but this is our holiday and I intend to be out there on the streets!

2:30pm Premiere showing of the Iron Man movie in Oxford! I already have my ticket and am -- perhaps naively -- psyched up for it!

5:00pm Take a walk, just to keep in practice. Only three or four miles.

6:30pm Handbell ringing at St. Giles, followed by tower bell practice.

11:30pm Beltane phone date with the enchanting [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle.

Looks to be a very fun day tomorrow, combining the best of several worlds. I'd best be off now to ring and then sleep, as I would prefer to be rested when the alarm sounds at 4:30am tomorrow...

[*] Well, free after about 10pm, anyway... which is when I usually get home.

[**] Sitting on a shelf at the Event Horizon, I still have the video tape of the nightly news showing a cop assaulting me during the Tempe May Day march of 2003. Whee!

[***] Vegetarian lard in my case.


anarchist_nomad: (Guess who?)
( Mar. 31st, 2008 11:24 pm)
My goodness -- I really have been rubbish about updating lately! I will try to rectify that somewhat now.

Friday, I had an almost-cold cryostat. By this, I mean that the K-400 had cooled to 23mK[*], which is not quite cold enough to work with a tungsten detector -- we need 8mK at most for that. However, I had also installed a prototype titanium detector, which superconducts at a few hundred millikelvin, so I could do some experimenting with that.

Friday evening, the adorable [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic came back to Oxford and we shared a lovely weekend together. Said weekend included another trip to Blenheim Palace on Saturday. Inclement weather prevented us from enjoying the park and the gardens, but I did get to see more of the inside of the palace than I had on my previous trip. A new exhibit, called "The Untold Story", tells the story of the various inhabitants of the palace over the past three hundred years... narrated by a ghost of one of the first servants there. It was cheesy but cute. Also, the private apartments, where the current Duke of Marlborough and his family live -- were available to tour; they are usually off limits. So we got to see how ridiculously and outrageously rich people live.

Saturday evening was somewhat mellow and, on Sunday, the weather had improved greatly. To celebrate this most distinctly Spring-like weather, [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic and I took a stroll through the University Parks. Then we came back to Skullcrusher Mountain with enough time to play Puerto Rico with [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat before I needed to drop her off at the coach station[**]. [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat played a remarkably solid game and scored a definitive win: fifty-eight points to my fifty-four. After [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic began her journey back to London, I rang up the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle to have one last conversation with her before her surgery. She went in today to have her tonsils out... so it will be a little while before she can speak to me again -- quite literally!

Tonight was my last ice skating class in the level one / level two course. Most of us -- myself included -- have registered for the level three course that begins in three weeks. Accordingly, the instructor went over some of the level three skills with us tonight. When the class ended, I stayed to practice for about an hour before making my way home. Besides the skills that I have learned in the past six weeks, I have to say that I simply feel much more comfortable on the ice. That may actually be more important, in the long run...

[*] That is 0.023 degrees above absolute zero -- room temperature, for comparison, is about 300K or 300,000mK.

[**] I am way behind at posting the results to recent games. I know that this disappoints many people. Expect a forthcoming post where I do nothing but report the scores from gaming in the past couple of weeks. That will give you something exciting to look forward to.

anarchist_nomad: (Guess who?)
( Mar. 31st, 2008 11:24 pm)
My goodness -- I really have been rubbish about updating lately! I will try to rectify that somewhat now.

Friday, I had an almost-cold cryostat. By this, I mean that the K-400 had cooled to 23mK[*], which is not quite cold enough to work with a tungsten detector -- we need 8mK at most for that. However, I had also installed a prototype titanium detector, which superconducts at a few hundred millikelvin, so I could do some experimenting with that.

Friday evening, the adorable [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic came back to Oxford and we shared a lovely weekend together. Said weekend included another trip to Blenheim Palace on Saturday. Inclement weather prevented us from enjoying the park and the gardens, but I did get to see more of the inside of the palace than I had on my previous trip. A new exhibit, called "The Untold Story", tells the story of the various inhabitants of the palace over the past three hundred years... narrated by a ghost of one of the first servants there. It was cheesy but cute. Also, the private apartments, where the current Duke of Marlborough and his family live -- were available to tour; they are usually off limits. So we got to see how ridiculously and outrageously rich people live.

Saturday evening was somewhat mellow and, on Sunday, the weather had improved greatly. To celebrate this most distinctly Spring-like weather, [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic and I took a stroll through the University Parks. Then we came back to Skullcrusher Mountain with enough time to play Puerto Rico with [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat before I needed to drop her off at the coach station[**]. [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat played a remarkably solid game and scored a definitive win: fifty-eight points to my fifty-four. After [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic began her journey back to London, I rang up the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle to have one last conversation with her before her surgery. She went in today to have her tonsils out... so it will be a little while before she can speak to me again -- quite literally!

Tonight was my last ice skating class in the level one / level two course. Most of us -- myself included -- have registered for the level three course that begins in three weeks. Accordingly, the instructor went over some of the level three skills with us tonight. When the class ended, I stayed to practice for about an hour before making my way home. Besides the skills that I have learned in the past six weeks, I have to say that I simply feel much more comfortable on the ice. That may actually be more important, in the long run...

[*] That is 0.023 degrees above absolute zero -- room temperature, for comparison, is about 300K or 300,000mK.

[**] I am way behind at posting the results to recent games. I know that this disappoints many people. Expect a forthcoming post where I do nothing but report the scores from gaming in the past couple of weeks. That will give you something exciting to look forward to.

When last we left our intrepid hero, he was working in the lab late one night when his eyes beheld an eerie sight, preparing to leave the cryostat and go home.

Right about now, I am doing precisely the same thing. Except that it is not quite as late. Still, it is a holiday, and the start of the only four day weekend in England, so I should get some sort of credit for having spent most of the day in the lab. Of course, our group has nine people in it... and five were here today. So maybe not that much credit.

In between these late night laboratory sessions, what have I been up to? Wednesday night, I arrived home at a little after 1:30 in the morning. I rang up my beloved [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle and we had a good conversation for an hour and change. Then, sometime after three o'clock in the morning, I collapsed into bed.

Thursday, I picked up where I had left off on Wednesday. The cryostat had bottomed out at around 20mK, which limited what I could do. I saw a very nice phase transition on the titanium detector (and, at such a high temp, nothing on the tungsten one), then warmed up and opened the fridge.

I left work relatively early in the afternoon and did some puttering at home. Then I picked up [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat from her last day of work at her previous job. If there had been any doubt before about the reason she was let go, it has now been alleviated. Supposedly, her studio is re-organising, and her position will no longer exist. However, the re-org is months away and there is no one in the already overtaxed studio to do the work that she has been doing. Additionally, with only a week's notice that they were getting rid of her, there has been no time to properly train anybody to take over her tasks. She filed an appeal and met with some high muckity-mucks in the company. At the appeal, she argued eloquently -- not for keeping her on indefinitely (she has already begun job hunting and is somewhat relieved to be out of that dysfunction work environment) -- but to keep her on for another month or so, to make for a smooth transition. The appeal was turned down. Everyone in the studio was sorry to see Chesh go (and will probably be sorrier come next week when all the things she was doing are left orphaned) and threw her a big party yesterday afternoon. Basically, only management really wants her gone. Typical response to somebody who got involved in union organising. Feh.

After picking [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat up (and dropping the presents she got at her party off at Skullcrusher Mountain), we drove into London. This time, the GPS unit died of a mysteriously crushed power cord and a dead battery. So we were left to navigate and drive our way through central London on our own. Whee! We survived, though, and met up with [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic and [livejournal.com profile] envoy in Camden to see Jonathan Coulton perform. We had what I consider the best seat in the house -- front and center, right next to the stage. The show was excellent and makes me finally stop hating all my Chicago friends for repeatedly getting to see JoCo perform while I have been on this side of the pond.

When the show ended, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I drove back to Oxford and collapsed. Today I slept in until about noon -- making up for Wednesday's late night -- and have been working in the cryo-lab since shortly after. Yes, it is a four day weekend. However, I do not celebrate Easter and am, instead, planning to use the time to catch up on various and sundry projects... with a little time thrown in for fun.

The Fine Print: Yes, I know that there is a so-called "LJ content strike" going on right now (actually, it is properly a boycott, not a strike). While I approve of the reasons for this action, I do not consider it to be an effective means of achieving an end -- more effective, for instance, would be for holders of paid accounts to organise a month where they all go back to basic -- nor did I ever consent to participate. So while I respect those who have chosen not to post today, I will not be counted amongst their number.

When last we left our intrepid hero, he was working in the lab late one night when his eyes beheld an eerie sight, preparing to leave the cryostat and go home.

Right about now, I am doing precisely the same thing. Except that it is not quite as late. Still, it is a holiday, and the start of the only four day weekend in England, so I should get some sort of credit for having spent most of the day in the lab. Of course, our group has nine people in it... and five were here today. So maybe not that much credit.

In between these late night laboratory sessions, what have I been up to? Wednesday night, I arrived home at a little after 1:30 in the morning. I rang up my beloved [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle and we had a good conversation for an hour and change. Then, sometime after three o'clock in the morning, I collapsed into bed.

Thursday, I picked up where I had left off on Wednesday. The cryostat had bottomed out at around 20mK, which limited what I could do. I saw a very nice phase transition on the titanium detector (and, at such a high temp, nothing on the tungsten one), then warmed up and opened the fridge.

I left work relatively early in the afternoon and did some puttering at home. Then I picked up [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat from her last day of work at her previous job. If there had been any doubt before about the reason she was let go, it has now been alleviated. Supposedly, her studio is re-organising, and her position will no longer exist. However, the re-org is months away and there is no one in the already overtaxed studio to do the work that she has been doing. Additionally, with only a week's notice that they were getting rid of her, there has been no time to properly train anybody to take over her tasks. She filed an appeal and met with some high muckity-mucks in the company. At the appeal, she argued eloquently -- not for keeping her on indefinitely (she has already begun job hunting and is somewhat relieved to be out of that dysfunction work environment) -- but to keep her on for another month or so, to make for a smooth transition. The appeal was turned down. Everyone in the studio was sorry to see Chesh go (and will probably be sorrier come next week when all the things she was doing are left orphaned) and threw her a big party yesterday afternoon. Basically, only management really wants her gone. Typical response to somebody who got involved in union organising. Feh.

After picking [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat up (and dropping the presents she got at her party off at Skullcrusher Mountain), we drove into London. This time, the GPS unit died of a mysteriously crushed power cord and a dead battery. So we were left to navigate and drive our way through central London on our own. Whee! We survived, though, and met up with [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic and [livejournal.com profile] envoy in Camden to see Jonathan Coulton perform. We had what I consider the best seat in the house -- front and center, right next to the stage. The show was excellent and makes me finally stop hating all my Chicago friends for repeatedly getting to see JoCo perform while I have been on this side of the pond.

When the show ended, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I drove back to Oxford and collapsed. Today I slept in until about noon -- making up for Wednesday's late night -- and have been working in the cryo-lab since shortly after. Yes, it is a four day weekend. However, I do not celebrate Easter and am, instead, planning to use the time to catch up on various and sundry projects... with a little time thrown in for fun.

The Fine Print: Yes, I know that there is a so-called "LJ content strike" going on right now (actually, it is properly a boycott, not a strike). While I approve of the reasons for this action, I do not consider it to be an effective means of achieving an end -- more effective, for instance, would be for holders of paid accounts to organise a month where they all go back to basic -- nor did I ever consent to participate. So while I respect those who have chosen not to post today, I will not be counted amongst their number.

...the cryostat is somewhere below 100mK and still cooling, the titanium film has already gone superconducting (Tc = 390mK), and the SQUIDs are both behaving well. Time to start packing it in for the night -- it is past one in the morning, after all! Will go home, ring the lovely [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle for a bit, then get some sleep. With any luck, the tungsten film will be superconducting (Tc = ~12mK) by the time I get back here in the morning...

Also, to anyone who cares, the Vernal Equinox occurs in just four and a half more hours. Better get those eggs ready to balance on end!
...the cryostat is somewhere below 100mK and still cooling, the titanium film has already gone superconducting (Tc = 390mK), and the SQUIDs are both behaving well. Time to start packing it in for the night -- it is past one in the morning, after all! Will go home, ring the lovely [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle for a bit, then get some sleep. With any luck, the tungsten film will be superconducting (Tc = ~12mK) by the time I get back here in the morning...

Also, to anyone who cares, the Vernal Equinox occurs in just four and a half more hours. Better get those eggs ready to balance on end!
PSA #1: Today is the birthday of the beautiful and wonderful [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle! Thus begins the six day period of the year where she is older than me. It's okay -- I catch up next Thursday. Meanwhile, Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!!!

PSA #2: This is directed towards any of my New York (or vicinity) friends who are also Billy Joel fans (except for [livejournal.com profile] squeektoy): Do any of you wish to see Billy perform at the "Last Play At Shea" concert on the evening of Friday July 18th? (I will let you deduce the location of the show for yourselves.) In any case, it turns out that The Kiddo and I have an extra four tickets to the performance. These seats are not at all bad -- Mezzanine level, Section 3-509, Row 509B, Seats 1-4. You can see a seating chart here. We would not be sitting with you, as we have Field level seats, but we could spend time both before and after the concert. If interested, let me know -- we are selling the tickets for $115 each, which is just what we paid to get them. I will wait about a week for replies before telling The Kiddo to sell them through other venues. The show is sold out, so I have no worries that we will be able to find a buyer somewhere -- especially since we are not scalping them!

That's about all for now. It has been a very busy week, so no time to update right now. Will try to do so later...
PSA #1: Today is the birthday of the beautiful and wonderful [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle! Thus begins the six day period of the year where she is older than me. It's okay -- I catch up next Thursday. Meanwhile, Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!!!

PSA #2: This is directed towards any of my New York (or vicinity) friends who are also Billy Joel fans (except for [livejournal.com profile] squeektoy): Do any of you wish to see Billy perform at the "Last Play At Shea" concert on the evening of Friday July 18th? (I will let you deduce the location of the show for yourselves.) In any case, it turns out that The Kiddo and I have an extra four tickets to the performance. These seats are not at all bad -- Mezzanine level, Section 3-509, Row 509B, Seats 1-4. You can see a seating chart here. We would not be sitting with you, as we have Field level seats, but we could spend time both before and after the concert. If interested, let me know -- we are selling the tickets for $115 each, which is just what we paid to get them. I will wait about a week for replies before telling The Kiddo to sell them through other venues. The show is sold out, so I have no worries that we will be able to find a buyer somewhere -- especially since we are not scalping them!

That's about all for now. It has been a very busy week, so no time to update right now. Will try to do so later...
Spring is here, spring is here! Life is skittles and life is beer!

With apologies to all my dear friends in the Midwest, who are being buried under ludicrous amounts of snow, the weather here in southern England has been just amazing lately. The temperature is warm and the skies are sunny and clear. I have been wearing a lighter coat when I go out... or sometimes no coat at all. Perhaps it is premature to declare winter over... but I am going to do so anyway!

So what has the Nomad been doing in all this gloriously warm weather? Not posting in his LiveJournal often, that much is certain. Let's see if I can briefly catch the world up on my comings and goings.

Saturday was Brighton BiFest )

Sunday was a lazy morning, and we did not get out of bed until after noon. When we did, I drove [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic to a date with one of her other boyfriends. I made the following observation: It is a good sign that polyamory is working well is when, at the end of one date, your boyfriend drives you to a date with somebody else. Hooray for healthy relationships! After dropping her off, I drove back to Oxford under much the same conditions -- sun, speed, and singing to loud music -- that I had enjoyed on my way to Brighton the day before.

Sunday afternoon turned out to be less busy than originally planned. I had expected C&M to come over for a long walk -- we need to start training for our next attempt to walk across the Isle of Wight in May -- and to play Puerto Rico with [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. Then I was expecting to ring bells for services at St. Giles and to end the evening with a swim. I did ring bells, but all the other plans fell through. C&M canceled at the last minute and by the time the pool was open, I was feeling tired and decided to postpone for a day. Besides, I realised that Sunday was the last day that I had no plans until Saturday February 23rd[*] and I should take advantage of that. So, except for bell ringing, I stayed in and took care of boring-but-necessary household chores. [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I also spent some fun time together: We played a low scoring game of Bohnanza (I won 10 to 8) and a game of Skip Bo (she won 30 to 17), then ended the day, by watching several episodes of Smallville.

Monday was a fairly ordinary work day. Nothing terribly exciting to report. I have undertaken to execute a set of major changes in the hardware attached to the K-400 cryostat; thus, there was no cooldown last week and will not be one this week, either. In the evening, I headed to the sports centre, jumped in the pool, and swam the mile that I had defrayed from the previous day.

Today, I spent a very large portion of my day finalising my application for another two years to remain in the United Kingdom. After [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat double checks it, it should be ready to go into the mail tomorrow. Time to cross fingers. I also spent some time outside, running various and sundry errands. This was somewhat deliberate, as I wished to take in the still-spectacular weather. In less than an hour, I will head out for this evening's activity: bell ringing practice with the OUSCR at Mary Mag. Also, later tonight, I have a phone "date" scheduled with the delightful [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle. We are currently in the midst of our longest separation, which will continue for another couple of months, so it will be very good to hear my Beloved's sweet voice once again.

Oh, and although I cannot go into detail in a public forum, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat continues to rock mightily!

[*] Oddly enough, despite a fairly full calendar, I seem to have no plans at all for the weekend of Feb 23/24. I am open to ideas and suggestions if anyone knows something nifty that is going on (within a two hundred mile radius of Oxford). However, I suspect that after being continually on the go for twelve days running, it would not be terrible if I stayed in that weekend to rest and deal with mundanities.

Spring is here, spring is here! Life is skittles and life is beer!

With apologies to all my dear friends in the Midwest, who are being buried under ludicrous amounts of snow, the weather here in southern England has been just amazing lately. The temperature is warm and the skies are sunny and clear. I have been wearing a lighter coat when I go out... or sometimes no coat at all. Perhaps it is premature to declare winter over... but I am going to do so anyway!

So what has the Nomad been doing in all this gloriously warm weather? Not posting in his LiveJournal often, that much is certain. Let's see if I can briefly catch the world up on my comings and goings.

Saturday was Brighton BiFest )

Sunday was a lazy morning, and we did not get out of bed until after noon. When we did, I drove [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic to a date with one of her other boyfriends. I made the following observation: It is a good sign that polyamory is working well is when, at the end of one date, your boyfriend drives you to a date with somebody else. Hooray for healthy relationships! After dropping her off, I drove back to Oxford under much the same conditions -- sun, speed, and singing to loud music -- that I had enjoyed on my way to Brighton the day before.

Sunday afternoon turned out to be less busy than originally planned. I had expected C&M to come over for a long walk -- we need to start training for our next attempt to walk across the Isle of Wight in May -- and to play Puerto Rico with [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. Then I was expecting to ring bells for services at St. Giles and to end the evening with a swim. I did ring bells, but all the other plans fell through. C&M canceled at the last minute and by the time the pool was open, I was feeling tired and decided to postpone for a day. Besides, I realised that Sunday was the last day that I had no plans until Saturday February 23rd[*] and I should take advantage of that. So, except for bell ringing, I stayed in and took care of boring-but-necessary household chores. [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I also spent some fun time together: We played a low scoring game of Bohnanza (I won 10 to 8) and a game of Skip Bo (she won 30 to 17), then ended the day, by watching several episodes of Smallville.

Monday was a fairly ordinary work day. Nothing terribly exciting to report. I have undertaken to execute a set of major changes in the hardware attached to the K-400 cryostat; thus, there was no cooldown last week and will not be one this week, either. In the evening, I headed to the sports centre, jumped in the pool, and swam the mile that I had defrayed from the previous day.

Today, I spent a very large portion of my day finalising my application for another two years to remain in the United Kingdom. After [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat double checks it, it should be ready to go into the mail tomorrow. Time to cross fingers. I also spent some time outside, running various and sundry errands. This was somewhat deliberate, as I wished to take in the still-spectacular weather. In less than an hour, I will head out for this evening's activity: bell ringing practice with the OUSCR at Mary Mag. Also, later tonight, I have a phone "date" scheduled with the delightful [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle. We are currently in the midst of our longest separation, which will continue for another couple of months, so it will be very good to hear my Beloved's sweet voice once again.

Oh, and although I cannot go into detail in a public forum, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat continues to rock mightily!

[*] Oddly enough, despite a fairly full calendar, I seem to have no plans at all for the weekend of Feb 23/24. I am open to ideas and suggestions if anyone knows something nifty that is going on (within a two hundred mile radius of Oxford). However, I suspect that after being continually on the go for twelve days running, it would not be terrible if I stayed in that weekend to rest and deal with mundanities.

Came to work. Fiddled with cryostat. Nothing significant to report... yet.

Went home at lunchtime and had a delightful conversation with the entrancing [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle. Said conversation reminded me of how much I cannot wait for her to come visit England this Spring!

Took a detour on my way back to work to donate another half litre of my blood. It's not like I was using it, anyway.

While having precious bodily fluid siphoned away, I listened to random music on my MP3 player. One song, from a musical, came on that I have not listened to in some time... and made me smile at the sheer goofiness. One hundred points to the first person who can successfully identify where these lyrics are from[*]:
Now my insecticide contains no dangerous drugs
It can't harm humans but it's curtains for bugs
If you've got six legs, I ain't doing you no favours

Another hundred points to the first person who can identify the historical character who is supposed to be singing said lyrics.

Tonight, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I are off to Stratford-upon-Avon to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Richard II. And thus starts our long awaited viewing of the history cycle!

[*] Contest rules as follows: Honour system here -- if you don't know the answer, don't look it up (or, if you do, don't answer here). Void where prohibited by law. And, in the interests of fairness, any people named [livejournal.com profile] squeektoy42 are ineligible to play. Mainly because such people already know every lyric to every piece of musical theatre already written. (Sorry, sweetie!)
Came to work. Fiddled with cryostat. Nothing significant to report... yet.

Went home at lunchtime and had a delightful conversation with the entrancing [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle. Said conversation reminded me of how much I cannot wait for her to come visit England this Spring!

Took a detour on my way back to work to donate another half litre of my blood. It's not like I was using it, anyway.

While having precious bodily fluid siphoned away, I listened to random music on my MP3 player. One song, from a musical, came on that I have not listened to in some time... and made me smile at the sheer goofiness. One hundred points to the first person who can successfully identify where these lyrics are from[*]:
Now my insecticide contains no dangerous drugs
It can't harm humans but it's curtains for bugs
If you've got six legs, I ain't doing you no favours

Another hundred points to the first person who can identify the historical character who is supposed to be singing said lyrics.

Tonight, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I are off to Stratford-upon-Avon to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Richard II. And thus starts our long awaited viewing of the history cycle!

[*] Contest rules as follows: Honour system here -- if you don't know the answer, don't look it up (or, if you do, don't answer here). Void where prohibited by law. And, in the interests of fairness, any people named [livejournal.com profile] squeektoy42 are ineligible to play. Mainly because such people already know every lyric to every piece of musical theatre already written. (Sorry, sweetie!)
Friday was a short day at work. Opened up the cryostat and believe that I have confirmed my diagnosis from Wednesday night. An easily solvable problem? Excellent! I have no desire to stage another protracted war with the Kelvinox.

After work, and a few errands, I drove to SouthEast London to spend an evening with the captivating [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic. These were impromptu plans, and she is recovering from a slight cold, so it was a mellow evening in, with Chinese takeaway, cuddles, and conversation. Very lovely, indeed! I am noticing a hazardous trend developing: The more times I see [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic, the more I want to see her again. Uh-oh. Somehow, I think it might be too late for me to turn back now, though.

Saturday was the day that never ended. Or seemed like it, anyway. It was a good enough day, just quite long. I woke up at 7:30 in London. Left not long after to drive back to Oxford. After a cameo appearance at Skullcrusher Mountain, I cycled into the city centre to The Mitre for OxCon. The Puerto Rico tournament was yesterday, and I have been practicing for it all year -- since OxCon 2007. Last year, I finished third in all three games, ending the tournament in something like 26th place (out of thirty-three people). With a year of practice, I expected to do better this time... so I was quite surprised when I finished my first two games in third place again. However, I won my third and fourth game, so I ended up finishing in sixth place (out of twenty-two people) for the tournament. Not as good as I had hoped, but much better than last year. I will take the top 30% over the bottom 25%[*] any day. Must practice more, though, for next year's tournament.

After the games of Puerto Rico were over, I stopped in at the lab before heading home. Picked up where I left off Friday and advanced the preparations for the next cryostat cooldown. When that was done, I came home at around 9pm and had a bit of a date with [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. Her mobility is still somewhat limited as she recovers from her injury, so we splurged for once and ordered a very nice Thai dinner to be delivered. Then we played three games of Bohnanza (she won two), watched Smallville, and shared some cuddle time. It probably would have been sensible to go to sleep afterward, as it was approaching four o'clock in the morning. However, yesterday was also the half-year anniversary of my relationship with the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle. I could not let that slip by without speaking to her, so we shared a very pleasant phone call... and I ended up slipping off to dreamland at about 5:30 in the morning.

Today is the second day of OxCon, and there is a Settlers of Catan tournament going on as I write this. I had originally planned to attend, as I did last year. However, I was feeling a definite lack of enthusiasm on my part for spending the day playing five games of Settlers with people that I really don't know. I enjoy Settlers, but not as much as Puerto Rico... and I do have many things that need to be done. So it seemed like a better idea to forfeit the three quid that I invested in tournament registration and spend today doing some of those things. I should probably start by cleaning Skullcrusher Mountain up a bit. It desperately needs it, and it really is poor form to let one's secret lair become so disheveled.


[*] Or, if you are the type that likes their cup half full, I could call this the top 75%. Sound better?

Friday was a short day at work. Opened up the cryostat and believe that I have confirmed my diagnosis from Wednesday night. An easily solvable problem? Excellent! I have no desire to stage another protracted war with the Kelvinox.

After work, and a few errands, I drove to SouthEast London to spend an evening with the captivating [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic. These were impromptu plans, and she is recovering from a slight cold, so it was a mellow evening in, with Chinese takeaway, cuddles, and conversation. Very lovely, indeed! I am noticing a hazardous trend developing: The more times I see [livejournal.com profile] ms_katonic, the more I want to see her again. Uh-oh. Somehow, I think it might be too late for me to turn back now, though.

Saturday was the day that never ended. Or seemed like it, anyway. It was a good enough day, just quite long. I woke up at 7:30 in London. Left not long after to drive back to Oxford. After a cameo appearance at Skullcrusher Mountain, I cycled into the city centre to The Mitre for OxCon. The Puerto Rico tournament was yesterday, and I have been practicing for it all year -- since OxCon 2007. Last year, I finished third in all three games, ending the tournament in something like 26th place (out of thirty-three people). With a year of practice, I expected to do better this time... so I was quite surprised when I finished my first two games in third place again. However, I won my third and fourth game, so I ended up finishing in sixth place (out of twenty-two people) for the tournament. Not as good as I had hoped, but much better than last year. I will take the top 30% over the bottom 25%[*] any day. Must practice more, though, for next year's tournament.

After the games of Puerto Rico were over, I stopped in at the lab before heading home. Picked up where I left off Friday and advanced the preparations for the next cryostat cooldown. When that was done, I came home at around 9pm and had a bit of a date with [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat. Her mobility is still somewhat limited as she recovers from her injury, so we splurged for once and ordered a very nice Thai dinner to be delivered. Then we played three games of Bohnanza (she won two), watched Smallville, and shared some cuddle time. It probably would have been sensible to go to sleep afterward, as it was approaching four o'clock in the morning. However, yesterday was also the half-year anniversary of my relationship with the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] frogcastle. I could not let that slip by without speaking to her, so we shared a very pleasant phone call... and I ended up slipping off to dreamland at about 5:30 in the morning.

Today is the second day of OxCon, and there is a Settlers of Catan tournament going on as I write this. I had originally planned to attend, as I did last year. However, I was feeling a definite lack of enthusiasm on my part for spending the day playing five games of Settlers with people that I really don't know. I enjoy Settlers, but not as much as Puerto Rico... and I do have many things that need to be done. So it seemed like a better idea to forfeit the three quid that I invested in tournament registration and spend today doing some of those things. I should probably start by cleaning Skullcrusher Mountain up a bit. It desperately needs it, and it really is poor form to let one's secret lair become so disheveled.


[*] Or, if you are the type that likes their cup half full, I could call this the top 75%. Sound better?

.

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