Most people are too busy to have time for anything important.
--one of the many outputs from "fortune -m busy".
The quote pretty much says it all. Despite my new-found freedom from classes and teaching responsibilities, I have spent most of this month in a vicious cycle where my level of being busy teeters precariously from "manageable" to "what have I gotten myself into." I'm back to working 7 days a week (although, admittedly, usually for only an hour or so on Sundays), and various other things have happened that sap into my other free time. So, here's the (admittedly late) after - Christmas update, and following that, the latest series of small-scale disasters.
After Christmas, my Dad and I went up to San Francisco to a small music shop I know there to look at dulcimers. While we were there, we discovered that I could save a heap of money by our making the instrument ourselves. So, with a kit in hand, and a case to hold the finished instrument, we returned home for an incredibly busy four days of instrument construction. And I ended up with an instrument which sounds fantastic and looks good. And, as you might guess, I have been teaching myself how to play it ever since. I'll post pictures sometime, but I don't have any right now.
The only other piece of holiday update is from the New Year's party at Arkham Asylum (or, John, Robert and Earl's place). The evening was enjoyable, as we spent a lot of time playing "Who's Line is it Anyway?" (basically improv comedy, at which I am terrible), and "Dance, Dance Revolution" on Earl's Playstation. All I have to say about the latter is that Earl is one of the only people I know who can make DDR look cool. Everyone else who tried (including myself) was positively terrible at it. And the insults from the game! It called me (and many of the other participants) a monkey! Ah, well. It was a fun evening, and a good time was had by all.
When I got back into the lab, we spent the next week in a flurry of activity so we could get the experiment up and running again. Then we discovered that the new shields we designed to go around our dewer made it impossible to put it down in the hole. So, the facilities people spent two days with a hammer drill cutting out the excess concrete so we could put it down there. Poor Lester (one of the facilities people) spent the better part of two days crouched down in a little one cubic meter space, holding the hammer drill at arms length to get to the concrete that had to be cut out. Ah, well. At least I didn't have to do it.
So next, we cooled everything down, and then we went to check our detectors (think really thin aluminum wires; I'll explain how they work after we publish it), only to discover that two of the four we were ready to test were burned out already. Fortunately, the other two are OK, and do detect electrons, but we need to do further tests to see how sensitive they are.
And I appear to have a cursed rim on my car. As some of you might remember, when I was in SB over Veteran's Day, I got a flat tire which had to be replaced. Well, I just had to replace that tire a couple of weeks ago; while it was foggy out one night, I managed to smash something with a front tire, and then pierce the sidewall of the corresponding rear tire. *sigh* So now I have road hazard on all four tires in my car, as I'm told that bad things come in threes.
Other than all of that, I am doing wonderfully. As I said above, I think I'm making real progress toward playing the dulcimer, and I'm getting enough time to play the piano (though not as much as I would like). As for the social life, I'm afraid it's on hold yet again, as other things are taking up most of my time for the foreseeable future. :/