Red Queen Syndrome (and the last week)

Alice looked around her in great surprise. "Why, I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as it was!"

"Of course it is," said the Queen. "What would you have it?"

"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get somewhere else--if you ran very fast for a long time as we've been doing."

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run twice as fast!"

--Lewis Carol, Through the Looking Glass

I know it's been a while since I last wrote anything in here, but, well, the quote above seems to cover the reason quite nicely. I've been running as fast as I can to stay in the same place with my experimental work. During the past two weeks, we've cooled down the apparatus twice, and each time, we had to warm back up to fix yet another problem, and while we've been at it, we've made small changes to the cryostat. This week, the change is 17 new leads from room temp down to the 10 mK stage. Blargh.

So, I thought I'd write of the minor triumphs of the past week, and the new insights gleaned from them.

Saturday, 29 September

I decided that it was time to see exactly how fix-able my bike was. So, I took the De-railers apart, and discovered that all I had to do was replace the bearings (bushings, in this case) in order to make it work. Once that was done, I decided to take it on a little shakedown ride, and see what needed to be fixed.

Of course, being the idiot that I am, I decided to go over the hills and down into La Jolla.

Let me explain a bit about the local geography. My apartment sits at around 400 feet above sea level, and campus sits at something similar. Between us, there is a canyon that goes down to around 100 feet above. In order to get to La Jolla, I have to ride down the canyon, up the coastal range, and then down into La Jolla itself.

I made it down there without a problem. I was flying along, and I stopped to rest at the beach in La Jolla Shores. And then I thought about the ride back up the hills. On my bike. On my road bike. On my bike which is geared for flat land at about 30 miles an hour, not hill climbing.

A half hour and about a mile and a half later, I crested the top of the coastal range absolutely exhausted. And I thought to myself, "Damn! I'm out of shape!" So, I stopped by the lab to take a break. When I got there, I was pressed into work by John and Manyam. (One of the failed cooling cycles.)

Monday, 1 October, 11:30 PM

Hm. I never did finish the first Harry Potter book; it's been sitting on my shelf for more than 2 years now. I should go to bed, but I'm not tired right now.... Maybe I'll read a little bit of it....

Tuesday, 2 October, 1:30 AM (or so)

I finished the book. Wow. I should have read this a long time ago. *sigh* Only three books to go to be caught up. And to think about how all of my friends who've been telling me to read this for two years are going to gloat about this one....

Wednesday, 3 October

So now I own a TV. This is a major break in tradition for me. For the past two years, I haven't owned one, and it's helped me to study more than ever before. But when I moved, I bought my brother's old one (and a PS/2, but hey. Nobody's perfect.).

And my roommate has started me on a couple of TV series. Like The West Wing, which I find to be an extremely well thought out show that tries to have a message in today's world of dysfunctional family sitcoms. This week, they decided to take a break from their story line (delaying their season premier for another week) to address the WTC attack. And all I have to say about it is that I've never seen such a powerful statement on TV, or a more clear discussion about what the situation in Afghanistan looks like; and the dichotomy between that discussion and the witch hunt going on in another part of the White House was absolutely fantastic.

I only wish everybody I knew could have seen it.

Well, that's it for now. I need to get back to work.

Brian Naberhuis
Last modified: Thu Oct 4 10:49:05 PDT 2001