Thursday, March 25, 2010

Manning it up

Today I rode my bike to work.  It was the only day this week that I could actually ride, since I did the balloon launch on Tuesday, and tomorrow I get to go to my undergrad school and give them a talk on how I succeeded in life after getting a degree from there (what?)  Why is biking today so unusual?  Well, it is the first day of the year that I have biked while it is raining.  Now, it isn't pouring.  But, it is cold and rainy, which makes for a miserable ride.  Today I didn't feel miserable.  Today I felt like it was the only day that I could bike, and I was happy.

Just for note, it is the seventh day that I have biked in the last three weeks.

Next week, I won't be able to bike at all (well, maybe Monday I can bike a couple of miles), since I am going to be traveling.  If I am up to it, I may try to find a bike store somewhere in the area and see if I can rent a bike.  Or maybe I should do something like sit-ups or push-ups or jog or something.  Hmmmm....

Well, we shall see.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

First Balloon Launch of 2010

Today we launched a balloon.  And recovered it!

The day started off quite poorly.  For all of our launches except one, I have driven my own vehicle for all of the flights.  About a year ago, I bought a trailer so we could carry the Helium a little more safely.  I have been hauling it with our minivan, which Crab Mama was really pissed about.  Yesterday I reserved a van from the university.  They actually have vans with trailer hitches!  This morning, I went to pick up the van, and there were no seats in it!  After much hashing around and such, I actually found a Durango with a trailer hitch.  They let me rent that.  All of this took about an hour or so, which was much longer than I had anticipated.

After a slow start, we packed up and left.  We drove to the middle of BFE.  Actually, we stopped in a little itty bitty town to grab a bathroom and some food.  One of the students was talking to one of the people in the store and told her what we were doing.  When he told her we were going to another, even smaller town, she said something like "Oh, you better watch out for those people.  Don't close your eyes!"

Once we got to the launch place, we set everything up.  After a while, we launched!

We climbed back into the cars and proceeded to chase.  Everything actually went pretty well during the entire flight.  We were in constant communication with the package, so it was quite successful.  The main problem that we had was that we didn't have anyone in our car that knew how to manage the radio.  Therefore, we had to futz around with it for a long time to get it working.  It worked for the first half, and then we screwed something up, and it stopped working.

Oh, at this point, I should mention that Crab Girl and Crab Boy came with us.  So, when we couldn't get the radio to work, I got out my cell phone, hooked it up to the computer, and logged into, which is where we were broadcasting our position.  Crab Girl sat with the computer in her lap telling me where the balloon was, what altitude it was at and how fast it was going.  Constantly.  A stream of information.  It was the best navigation I have ever experienced!  She is a natural!
Finally, we turned down a dirt road, got behind a very slow moving truck, and someone yelled out "I see it!"  Then we all caught a glimpse of the balloon package falling out of the sky.  We pulled up to the field, just as it was touching the ground.  We all saw it splash down!  It was great!
Then, back to work.  Drop off the trailer.  Pick up the car, and go home!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

PD Issues

As promised, here are my issues:

PD#1: He just needs more than I can give.  It just feels like I give and I give and I give, but he just won't be satisfied.  Why can't see see MY needs?  Why is it all about HIM?

PD#2: Use the "&" to run the model in the BACKGROUND!  You don't have to sit there at your desk the whole time it is running! Emacs!  Use emacs!  Not pico!!!!  Who uses pico???  (In case you don't know, pico is the editor for pine, which I am sure enlightens a lot of you!)

PD#3: Uh....  Hmmm.... Stop fixing the model and do some science?  Uh, I guess you can't do science with a crappy broken model that your adviser made.... Uh....

Ok, that was probably unsatisfying.  It was unsatisfying for me too.  I just want to rant and rant and rant, but I don't feel like I can/should....  I am mostly frustrated with PD#1 having intense personal issues, which I don't want to deal with.

I have to say that I don't have to "deal" with many personal issues at work, though.  I would say that 90% of the students/post docs that I have worked with have brought very little personal stuff to me.  Maybe it is because I am a super-dick and they can see the "I don't give a sh*t" tattoo just under my hairline.  Just kidding.  It is really tattooed across my left buttock.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Motivation in the Crapper

After something like 4 weeks of constant work, I feel like I have broken through.  Through what?  I don't know.  Perhaps I have broken through my motivation and now I can't do any work.  I slept in this morning a bit, took some pictures on the way to work, before starting to bike, and got to work at something like 9:30.  Very lazy.  It is now 10:30, and the only thing I have done is check e-mail.  I haven't even changed out of my biking clothes.  Very sad.

Now I am blogging.

Yesterday I feel like I accomplished something (this is unusual for me).  I got my Arduino microprocessor to take measurements from my temperature, humidity, and accelerometer sensors and write the data to a USB stick.  This may sound easy, but it is NOT!  I promise!  I have to get my cameras working today (i.e., the microprocessor has to turn the cameras on, then tell them to take pictures every 10 seconds).  This is all to avoid the real problem of getting the microprocessor to talk to my radios and GPS.  That is going to be problematic.  I am afraid.  Luckily, one of the students in my class is going through the same problem, so I am working with him to solve the communication issues.  See, professors don't just profess, we learn from the students too.  Especially as the students learn.  It is all about education!

I am definitely still having issues with Post Docs.  Large issues.  But, I will probably wait until tomorrow to blog about that.  I promise.  Tomorrow.

Until then, I will will try to motivate myself to put on my pants.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Greetings from the Other Side

I am 0.5 days into recovery from Caffeine addiction.  I can't do it! The cravings!  They are killing me!

And then, I found three Diet Mt. Dews in my office as I was leaving the office today.  Holy crap!  I am back on the Caffeine!  Three more days of addiction!