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Oh no, I think it’s the megablast! (TM) Oh good, it is the liquidmetal (TM).

-Our hero, in response to briefly thinking his new racquetball racket was the previous year’s model.

UPDATE: the megablast is the 2004 model.

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Just got done with week 1 of three (or four) of the beamrun. We’re measuring ferroelectric thin films and looking how the role of the activity of oxygen gas above the samples affects the polarization of their stripe domains (I don’t think I’m giving away anything from the recent science submission)…want to know what a ferroelectric stripe domain pattern looks like? Check out these AFM images on the front page of Argonne’s materials science division (i.e. where I work). Purdy huh? I might try to explain them sometime…but not now. See, today there is no beam and I didn’t get assigned any tasks so I stayed home and took care of a bunch of chores…including laundry. I scoped out our building’s laundry room for the first time today (right hand side of the diptych, above) and found out that the name of my apartment is the ‘ray condominiums’. Who knew? Now…gonna cook up food for the next couple days and work on some matlab stuff for my job..while watching the nba season openers…ok mostly watching the inside the nba stuff on tnt. That shit cracks me up for some reason.

[warning…this is one of those pointless/rambling posts since I’m procrastinating/bored]

Nothing really going on tonight–felt like two nights out in a row would be too much for this one. I did take advantage of having Andrea’s car (while she’s in Boston at Smita’s wedding) and went to try to get a new grill rack for my l’il Weber at home despot up on aurora. They didn’t have the l’il size though….so I dropped by Ranch 99 to make the whole trip worth something. I guess dropping by Ranch 99 was sort of planted in the back of my head the whole time, but that place is so damn cool! Way better than Uwajimaya and at least half as expensive. Famished after my l’il adventure, I ate a quick plate of what I thought [hope] was tripe from the deli. The place is a lot less depressing on the inside now too–the funny smell is gone! Famished after my l’il adventure, I ate a quick plate of what I thought [hope] was tripe from the deli. I also got some nice fresh chow fun noodles and went to town with some of the shrimp I bought and sichuan pepper corns. Since it was so hot out this week, I grabbed a ton of mint for (you guessed it) mojitos! I guess it’s definitely summer if I’m making those again. I even had the hammock up today!

Without much to do (holding off on getting andrea knocked up till she’s back and the dissertation can correct itself tomorrow), I decided to see if I could find some friends on this myspace thing I’ve heard about… Took a while to find Dan Johnson’s since he’s fond of the clever monikers. As such I’ve put a few new friends in the blogroll. I wanted to put Lucas in for his nifty blog/nice background music, but he’s more of a friend-of-a-friend. It’s kind of weird that so many people (not just losers like me) are in these social-networking sites. Hell, my mom’s even on facebook.

In other web-related news, I started the webpage for the thermal class I’m teaching this summer. School colors withstanding, I think it’s a lot prettier than the standard school webpages.

Holy shit, I just noticed I can do greek letters in this wordpress wysiwyg editor! ομη! To celebrate, a round of mojitos!

..ok that last post was from Andrea, if you didn’t pick up on that already. Note to self: never work on site from other people’s computers. sho’ nuff.

As my two readers have noticed, I haven’t been updating much. So here’s a little collection of solipsistic nonsense to let you know where I’m at:

I’m starting another beamrun this week. We don’t get x-rays until Friday, but Ken, Jerry, and I are heading out on Tuesday. I’ll probably update while I’m out there more often. This is my last trip, so I might make a pilgramage to a restaurant I’ve been eyeing for some time…

The job search is underway. I’ve had some promising nibbles at Brookhaven and Argonne. Hopefully some talks and meetings will parlay into a catch or two.

soup.JPGI bought a pair of fancy quasi-dress shoes today at Nordstroms. It made me feel grown-up, which is a stale, queasy feeling.

Lester’s looking much better after a much-needed steroid shot at the vet. Hopefully, all his hair will have returned by the time I’m back.

I sill cook, though a little less frequently. As evidence here’s a picture of some chicken soup with spinach and asiago dumplings I cooked up tonight to clean out the last few items in the fridge. It’s pretty yummy!

In response to Adam’s hatred of Trader Joe’s, I feel like I should defend it (even thought it feels like shopping at a cult). Trader Joe’s is cheaper and does offer some variety by introducing items at a seasonal clip. One of my favorite vegetables, fennel, is there right now for instance. They also have some pretty awesome standards…so I’ll try and list a few that make it unique and worthwhile:

1. hummus–TJ’s does it best.
2. pork gyoza: for some reason, Joe’s variety is way more flavorful than any of the authentic frozen varieties you’d find at Uwajimaya or Ranch 99 (not as good as homemade, but still…)
3. triple ginger snaps: tres spicy, and I love how they get chewy as they age.
4. peeled garlic: I wish more supermarkets nearby carried this convenience.
5. organic supersweet frozen corn: hoo-boy, sauteed with some butter and salt, this is quite tasty.
6. those thai-like peanuts with flakes of kaffir lime leaves and chiles
7. Canned artichoke hearts that aren’t marinated. Versatile and cheap.

ok, that’s all I’m coming up with for now. I need to get back to my dinner and the rhino documentary on PBS that’s da bomb.

Did you forget to give me a christmas present this year? Or did you get me something I thought was stupid (but was too polite to tell you so)? Hahahaha! Of course not! But for future reference, I made a silly little amazon wish list–mostly stuff I will probably purchase someday anyways, but I thought y’all might be interested. It’s kind of like one of those wedding or baby shower registries except it’s celebrating something much more important: the existence of me.

Ok, now that I’ve offended/alienated everyone, I’m going back to work. Still, around mandatory gift-giving day (barf), I do wish that I had a better idea what people want…so: link up your wish lists, folks, or you’ll just end up with a summer sausage like every other year.

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Yesterday, when I realized that I could not close my freezer door through the inches of accumulated ice, I decided it was time to defrost it. With a cleaver. It was sort of satisfying hacking the blocks of ice off the sides and I found some buried porkchops, which is the best sort of surprise. I was getting to the end, cutting my way through the minor glacier on the back wall when I heard an auspicious PSSSSSS from inside. I punctured my freezer and it was out-gassing lots of nasty stuff (it’s an old one). I freaked out and unplugged it–was I going to have to pay for a new fridge? I called my landlord with some trepidation, but I had photographic evidence that the freezer was intolerably frosty and that any sane person would taken a cleaver to it. (that one above was supposed to be my victory shot, when I was almost done) I told her what happened and she apologized and said she’d send a new one over on Tuesday. I never even got to my clever cleaver argument. So I guess the moral of the story is…if you want something fixed or replaced, just hit it with a cleaver until your super agrees to replace it. Tomorrow I’m doing my sink and the toilet.

I’m paraphrasing, but I’ve been in some funny situations in the last few days:

scene I: game night with the boys
A: Hey Tim, I got you something for christmas.
T: Aw you didn’t have to get me that..pineapple!? Um, how did you know?
A: I remembered that you’re a pineapple person.
T: (what the hell’s a ‘pineapple person?’) I do love pineapple! It might very well be my favorite fruit.

scene II: return home notice that mom’s reading the book I bought her for christmas
T: Psss! Dad, I think I got mom that book for christmas!
D: Wow–that’s just nuts! I just got two of those books complimentary from Amazon!
T: You putz! Those were my books! ..for mom and Andrea.
D: Oh shit! wellbut, look at the invoice message: ‘thanks for visiting Amazon, we hope you enjoy your books.’ I’m always at the Amazon website, so I figured that it was my reward or something…
T: Reward? What? Did you buy a lot of stuff from Amazon?
D: Oh no, I just read the sample pages from their books and use it for my homework. It’s way easier and they just don’t have that stuff at the library.
T: Oh good lord.

More to come no doubt…

Senator Rick Santorum, apparently a Tolkien fan, recently used a Middle Earth analogy to explain the purpose of the Iraq war:

As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else,” Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth. “It’s being drawn to Iraq and it’s not being drawn to the U.S.,” Santorum continued. “You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don’t want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

Hobbit lunacy aside, that’s a ridiculous reason to put troops and money in Iraq. Almost makes me wonder if that’s Dubya’s logic. There’s more silliness later in the article.

Oh my! Our Minnesota Twins (a surprisingly fashionable pick to win it all) hit the postseason running and every game is on cable, which, of course, I don’t have…I really want to see Johan pitch tomorrow morning..I wonder if Kai’s opens at 10am? (apparently not) I was kind of hoping they’d start by playing the Yankees so I could watch all the games. That, and the Yankees suck..just in general, you know. (sorry ken, had to get that off my chest). Any other midwestern types want to catch a game later this week? (*cough* matt hahn *cough*)