Marching on

The start of March came last week. Next week, I’m away from the Tri-cities for a conference, and I won’t be back until the twenty-somethingth, into “late March” territory. Then, in April, I have a visitor. But the start of April marks my half way point here.

In short, what I’m saying is that time has flown. I know that I’m wishing some of it away, but I’ve already been here for five weeks – 38 days of my 119, 31.9% through my stay.

This realisation has made me reflect a little on what I’ve managed so far: both personally and professionally, and both within the Tri-cities and without. And I have to tell you, as far as seeing America and doing cool things goes – I should step up my game!

At work, I’ve managed to do something, and that’s going to come to some sort of a head later today or tomorrow (more on that later), but I know that there is always more that I can do, more that I want to do.

And outside of work, I have a solid group of friends, who can be both spontaneous and methodical in their plans. It occurs to me that at the end of this month. They will be replaced by other fellows incoming, such as Miriam – who will be here for a month or so, and who I already know through various other conferences. I’ve tried to get around in Richland a bit, having been to the cinema, been shopping, acquired a coffee/tea haunt, I’ve been to work dos and friends places, and friends of friends. But outside of the Tri-cities, well, that’s a whole other story. I’ve only been to Seattle once, for a handful of hours before making the trip home.

And I really have no excuse – Evan often makes the trip down to Portland to visit his parents, and has offered me a seat in the car. I could easily get an airbnb for a weekend.

I’ve not been hiking, even though Badger Mountain looms over the back of the apartments. I’ve not been involved with any community stuff.

So here’s this. I want to throw myself in.


It’s been five weeks now, I have no excuses. I’m settled, I can do things that I want to do.

Like, for instance, McKay’s hosts a pub quiz on Wednesdays, well they would if they had a quiz master. I could do that. I’m sure.

There’s a local theatre group. My family was always involved in theatrics, and there’s no reason I shouldn’t try for a small part.

Jeff said something on the Seattle trip that’s stuck – why do you need friends to do something with you. If its something you wanna do, just do it.

Of course, as ever, the biggest roadblock for me is transport. But I know that I can walk to McKays in half an hour, and the theatre easily in 45. And in a pinch, I can ask to be dropped there on the way home.

Today at work, I’m tackling the comb issue head on. Robert has a candidate coupling mechanism – you see, whilst we were doing the magnetometer studies, we were looking for a symptom, not a cause. The fields were, in the end, and not surprisingly, way too weak to couple into the interferometer. Instead, they indicate a large load on a power supply. It’s just a matter of guessing which one is the most likely cause. So today or tomorrow, Richard, Robert, myself and Vinny are going to power down some computers, power down a chassis, change a thing, power up the chassis and restart the computers. All we’re doing is in essence plugging a thing into a different outlet. But by tomorrow, we will know if it’s worked. After which, job done. onto the next project.

Next week, I’m in Pasadena, attending the LVC – LIGO-Virgo Collaboration conference – at Caltech. I’m meeting up with a bunch of friends from Glasgow there, and I am going to go out and paint the town orange (painting the town red sounds a bit much, after all). I’m giving a 15 minute talk about the comb search on Monday, then attending the rest of the session. Due to budget constraints (because the conference hotel is expensive), I’m sharing a room with Jennie and Daniel, so I’ll never run out of things to do.

For the first portion of this week, Vinny was unwell with a stomach bug, so I plugged away on my stuff alone. Evan left yesterday to get to California early, so it was eerily quiet here.

Hang and I have a new house mate, Stefan, a professor from Syracuse. He arrived late last night. I’m yet to have a conversation with him.

I’ll keep you posted.


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