To read.

I’ve done a bit of searching and since my schedule won’t be as hectic as last semester, I’d like to get back into reading for pleasure. In order to guide my goal of doing something solely for me, I’ve considered a handful of books that I would like to read.

Here’s a list of books that I’m interested in reading this semester for pure, awesome, fun:

The Faith Instinct – Nicholas Wade
The Humbling – Philip Roth
American Nerd: Story of my People – Benjamin Nugent
Geneology of Morals – Friedrich Neitzsche
Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer

I figure it isn’t too much of a stretch to read one book a month for pleasure… and it will get me out of my uni-dimensional block that I feel like I’m stuck in as of late.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a picture of what I’ve spent the last couple of days on… cleaning out the electrospray source.

I love playing with instrumentation; but sometimes, research can be so darn tedious.

-P

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Lots of stuff has been going on recently. As I mentioned in this post, I’ve been working on finishing off a bed that has been sitting in my kitchen closet for the last 6 months. I finally got around to finishing the bed, and have assembled it. It doesn’t look half bad if you ask me… especially for something that was hand built as opposed to purchased.


I’ve put in an order for a mattress, so hopefully, I’ll have a nice comfy bed here in the week to come!

Yesterday was the Texas/Alabama championship football game. I normally don’t like football, but I really wanted to watch the game to support Texas. We also went out and celebrated my office-mate’s birthday.

All in all it was a good time… though the drive home was a bit tricky….

That’s right; we’ve gotten about 8 inches of snow and the pile is still growing!

I’m really loving the fun of the winter weather. It may be a pain at times, but I tell you, there are some things Texans are missing out on 😉

You can check out more photos of the snow here.

-P

Holiday free time

I’ve finally dished out the Christmas presents I made my friends over the break. I think most of them really liked their presents. I think handmade gifts are the best!


As most of you should know, I’ve become a hardcore Linux fan; unfortunately, the scientific software I want to use is not compatible with Linux, and I don’t have the desire to go about finicking with Linux compatible freeware. I used to have my computer dual booted, but the ITG here at IU corrupted the windows partition mid last semester. I was doing fine with just Linux, but I reached a point where I needed Windows.I’ve been messing around with the computer all break trying to get it to be just the way I want.

It is sad.

-P

So many things

Some people keep skeletons in their closets… for the last 6 months, I’ve just kept a bed frame in it. In light of the new year, I decided to clean it out; meaning, finish the bed I’ve been meaning to finish for the last 6 months or so.


The project is still going on, but the projected completion date is set for this Thursday!

My friend Elise’s birthday was this weekend and we ended up buying Elise a lab coat, and I ended up sewing on some ribbon around the trim and doing a bit of embroidering for initials. I have no idea when she will wear the thing, but it was cute and I think she had fun parading around town in it.



I’ve been working on my photography skills… it’s amazing how sometimes things I tend to ignore are actually fantastically amusing… taking photos allows you to freeze the moment and capture it. It’s truly amazing.

I’ve got a lot of stuff to do by weeks end; hopefully I can get everything I want to do in by then!

-P

2010: Let’s make this a good one.

It is the first day of 2010. Gosh, it is so weird to say that! Look how far we’ve come.

For this post, I will recap on the highlights of the year. It is funny how I can be so bogged down in the day to day activities of life that I forget to think about how truly blessed I am. Today is my day to take time to do this.

From the beginning of the year until now, I’ve experienced a lot of changes. This time last year, I had no idea where I would be going to graduate school, no idea if I would be employed in the spring semester, and I really didn’t know where I was going to end up. Since then, I’ve managed to:

* Get accepted and attend one of the top analytical chemistry schools in the country
* Spend 6 weeks in Europe
* Buy a house (which isn’t a joke in today’s economy)
* Learn to knit rather well
* Become a certified personal trainer
* Teach spin classes at the gym
* Reject a dream job at an IB
* Get a black eye
* Survive electronics/my first semester in grad school

As for what I find to be the most important personal accomplishments, I’ve become more accepting of others habits while still maintaining my own firm principles and beliefs. I’ve found out that building/designing big picture experiments excites me to no end, and I have grown as a person in that I have a better understanding of why I am the way I am and who I am.

The NYE party was fun, I got to play around with my new SLR, you can check out photos of the festivities here.

Many happy returns for your new year!

-P

Resolutions and the like

Today being NYE was quite productive for me and sad at the same time. I am now a Hoosier. I have an Indiana driver’s license and Indiana car plates. It was a sad moment taking off the old Texas plates, but I’ve hung them up in my office to remember where I’m from. As for now, I’m embracing the quaint, small town life that Indiana has given me. I really love Bloomington.


I also finally caved and bought myself a bookshelf. My den is orderly now that the boxes of books are gone and have been replaced with a warm, chestnut coloured shelf.

I like New Years because it is a time where I can reflect on the past. So often, I mull over things that need to get done, and the times that I do focus on the past are merely reflections on sub par performance. In looking at the year as a whole, I can get a true sense of my major accomplishments and realize that my failures are simply insignificant molehills that I make mountains out of.

While I could do a reflection on the past year that was 2009; I think I will save this reflection for tomorrows post and instead focus on the changes I hope to see in 2010. I’ve always thought it best to look to the future and use the past as a way of learning.

Here goes:

1) Hit the gym 4-5 days/week. This is always on my list of things to do. I feel like this is a realistic goal simply because now I have adjusted to grad school life, I know how to handle stress better, and I’m not taking electronics

2) Take a photo a day of something interesting. I often times find interesting or amusing things in my life, but fail to pick up on them or document them and as a result, things go by without notice. I hope that in taking a photo a day, I’ll pick up on the small things that are worthy of attention and project them in a way that picks up on the appreciation I have for life.

3) Be kind to students. I need to realize that not everyone ‘gets’ things as quickly as I do, and not everyone thinks in my same manner. I hope to encourage my students this semester and even if I can’t make them learn the material or make them like it, at least be kind and warm as a person to them.

4) Read a publication a day (or at least 5 a week). As an undergrad, I loved reading the latest research in Analytical chem, JACS, etc. but since I’ve come to graduate school, I’ve become so narrow minded in my reading selections. Everything involves mass spec and in particular gas phase studies. While this will be my true passion for now and the next 5 years, I’d like to broaden my horizons and keep up with other neat things going on outside of my little microcosm.

I’m off to a grad student NYE party, I hope that 2010 is a great year for you and wish you luck on all of your resolutions/goals

-P

Back in Btown

I’m back in Bloomington and while classes haven’t started; there’s so much stuff that I’ve got to do before the havoc begins:

  1. Register for C500 at the registrar’s office
  2. Register car (finally get Indiana license plates)/get Indiana driver’s license
  3. Get new car insurance policy
  4. Finally finish the bed that has been in the kitchen closet
  5. Buy a bookshelf and put order to the living area
  6. Find a dentist and get teeth cleaned
  7. Find a permanent doctor
  8. Buy textbooks
  9. Celebrate Elise’s b-day in Chicago
  10. Go to Cincy to visit an old chum 😉
  11. DO AWESOME RESEARCH

It will get done… eventually. Tomorrow I will take care of problems 1,2, and 4. and tonight I will do problem 5.

Oh, I also found out that I will be teaching a gen chem discussion next semester!

Good fortune is already coming my way, and 2010 isn’t even here!

-P

Time heals wounds

I’ve been doing lots of knittting; and I think I’ve finally gotten the knitting bug out of my system. Below you can see the mittens I knit using Cascade chunky alpaca. The yarn is absolutely delicious and the colour is simply brilliant! I had extra yarn after knitting the mittens up; so I made a matching ear warmer.

I’m now posting my 2 week eye incident update. You can see that the swelling is all gone, my eye is no longer bloodshot, and the bruising is down significantly. If you look at the full face picture, you can hardly notice it! I’m thinking/hoping its completely gone by new years, but we’ll see.

Finally, here is a sneak peak of the knitting I did for my friend’s holiday presents… I’ll post a more photos once the gifts have been distributed; I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

I’m looking forward to the new year, the new semester, and all that 2010 will bring!

-P

And so this is Christmas

I’ve been spending loads of time with my folks this holiday and have been loving every minute of it. Christmas this year truly felt magical and I’m already dreading having to leave my family. I, for once, am accepting the fact that I did no work. I read a few publications for my own amusement, and aside from that, I did nothing chemistry related. It felt good.

Christmas morning I woke up and played around with my new toy…


yup, that’s right, a brand new DSLR. I never really knew that photography was such an art and science until I met Kyle. In my undergrad years I managed to befriend a photographer who taught me about the difficulties in translating how he wanted to frame a shot into how he needed to take the shot (i.e. adjust the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc.). Kyle now shoots with some hi-fi pro Canon DSLR, but he recommended an amateur Nikon DSLR to get me going on my new hobby.

After playing with the camera a bit, I’ve noticed that the auto mode on the camera works phenomenally, but I’ve been attempting to shoot photos in manual mode (based on Kyle’s suggestion). So far 1 in about 10 shots turns out looking half decent; hopefully that ratio gets better as I get more practice.

On another note, I’ve been doing a lot of Christmas knitting the last week. I’ve managed to knit a whole lot of :somethings: for my friends. I’ll post pictures after I distribute the presents; but I’m rather pleased with my handiwork as of late, not to mention, I’ve done well in downsizing on my yarn scraps 🙂


I thought I’d post a photo of the scale. My dad brought it back from one of his business trips to Dubai when I was no more than 10. I think this is the first time I’ve actually made practical use of it. The yarn on the scale is this delicious alpaca that I’m currently knitting a pair of mittens out of. I’ll be sure to post photos when I’m done knitting.

I guess that’s all for now. I’ll try to post more frequently now that the holiday mania is nearly over.

-P

home for the holidays

This is the first year in which I’ve actually felt like I’m ‘home’ for the holidays. When I was an undergrad at Texas, I could come home any old time, but with research obligations, teaching, and classes, time off is rare and coming home even rarer.

I walked in the door on Friday to be greeted by my mother. It was a nice reunion, and since I’ve been home, we’ve been doing mother-daughter activities like holiday baking, knitting, talking about family, cooking, eating, shopping, watching movies, etc. I’m living it up at home and soaking every minute up of my mum and dad’s time. Sometimes it takes moving 1500 miles away to realize how much you will miss them.

-P