Project 22 – 17 January – 8 February 2008

No, actually, I have not forgotten about Project 22. It’s just been busy the last few weeks and I’ve only just gotten together quite a few make-up photos for days that went past without appropriate photographic records. It’s shameful, I know. In any case, here they all are, starting with…

Superconductors and Liquid Nitrogen
January 17th, the day of my qualifying exam. I wasn’t about to attempt a photo of the exam itself–that would’ve been far too weird to try to explain to the committee. But, after things settled down, I spent some time in Joe‘s lab hanging out and taking some photos of his research. Here he’s preparing for an experiment by cooling down the superconductor (hiding out in that blue plastic) with liquid nitrogen (pouring out of that bucket).

Movie Night

That Friday, our classmates had a big movie night celebration at Jamie’s place. We did a double feature, “Galaxy Quest” followed by “Blazing Saddles”.

TA Training I

I was up early the next morning in order to go to my engineering TA training, where some of the information that stuck with me best was, disturbingly, that regarding “students in distress”.

TA Training II

Much of Sunday was also spent at TA training, this time without the amazing catered lunch they provided us with on Day One.

Through The Honeycomb

On Monday, I was back in the lab, disassembling and reassembling the vertical wind tunnel in order to do some new tests. This is actually a picture of the blinds in our lab, taken through some of the honeycomb used to straighten the flow. Classes also started that day.

The Original Room of Doom

Tuesday night held the last of my TA training, the micro-teaching session. It was held over in Thurston, and, as I was waiting for it to begin, I stuck my head into the room next door and took a picture. This is where I had the worst class of my life, as well as where my Q was held the first time.


Wednesday I got home extremely late (as in early Thursday late) to find that my parents had sent me a tin of popcorn as a early Valentine’s/congrats for passing quals present. I was so emotionally drained at the time–due to really awful external circumstances–that I couldn’t manage even a half-hearted smile.

Emo Button!

This is actually the emergency off button on a laser’s control console. However, it’s far more amusing as a great big Emo Button. It’s my picture of the day for the 24th because that’s when the external circumstances that had been making my life utterly miserable for a full week were suddenly and unexpectedly removed. It was like someone had turned the Emo Button off. Thank God.

Rockwell Hardness

On Friday, I spent my afternoon working my way through all of the tests that have to be done for the first lab module in the class that I’m TAing this semester. In this photo, I’m testing the Rockwell hardness of a sample of annealed 1050 steel. I think there’s about one person who reads this blog who will know what I’m talking about, but don’t worry, she’ll think it’s cool.

An Evening With S&E

I’ve been really shockingly social on the weekends in recent weeks (I think we’re up to four weekends in a row?). On the 26th, Joe and I spent the evening with Stephanie and Eric. First they treated us to a lovely stir-fry courtesy of their awesome new electric wok; then we watched some DVDs and came up with a way of playing four-person Apples-to-Apples. It was a great evening, and we must do it more often! (Incidentally, I love this picture because it’s one of the few candid shots I’ve managed to catch of anyone since starting this.)

Night Walk

I’ve been staying over at Joe’s place until pretty late before walking home recently. This is what my walk looks like, if you’re time-lapsed.


On the 28th, I had my big trip to the allergist. These are two of the new meds I’ve been prescribed.


On the 29th, we started to have a bit of a thaw after a very cold (but not snowy) streak. Here’s the ice starting to melt at Cascadilla Gorge.


I’ve signed up for intermural basketball this year, and, on the 30th, I played my first basketball game in eight years. I thought that I was terrible–probably related to the fact that I still couldn’t breathe, having been back on antihistamines only 48 hours–but my team won anyhow. No baskets for me, sadly, though I did manage a steal and a few rebounds.

Tempered Steel

The 31st was another TA where I spent most of my time in the lab TAing. Here’s a picture of one of the bins of metal specimens used for tensile testing. This bunch is all 1050 steel that’s been tempered and oil-quenched.

SiGMA at Korova

Friday the 1st our department’s graduate student association had pizza and beer at Korova down on the Commons. We were supposed to have a keg of Yuengling at our disposal, but they were short a delivery, which left us with Coors light. Very disappointing.

Indian Feast

On the 2nd, I went a bit crazy and decided that I wanted to make a bunch of Indian food for me and Joe before we went to a movie night at Laura’s place. This lovely meal was the result, which included lamb curry, samosas, and garlic nan. Extremely yummy and extremely filling.


Unfortunately, late that night/early Sunday morning, Joe’s cough and sniffles turned into all-out illness when he developed a fever of 100.2 degrees F. This puts something of a damper on things. I’d had plans to make a bunch of Super Bowl food for him and his roommates, so when I got up, I tossed a few extra things in my bags and started off my day of cooking early by making Joe banana walnut pancakes for his first ever breakfast in bed.

The Incredibles

Joe was still doing poorly Monday evening, so we spent our time eating Super Bowl leftovers and watching “The Incredibles”.

Downtown Ithaca At Night

On my way home from work on Tuesday night, I paused partway down the hill to try and catch a few shots of downtown Ithaca at night. Note the scary amounts of light pollution over by Rt. 13. It was a hazy night, so that enhanced the effect of the light pollution.


Wednesday night I played another basketball game, this time with a pulled groin muscle. Not one of my best ideas, but I’m never more stubborn than I am when I’m hurt. (We lost 49-20, but I scored and felt significantly better about my performance than the previous game, even though I was limping up and down the court.) By the time I got home, though, I could barely walk. After my shower, I went into my room expecting to climb in bed and lie there with a heating pad for awhile before going to sleep early. My bed, sadly, had other plans as the top half of the bed frame had come completely apart. I had to manhandle the bed apart, mattress, box springs and all, and lash the upper half of my bed together with string. Eventually, I managed to get everything back together, at which point that heating pad felt even more welcome than I could have imagined.

A.D. White and Snow

On Thursday we got a light dusting of snow, and I got off the bus a bit early to take a few photos around campus. The heating pad the previous evening made all the difference in the world, and, rather than being utterly unable to walk (as I’d expected), I was just barely limping Thursday.

Strain Gaged

My Friday was spent making stuff. That morning, I rebuilt a hotwire with a sensor configuration I’d never used before. It was a bit tough because the positioning of everything makes it possible to either see where you need to work or get to it. Then, that afternoon, I finished up a strain gaging exercise in preparation for my TAing next week. Here you can see my lovely soldering work. I always avoided doing the soldering on strain gages when I was an undergrad, so this was my first time, and it didn’t turn out too shabby, I think.

5 Responses to “Project 22 – 17 January – 8 February 2008”

  • Kinetic theory–

    “Okay, class, now you’re going to be an ideal gas. Everybody get up and start taking random walks. And then when we examine a rise in temperature in this classroom, you can take random runs.”

    Also, that is a neat candid picture. You must be 3 PH OK.

  • Yes, kinetic theory demonstrated with students running crazily would be complete awesome.

    3 PH OK? What’s that mean?

  • It’s above the EMO BUTTON. But the light is off. People who have activated their EMO BUTTONs must not be OK. At least, not on the 3 PH scale.

  • Do you have a recipe for the samosas? Any chance I could get it? (I’ve got a good chicken korma but I never have anything to go with it.)

  • I’m afraid not, Mark, as the samosas were store bought. I found them in the frozen food section, as a matter of fact.

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