Archive for the ‘work’ Tag

DT #350, 16 December 2014 (New World IPA)   3 comments

New World IPA Red Lion Islip

Neither the fragrance
Nor the face of L’Oreal,
Because I’m worth it.

Name: New World IPA
Type: IPA
Venue: Red Lion, Islip

Review/notes: I ran to our lab Christmas Party from Oxford via Water Eaton because I haven’t done the Confessor’s Walk in months and if the trail wasn’t maintained it would be impossible to find an alternate path in the dark.  I knew I would hit some cow shit infused mud just before the boss’ house but there was a river to ford there as well so I should have been rinsed of odours and mud enough to change into some dry clothing I carried in my backpack.  What could go wrong?

She had a film crew there from L’Oreal doing a promotional video because she’s won an award from their foundation promoting women in mathematics, engineering, and the sciences…they’ve been around for a week and should finish in a few days.  The River Cherwell was deeper than I expected and soaked to my waist in its chilly waters and with shirts soaked from my sweat I couldn’t very well come into the house to change so I proceeded to get naked out by the driveway and was soon as presentable as I get.  But, what to do with the wet clothes?

I peeked in the front door and asked the nearest people I could find for a plastic bag as I knew the supplies had been brought up in several bin liners.  After three different people just giggled at this request, I caught the boss’ attention and she insisted I come in but I thought, as host, surely she would have something.  “Do you think anyone here would have a plastic bag or bin liner I could use?” I asked and explained as much as I could in the general din that I had a bunch of wet clothing outside.  “I wouldn’t think so,” she dismissed and went on to another conversation.

Fine.  Just grand.  So, I rearranged the backpack in a vain attempt to try to keep a bunch of papers dry and started to pack the wet running shoes, sweats, socks, shirts, sweatshirt, and hat into the bag which, as I expected, started to flow with fetid water.  Unwilling to abandon the pack outside and unwilling to bring this foul, manure-and-Cherwell scented teabag inside I jogged up to the Red Lion to see if I could get a bin liner from them, stepping into a shin-deep mud puddle along the way.

Fuck it.  I hate Christmas Parties anyway, and there was a train connection in less than an hour.  Beer fixes everything.

2014-12-16 run to Islip

 

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #348, 14 December 2014 (Jägermeister)   Leave a comment

Jaegermeister for Christmas decorating

 

Making it noisy
In the silent lab I found.
Then, beating retreat.

Name: Jägermeister
Type: booze
Venue: house

Review/notes: Yesterday we went poaching greenery in the Lawns Park and today (when we both were finally home from work — I had a Sunday thing in the lab) we put on some Christmas jazz and polished off a bottle of Jäger whilst some duck legs roasted and Jackie arranged the pine, laurel, holly, and cedar snips on the mantle.  This feels like Christmas should do, and I’ll savour the murderous hangover to come.

The lab had to be shut down on Friday for some planned diagnostic power outages so I went in to bring the mass spectrometers back to life in time for the kids to have at them Monday morning.  As soon as the vacuum systems were started I figured I had at least an hour to kill and headed out to do a loop around Marston, North Oxford, Wolvercote and the tow paths.  Not as nippy yesterday:

2014-12-14 pumpdown break at lab on sunday

 

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #343, 9 December 2014 (Two Ravens Cabernet Sauvignon Touriga Nacional)   Leave a comment

Two Ravens Cabernet Sauvignon Touriga Nacional

 

Mass spectrometrists:
They’re creepy and they’re kooky.
Well, mostly creepy.

Name: Two Ravens Cabernet Sauvignon Touriga Nacional
Type: red wine
Menu: Chicken covered in a pesto of turmeric, garlic, and cilantro, roasted sweet potatoes, and a Thai style slaw.
Venue: house

Review/notes: An impulse buy because it was on deep discount, this held up well against the heavily spiced and sweet and sour dishes.

Synapt G2Si flying home

1/2 million £ flying to the second floor

 

A new mass spectrometer delivered to Physical and Theoretical Chemistry was flown into place via a crane, today.  But the real Oxford Mass Spectrometry news has to be the roll out of @michaeltmarty ‘s hash tag ( #UniDec ) for some spectral deconvolution software — help make this trend by Tweeting rude-to-obscene photos (like this or this or even the pic below) with the hashtag #UniDec (go on, you know you want to). [UPDATE 12 December 2014: #UniDec got me blocked.]

Blockage in my UniDec

Oh, yeah…the haiku: Pugsley died.

instrument cock

 

After the stress of this delivery, I did a short run around the University Parks:

2014-12-09 PTCL crane run

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #315, 11 November 2014 (Summerskills Ninja Beer)   Leave a comment

Summerskills Ninja Beer

 

Cleaned last in July
Mass spec users argue for
Fortnightly cleaning.

Name: Summerskills Ninja Beer
Type: bitter
Venue: Four Candles, Oxford

Review/notes: Spent largest part of the day dismantling ion optics and removing insulating build-up from electrodes (and conducting sputtered gold from insulators).  Had one of the D.Phil. students do the same to the source optics which were about 2 months overdue for this, but the part I worked on was quite a surprise (albeit almost two years since it was last out of the instrument).  Tedium, but detailed tedium…closest thing to watch making I’m likely to approach.

The beer was flowery and tart and worthy of a repeat visit although unless I visit Plymouth (pubs near the brewery are the only ones to regularly stock this) I’ll probably never see it again.

Summerskills Ninja Beer pump

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #288, 15 October 2014 (Villa Garducci Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)   Leave a comment

Villa Garducci Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

 

It’s good to be home.
Was rushed off my ass today.
Accomplished fuck-all.

Name: Villa Garducci Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Type: red wine
Recipe: bought some stew bones at the Halal butcher, cut the meat away and minced it coarsely in the sausage maker…sublime
Venue: house

Review/notes: Double- and  triple-booked all day and sometimes had outcalls following me around.  This is why I make the big bucks.

The burgers done this way (with just a smidge of sea salt and quite a bit more than a smidge of garlic run through the grinder with the meat) are truly fantastic.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Posted 2014/10/15 by Drunken Bunny in Daily Haiku, Daily Tipple, food, wine, work

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DT #282, 9 October 2014 (Banrock Station Shiraz Mataro)   Leave a comment

Banrock Station Shiraz Mataro

It was sloppy work.
Collision cell resistors,
Capacitors fixed.

Name: Banrock Station Shiraz Mataro
Type: red wine
Venue: house

Review/notes: Exceptional variety here…like concentrated blueberries.  Better than I deserve for leaving this instrument in such poor condition, but an ample reward for setting things right.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Goujon Monkey, Oxford, Chippy Challenge #96   1 comment

Goujon Monkey Oxford cod

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
Sides: none
Evaluation:  Recommended by one of the professors at our group meeting today, it was worth visiting just to see the old Citroën van they use as a chippy.  And, really, only for that.  Still hungry after getting mugged by The Bear, I went by the van and ordered a batch of goujons which were light and perfectly cooked, granted, but entirely without flavour.
Days since last: 0 (The Bear, Oxford)

Goujon Monkey Oxford Citroen van
Map link.

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Two Weeks As The Voice of Swindon on Twitter!   2 comments

denis of swindon icon

There is a Twitter project called “People of Swindon” that gives control of their account to a new local tweeter for one week every week.  They were recruiting new voices and I applied as I am going to be mostly anchored in Swindon for the next couple of weeks (burning off residual vacation time before the end-of-month deadline).

Yeah, we want people from Swindon to talk up the town...just not YOU.

Yeah, we want people from Swindon to talk up the town…just not YOU.

By way of a vetting process, they must have read my Twitter account or this blog because they never even bothered to reply to my email, despite giving some previous “[name] of Swindon” tweeters a second go.

No matter…for those of you that enjoy Twitter (and who doesn’t?), I shall do the job in spite of their misgivings starting when I leave work Friday (12 September 2014).  Do tune in.

DT #252, 9 September 2014 (Backyard Brewhouse Hellbound)   Leave a comment

Backyard Brewhouse Hellbound

Capitulated…
Men and boys put to the sword…
Women: slavery.

Name: Backyard Brewhouse Hellbound
Type: bitter
Venue: Four Candles, Oxford

Review/notes: Asked what the solution to a computer problem was, my response was to “smack it with a sledge hammer until it capitulates.”  My words hit me with nostalgia.

The word, “capitulate,” evokes Proustian memories (is that toast I smell?) of one of Jackie’s classics professors who ended every lecture about military history with these words: “Whereupon the [insert vanquished here] capitulated, the men were put to the sword and the women and children sold into slavery.”  For years, I described every professional success thus.   Now, it’s more likely to be, “hit me again, barkeeper.”  Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Backyard Brewhouse Hellbound pump

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #240, 28 August 2014 (Carta Roja Monastrell Syrah)   Leave a comment

Carta Roja Monastrell Syrah

 

The cream of England,
Oxford University.
They’re all rich and thick.

Name: Carta Roja Monastrell Syrah
Type: red wine
Recipe: served with phô, and quite a good accompaniment
Venue: house

Review/notes: They aren’t all rich and some are not dimwits.  I just liked the Becket quote about Trinity (Dublin) and saw an easy paraphrase for the Haiku.  It is true enough, mind you.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Posted 2014/08/28 by Drunken Bunny in Daily Haiku, Daily Tipple, work

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DT #238, 26 August 2014 (Feria et Fetes Grenache Noir)   Leave a comment

Feria et Fetes Grenache Noir

 

After vacation,
So many repairs ahead.
Back to work.

Name: Feria et Fetes Grenache Noir
Type: red wine
Venue: house

Review/notes: This week is going to suck but at least it’s only four days long.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Posted 2014/08/27 by Drunken Bunny in Daily Haiku, Daily Tipple, work

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DT #227, 15 August 2014 (McGuigan Estate Shiraz)   Leave a comment

McGuigan Estate shiraz

 

How many roads must
A man walk down? The answer,
Three hundred seven.

Name: McGuigan Estate Shiraz
Type: red wine
Venue: house

collision cell

Review/notes: At work before 8, gutted and repaired the beam line on an instrument with chemical fouling and high power laser burns, sorted another one suffering burns from corona discharge, then spent the rest of the days struggling with a software issue until, at 4, I realised I missed lunch and was due to start a week of holiday.  Screw it, let’s just knit this motherfucker up and go home.

burned TWAVE

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Posted 2014/08/16 by Drunken Bunny in Daily Haiku, Daily Tipple, wine, work

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DT #202, 21 July 2014 (La Metropole)   Leave a comment

La Metropole

An early morning
And very late evening.
I am so knackered.

Name: La Metropole
Type: red wine
Venue: house

Review/notes: The power at work failed (again) just as I got the last of the instruments running again, around 9:30 this morning.  By 11, I was done running around making them safe for the day as the building was supposed to stay shut down until tomorrow.  I was home at 12:30, and got some chores done and just checked my email for updates before heading out for a run at 3.

There were several urgent emails saying that they really needed to test the system load at about 5:30 and asking would it be possible for me to bring the lab back up at that time…of course.  So instead of a run, I killed the time before the next bus in the best way I could think of–with a glass of red wine and a chicken sandwich.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Posted 2014/07/22 by Drunken Bunny in Daily Haiku, Daily Tipple, wine, work

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DT #196, 15 July 2014 (Sierra Grande Pinot Noir)   Leave a comment

Sierra Grande Pinot Noir

 

What happened with our Stan?
Did he jump or was he pushed?
No matter, he’s gone.

Name: Sierra Grande Pinot Noir
Type: red wine
Venue: house

Review/notes: In order to speak freely about the scientists we manage, the permanent staff sometimes nickname them.  Usually, it takes a few days or weeks before it is obviously necessary and often it never is.  The names that really stick are the ones that jump out at you during their inductions, though.  “Millets” is one, to refer to one guy who is hyper like a puppy and simply intense (Millets, in tents–that one wasn’t mine but I’ve been using it without having to explain twice).

“Stan” just left us suddenly and without fanfare which is completely out of character for him.  We would have expected that he would have expected ticker tape and rose petals and dancing girls and, at the very least, an elephant at the inevitable parade in his honour.  The first week here, he bullied an undergrad into overwriting a senior doctoral student’s instrument booking because he needed it more than she did.  A couple of weeks later he installed his own PC in the office without notifying IT because they wanted to check it over before putting it on the system; he just stole someone elses IP address and went ahead without telling anyone as only the great might dare to do.  These two events were the first of an endless stream that damaged tenuous bonds of trust I had worked years to build up within the group and the department.

So, we called him “Stan,” and I often called him that when speaking with him but I think he just thought I was an idiot and/or insane (and fair enough). He started treating me like a human being not long after I dumped him off with a senior faculty member who is also a member of the House of Lords and patron of an international medical charity (and who has a reputation as somewhat self-promoting and eccentric) who was seeking collaborations with mass spectrometry groups and who I already knew that the boss (the real boss, not Stan) wanted nothing to do with.  At the very least, I thought, he would offend this person in a way that the class system does not tolerate (Oxford is still fairly medieval), or at the most he would weasel funding from — and then be bound to — this kook that I actually adore but just don’t want to work with.  I think the titles and his then early tenure kept him uncharacteristically diplomatic, and nothing really came of the effort.

The inspiration for the naming came from a plaque I spotted for Arthur Stanley Eddington and the architectural review it inspired; if our Stan hasn’t already commissioned one of these for himself I will bet that he does within the next year or so.  According to one of the post-docs that worked with him (or, FOR him, depending who’s telling the story…or despite him, even), he has recently been telling students that he’ll give them references when he moves on because he has “more and better” contacts than either of the faculty members he was serving directly under here at Oxford, a statement so delusional that it actually stuns most that hear it, even secondhand; perhaps he mistook the dropping jaws for awe and gratitude.

Regardless, I checked to make sure he was really gone and that confirmation served to explain the birdsong I heard at breakfast and the sweet smell on the warm, light breeze as I walked to the labs [not to mention the palpable lack of tension in the space].

This should have been champagne, but there are a lot of Stan’s out there and we get more than our fair share.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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DT #144, 24 May 2014 (Mud City Stout)   Leave a comment

Sadler's Mud City Stout

Bank holidays rule!
Even though it’s raining (of course),
It’s festive inside.

Name: Mud City Stout
Type: stout
Recipe: nachos…turning into a weekend thing, this is
Venue: house

Review/notes: Jackie fights off a cold today so we are unable to properly celebrate her new library job. Still, I brought home a bunch of celebratory fixin’s, all the same; among these was this oily, woody, dark chocolatey and simply divine stout.  Except for a very brief run in the shit weather to keep the May running streak alive, I can think of worse days.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

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Insulted at work   1 comment

The requisitions system at Oxford has been calling me horrid things:

R12 purchasing insults

 

Probably autospell, but the one below that might be “Pissed On Plate.”

Posted 2014/03/21 by Drunken Bunny in Made me laugh, work

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Harold Ramis   Leave a comment

harold-ramis-as-dr-egon-spengler-in-ghostbusters

Harold Ramis died.  I only bring it up because I use “That would be bad,” so frequently in training.  “That would be bad,” might mean, “You just bought a £700,000 instrument,” or “You just forced me to remember some of my first aid,” or “Give me about thirty minutes while I clean up this mess you just created,” or “I wonder if their next of kin will be very surprised,” or all four at once.  RIP, Egon:

Dr. Egon Spengler: There’s something very important I forgot to tell you.

Dr. Peter Venkman: What?

Dr. Egon Spengler: Don’t cross the streams.

Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?

Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.

Dr. Peter Venkman: I’m fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, “bad”?

Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.

Dr Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal.

Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That’s bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

Posted 2014/02/24 by Drunken Bunny in obits, work

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DT #044, 13 Feb 2014 (Hardy’s Legacy Shiraz Cabernet)   Leave a comment

Hardy's Legacy Shiraz Cabernet

Diaphragm pump and
One mass spectrometer fixed,
Plus proposal notes.

Name: Hardy’s Legacy Shiraz Cabernet
Type: red wine
Venue: house in Eastcott

Review/notes: Another cheap Hardy’s wine but tasty…a bit viscous but with deep fruit and good with our greasy fry-up for dinner.  Finally digging out of a two month deep hole at work.

[DT =Daily Tipple, explained in DT #000 here]

Monthly consolidations/compilations: January

pearls before swine 2014-02-07

Posted 2014/02/13 by Drunken Bunny in Daily Haiku, Daily Tipple, wine, work

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Chemistry Research Building, Oxford University, Chippy Challenge #9   6 comments

chemistry research bldg cod lunch

[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]

Fish: cod
Sides: soggy roasted potato chunks and peas with a strange orange discolouration on about 10% of the surface
Evaluation: Had it before and shall again despite all protestations to the contrary…an abomination.
Days since last: 1, (York Road Chippy)
Map link.

The work canteen is subsidized.  When I forget to bring something from home or the weather is too shit to go out, it is there.  I honestly couldn’t give higher praise than that.  Let me rephrase that: I couldn’t honestly give higher praise than that.  At least I won’t be hungry the rest of the afternoon.  Sorry, again, I won’t be interested in food for a while.

The Old Gold Tooth Scam   1 comment

The surface coating is fragile and only a few nanometers thick so must be reapplied from time-to-time

The surface coating is fragile and only a few nanometers thick so must be reapplied from time-to-time

In Atlanta the Summer of 1986, I was test riding a motorcycle I had considered buying when, on a curvy-hilly section of road in Ansley Park a car crossed into my lane and I was forced off. Hitting the kerb I was propelled over the handle bars into an old oak followed closely by the Bonneville which slammed into the back of my helmet; the face mask of the helmet split and part of it cracked my jaw as it relieved me of one of my teeth. A nurse just off duty from Piedmont hospital saw the incident and rushed over and, among other more pressing duties, tucked the tooth into the change pocket of my jeans.

I kept this item for years thinking maybe it could be an ear ring or other such decorative item. It would turn up from time to time and I eventually bothered to pick away the last of the meat that used to be me, but it wasn’t until we moved to England that I came up with a fun use for it.

At work we need to coat glass and fused silica capillaries with something inert and conductive so we use a gold sputter coater that employs an argon plasma to move gold atoms from a target to a sampling plate on which we arrange the caps. There’s extra room so I have been putting layers onto the tooth, as well.

coater  mid coating

With this item at a pub, I can do the old, “jeez, I thought I had more coins than that…I think I’m a bit short on the price,” move and say to the tender something like, “look, I’m good for it, let me leave you some collateral” then reach up into my mouth with thumb and forefinger (and the tooth hidden), get the tooth nice and damp, pull it out and drop it on the bar. No one is ever fooled for more than a half-minute, but everyone always falls for it for a moment.

Then I discover a fiver and pay off the beer; every time I’ve done it, someone buys the next one. So, I’m off to refresh the coating for Halloween.

finished tooth 2

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