Sunday, September 30, 2007

A trip to the West Side

Now that the weather has become particularly pleasant, Jill and I decided to take a little ride to to the west side of ABQ. The historical attraction is a region of petroglyphs that we had yet to visit. Here's the Rio Grand crossing.

Astute readers might notice that I'm riding a different bike than usual. It's my birthday present! A 1982 Trek 610, made in Wisconsin, USA! Really, sometimes stuff was made in the US back then. I like it a lot. Now I have 5 bikes again, so probably one of them will have to go.

Note that spiral behind Jill. The images that aren't 'historical graphiti' were made between 400 and 700 years ago. I like the spiral symbol -- life continues to move forward and yet the world's patterns (seasons, years) go on as usual, helps point us to origins, etc. -- but overall I'm not terribly impressed with these drawings.

We each got a flat during the ride. While we were fixing the second flat, two boys rode up to us on their bicycles and asked us if we needed help. How kind! They just hung out and watched me change the tube, talking a little with us and a little to each other. In english to us and spanish to each other. We were impressed and told them so.

It was pretty windy, not a big problem normally, but there are tighter water regulations on the west side. Hence more sand and dust that blows along with the wind. When it hits the legs, it hurts a lot more than expected.

The baby blue bicycle is back and is orange. It looks really good, so please don't fret about the color shift. Think about the spiral -- yes, we're on a different circle, but we're at the same angle on the spiral. Look to the center and remember all we've been through. Better things are ahead.

I'm still building it up -- the last major project is to install the aluminum fenders, which will involve some drilling and cutting to get them mounted -- but the primary delay is allowing the paint to cure. Did you know it takes 30 days for paint to fully cure? That's a long time!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

... with a little help from my friends

As per usual, I rode the Reaper ride today. About 1/2 from the turnaround and about 9 miles from home, my chain broke. Specifically, the special chain connector broke, allowing the chain to fall on the ground. I had no tools or spare connector, so I was in a pinch. Thankfully, about 6 of the 9 miles home are downhill. Walking and coasting from there would take a long time.

A fellow rider, Josh, saw me standing on the side of the ride pondering my fate and EXTREMELY kindly volunteered to push me back. Soon, Marty and Chris joined to help as well. It's quite a helpless feeling to be pushed along while sitting very still and trying to maintain a straight path.

A couple weeks ago, Chris and I were heading towards the start of the reaper when we came across a fellow rider whose connector link had fallen off. He had 1/2 in his hand, so we helped look for the other 1/2. After about 5 minutes, we gave up and tried unsuccessfully to catch up to the rest of the group. Just as we were leaving, a maintainance worker asked us if we were really abandoning our friend. This occurred a block from his building, so our friend was in no danger of being stranded. He just missed the ride.

I can't help but wonder if the two events are connected.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

More fun with Mom and Dad

We also enjoyed seeing the sights with Mom and Dad.

Took the tram to Sandia Crest.
Saw the aquarium and botanical gardens.
And, for Chad's birthday, we went to one of the weirdest, most beautiful places on God's earth -- White Sands.

Tastes of Albuquerque

It was so much fun having Mom and Dad visit us this week. We gave them a taste of our Albuquerque lifestyle:

The taste of a Frontier sweet roll after a bike ride.

Mr. Powdrell's BBQ.

Dion's pizza with friends from church.

Breakfast burritos with green chile.

We didn't get to sample the Vietnamese food, but we admired the taste in signage along Route 66.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Paint, Pies, and Pterodactyls

Too much blah, blah, blah in recent posts. Here are some photos.

Got the baby blue bicycle frame back from George the local framebuilder this week. He added a bunch of brazeons. Jill's talking to a painter soon. In a shocking turn of events, the bbb may be painted orange. Stay tuned.

Jill was in a pie baking frenzy lately. Lucky for me and a few friends too! This was a very fine lemon meringue.

On my last Friday off, we visited the ABQ museum of natural history. Saw some dinosaur bones and other natural stuff. The most interesting part was watching a imax type movie of ancient Greece. Amongst other beautiful footage of Greece and ruins, they showed a computer generated rendering of Athena's temple, but I think it would have been easier to just show the replica that's in Nashville, TN :)

The other interesting part of the museum was a set of displays about the early days of the pc. I didn't know that Microsoft was actually founded here in ABQ. Then Bill and Paul came to their senses and moved to Wash. I say good for us as housing would be much more expensive with a bunch of computer geeks around here. Another tidbit: Bill Gates real contribution to software was the idea that it could be sold, not shared. This upset contemporaries, but I'd say it worked out pretty well for him. For us??????

Speaking of computers, here's my new work laptop. Pretty small.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A strange career, so far

Near the end of my first year of grad school, a grad student that used the same lab facility asked me if I had changed since starting grad school. Still being very new, I didn't see any real difference. He said that he had became much more introverted as a result of spending so much time working alone. The lab that we used was a series of MRI machines, and users reserved a block of time to do their experiments. Since only one of the machines was used, the building was generally empty except for the current user. (As an aside, the professor in charge of the lab was fired a couple years later. Another year or so after that, he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for being the first person to put the "I" in MRI back in the 1970s).

I'm currently 8 months into my second post-doc. The first lasted 2 years at Los Alamos Bomb factory. Grad school lasted about 5 years. Here's the inspiration for this post: I estimate that during the last 5 years, I've spent 1 hour per week talking to another employee about my work. I'm not a really hard worker, so assume that only 39 or so other hours were spent at work in a week. I have my own office here, had my own office in Los Alamos, and shared an office with 3 experimentalists that were rarely in the office during grad school.

How does this happen? In grad school, I worked on my own project with no one else. In LA, our project had 2 other post-docs and several staffers, but it was broken amongst a couple of labs and there wasn't much overlap. My supervisor handed my off to the project leader, but he was really busy. Here, it's just me and my supervisor. If he doesn't talk to me, no talk.

Late last summer, I decided that this was enough for me and planned to join my dad's hvac controls company after my contract was up. Didn't work out.

My current job is responsible for raising my average interpersonal interaction rate. There've been several days this summer where my boss and I worked on a code together for a few hours a day. Those were the days! I have hopes that this trend will continue, but there are still many days that involve no work interaction.

Mercifully, I don't feel that I've become much more introverted like the fellow-lab-user-at-different-times-person did. For one, I got married after my 2nd year of grad school. Coming home to the owner of the Baby Blue Bicycle is indeed a blessing. Nearly all of my time away from work is spent with her. The second factor is that in LA and here, I ride with a group of fellow cyclists during lunch a few days per week. Though the conversations aren't always inspiring, just being able to talk to other people helps.

There will be a change soon though. I should have my current job through next October. But that's where the buck stops. I WILL get a job that requires some measure of teamwork. You might say you're boss and coworkers drive you crazy and make you work too hard. You might say that I'll be wishing for my current situation after one week in a different job. You might be right.