Sunday 31 July 2011

What did science do today #3

(Every day is too much to expect really, so it will be an intermittent thing, okay? Okay.)

As part of the research I will be working quite a lot in UCD (the project I work on is jointly funded between UCD, DCU and TCD)

One of the next steps in my work in UCD will be doing visible spectroscopy on a Sn laser triggered discharge source. For this I will be bringing the visible spectrometer I use in TCD to UCD, to make this easier the table and optics have been set up ahead of moving the spectrometer, so no time is wasted.

For this alignment I went all Art Attack and made a cardboard cut-out of the spectrometer I will be transporting (to make sure I can fit it around other analysis tools which will have to be attached to the chamber).

I know, I'm a pro-scientist, you don't need to tell me. Sticky-tape physicists have nothing on me.

Survivor sitrep

(backdated - 23rd July 2011)

Last Saturday the weather was beautiful, sun was beating down and I was flaking out on the grass in St. Stephen's Green. Was lovely to just relax and enjoy the sun for awhile with my dearest Odette. The problem with working in labs is you miss out on sunshine (usually not a problem living in Ireland where the sun doesn't like to show up unless there are exams on somewhere).

We were both minding our own business when the outbreak took hold!

Before we knew it They were everywhere!

Luckily they all seemed more interested in each other than in the survivors in the next green behind the bushes and so we could make swift our escape, but not before seeing some horrific sights of the victims of this terrible plague.

Friday 22 July 2011


Two days in a row with very little worth showing.
Maybe this wasn't such a hot idea at the moment?

Blah blah blah science.

New mural in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar:

The plants in my bedroom window, I loves me green things:

And for anyone who doesn't already know how retro-cool I am, the floppy diskettes I use Still for recording experimental data:

I will try and maybe think up a weeks worth of stuff over the weekend. That or just do some interesting work once in awhile haha.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

What did science do today #2

Today wasn't a day with a lot of photo opertunities, I continued to work on the Faraday Cup setup. Spent a fair amount of time sorting out the lab, was trying to find a piece of kit I knew I had put somewhere "safe". So other than cleaning and sorting the day was spent reading, sending emails, phoning suppliers to check lead times, drawing up aditions to designs and looking over data.

I really did try to think of something good to photograph. But ahwell. Hopefully tomorrow.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

What did science do today

Welp, this is my plan, I'm going to tell you what I did each day.
What do you think?
I will try and keep it short and interesting but I also wont be putting up much detail on things as it isn't good to give up my results to the world quite that freely just yet.

One side note, I ran into two guys from Sixty Symbols/Periodic Videos walking through TCD just before lunch. I watch their videos all the time so I don't mind saying I was a little star struck. There is a talk on this evening in the Science Gallery by the producer of the videos but I can't go because I am going to see an exhibit of Andrew's art.

What I've done today is mostly wrapped up with the design of the Faraday Cup I plan to use in future laser triggered plasma discharges. It is used to detect ions by biasing the centre copper cup and counting the electrons that essentially go missing when they pair with the ions (in simple terms and skipping stuff).

A magnetic field can be used to stop any secondary electrons which are knocked off by the impinging ions from escaping and being counted as an ion pairing (which would lead to extra ions being recorded that didn't strike the cup) and by using the shielding and aperture any electrons which are excited off other metallic surfaces by the strong emission of light from the plasma are stopped from impacting the cup and causing a decrease in the number of ions recorded.

So that's that, other things were done but I think one thing a day.
Thoughts, comments and opinions are as always more than welcome.

Wednesday 6 July 2011


Missed a month.
When did that happen?
The flip?

I'm still alive, still with Odette, still in college, still writing dull blog posts over using the word still. Have pictures of things and news about things. Will try put together a fludge soon. A proper one.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Things I like to view online

So for no reason other than the fact that my head is sore from stupid slides that never seem to look right I am going to try write a post. The topic of this fludge post is fairly self-evident but just to spell it out T, H, I, N, G, .... ohright, sorry, yeah. I'm just going to go through a few things I enjoy keeping up with on das internet.

Epic gifs can frequently be found here:
Senor Gif

Wonders of a quite interesting nature always here:

If like me planes make you daydream this is for you:
Flight image of the day

Oh so many ways to kill time, but whynot get informed about a random chunk of the news:
Philip DeFranco Show

You can't beat XKCD, just incase Anyone doesn't already read it:

Monty Python's youtube channel, lots of good laughs there:
Monty Python

I try not to let myself get trapped with exponentially expanding tab bars but Reddit makes that difficult:
Science Reddit

Any gamer out there will already know Yahtzee, but just incase:
Zero Punctuation

A recent thing on my radar, and it being Towel Day and all it simply has to be included:
Hitchikers Guide Game

And finally:

Friday 20 May 2011

The gig I missed

Well QOTSA played a few meters from where I sleep and I didn't get to see them play.

I did hear every beat though, which rocks, and I got (bad) pictures of them. It was Josh Homme's birthday yesterday, so I guess he left earlier than the others to nurse a hangover maybe. The guy beside me got Joey's drum sticks, right in front of my eyes. I also got to talk to Joey which was epic (although brief). The gig that never was, for me anyway. Or maybe half was is more accurate. Next time eh?

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Whynot? But why?!

So yeah, things flying by, mostly time, but other things too.
On the happy side of my mind at the moment, the other side doesn't see much daylight anyway, but definitely on the happy side.
Work is going well, well it is going well enough. Well well well. Wellity wellity..
The changes I was asked to make to my transfer/continuation report (the thing required of PhD students at around the 18 month mark of their studies which is used to #1 show people they are on track and/or learning stuff & #2 give them a feel for what the big write-up will be like come the 4 year mark) were mostly small things, slight issues with phrasing and such (physicists can't say "vast quantities" and the like, one must quantify one's self if one wishes to be well read) [honestly not ripping the piss, this is how it is and I do try to write scientifically when drafting reports/posters/presentations]. There were however things of a larger nature that needed addressing, for example the explanation (& derivation) of Bennett's condition (I wanted a link here to explain this for me but I will have to do it myself.. Bennett's condition, in the case I am looking at it, is a balance of plasma pressure and magnetic pressure inside a plasma which can be used to yield estimates of the plasma and discharge conditions required for a Z-pinch to occur). This isn't a huge thing to ask, it is something which I should understand empirically as it is essentially a cornerstone of the pinch work (kinda). But none the less, reading so much theory and trying to piece it together and make a clear, concise picture in my head was/is difficult. There is a lot to be said for having an expert explain things to you, but trying to make yourself an expert really means kicking your own ass ten times a day. You feel it too, no pain no gain and all that. Feel like I've a bruised brain, maybe that's why I'm in a writing mood.

Getting the feeling I'm losing my train of thought though and this post is becoming a nightmare. So I will add some disclaimers to it and move on to the rest of life?


Personal life stuff now:
Josh & myself got to hangout with my nana & granddad on Sunday which was lovely, my aunt & uncle were there too with my uncle's two girls. Always fun seeing them, crazy how quick time goes, they're little messers but that's the best way to be. Gotta love family, can't beat the feeling really. Togetherness is what we're made for, social animals and all that.

Got to spend time with Odette Monday evening & yesterday evening (despite my 13 hour day in the office melting my head) which was lovely, love her to bits. She is the best, never too sure what to say, to many things in my head, so many little stories but I think I want to keep them to myself. Makes me think of that bit in Saving Private Ryan when Cpt.Miller says he is saving the memory of his wife cutting the roses to himself. They're too nice, they're just for me. Those moments, little smiles for no reason, sudden feelings and heart flutters. All the sweet things shared. Nawww.

The little fuzz ball that is Nuvola is as lovely as ever, never thought a little rodent could have so much character! She really is hilarious, funny to watch her trying to learn things and figure out patterns, great then to throw in a change and see how she tries to adapt. Never thought I'd get so attached to a hamster either, guess that's the way it goes, she is just too cute. Keep meaning to upload videos of her to YouTube.

Hopefully be able to get back to being a social animal myself soon by the way, haven't really seen friends outside the apartment for a while, glad I've gotten to see Fern a bit during the past few months and been meeting up with Josh alot which is always good but if it wasn't for Kevin bringing people over to the apartment I'd not really be seeing people.

On to summer plans? Whynot indeed. Well, lets see. May has arrived with all its bells and whistles, enjoyed as much sun as work would afford me during April, try my best to do the same in May. Want to take Tony up on his offer of a couch in Paris at some stage. Wouldn't mind trying to convince Odette to go see Sophie too. Then it's just dreams of sunshine and beaches in late August early September. Might try and get down to Wexford too, would really like to. Will see if I can talk Josh into going. Will be spending time up in Louth with my mammy too for sure, lots of hiking & hanging out. Also want to read half a dozen spectroscopy, plasma theory, atomic physics and magnetohydrodynamic texts. Will keep myself busy, no doubt about that.


Two important things I would like to add here just to cover myself:
#1 this is not intended as an information source to anyone in Any way, undoubtedly I will lead those looking to learn astray (I welcome comments/corrections to anything I have stated in the first section)
#2 I am deeply sorry that I have linked to Wikipedia as a source of understanding, there are no other links I could find to explain the terms in very simple terms (a job I may undertake in the future?)

I would also like to apologise for the manner in which most of this is written, there are more parentheses in this fludge post than there are spots on a giraffe

Thursday 5 May 2011

wha's new(s)?

The only thing that happened this week in my life to speak of is my 5 year aniversary with Odette <3
Five years?! Can you believe it? I can't, don't know where the time has gone. Also means I'm pretty much 6 years studing physics at 3rd level.. All very scary really, how quick time goes by!

Love my baby madly though, she's wonderful in most every way. I wont go getting all mushy though, more just wanted to say. Everybody has those times they say things they regret or do things they didn't think through, but through it all I've loved her with all my heart, more and more every day.

Thursday 28 April 2011

So what you're saying is...

Rightso, back to blogging?
Do you think I can do it? Do I think I can do it?

The biggest problem is the whole day to day idea I was trying to keep, it has meant that I now have a massive half empty blog post of days that have gone by and clues for myself to fill in the events of the past... months.

I can cut all that down to this I think:
lots has happened, I didn't fail my continuation Thing (ergo I get to stay in TCD to finish my PhD short of anything awful), still love Odette to bits, hamster still epicly cute, still listen to massive amounts of music, still working in lab/office & forgetting to eat, still cooking things and adding far too much chilli so you can't taste anything properly and still failing to get out of bed after my alarm goes off and missing the real morning hours.

Also still being crap at family-keep-up (a game I've realised I've been failing at for a long time). Although I have to say, was good on Easter Sunday, went back to my dad's and hung out for the evening, was bullied by Alannah (3) and went to see my nana which was all great. Also saw my mam a few weekends ago on a Saturday evening, we had a few glasses of wine and tapas in a place in Ranelagh while she was in Dublin teaching. So haven't been As bad. But still haven't seen my nana&grandad since they had their 50th wedding aniversary... which was ages ago. I know, I suck.

I've no pictures of my own to add to this (in college) but this is my current college PC background:

Saturday 16 April 2011


Well, it's been awhile hasn't it.

Uber stress for Mr. Isaac I'm afraid, massive amount of work for continuation/transfer. But that is mostly behind us now, so on with life and on with blogging!

Last Saturday (9th April) I went out to Odette's, we'd maybe planned on going for a walk but stormy clouds made the walk look risky so instead Odette made a lovely picnic for us and I went to her house and we hung out in the back garden while the sun was out.

It was really lovely, couscous, hummus and carrot and homemade frozen yogurt. Very tasty all round! Other weekends have also come and gone, they all merge in my mind in some ways but I have pictures to prove there were different ones!

Found a really big dead crab on day and left it in a metal hoop

Not too sure why.

Had my birthday at some stage in the past few weekends

either that or I like blowing candles out on cakes.

I was also in London with Odette at some stage


And have spent much time photographing and videoing Nuvola (the products of which are adorable and must be uploaded to YouTube soon)

Friday 25 February 2011

Quickly quickly

Happy (not) pancake Tuesday... I have been misinformed, which has lead to me misinforming others. Which has lead to the possibility of having Two pancake Tuesdays in the space of a few weeks. Wonderful result eh?

So I woke up, a little later than I had planned but still, early enough, but Kevin then told me New Zealand had been hit by an earthquake. So I looked up the distance between Christchurch and Wellington (where Rory, Stephen and Sue are at the moment), around 450 km, what time the quake hit, around 1pm local time (aka around midnight GMT), so I checked their respective Facebook pages just to make sure [though Kev did say Sue had updated since, just wanted to make sure] and Sue had updated saying their fine "about an hour ago". Good good.

Sort notes, shower, dress, eat toast, drink tea, get to college. Morning plans go-now!

Morning plan falls flat, extra extra!
Spoke to Rory & Stephen on gchat, they are, indeed, okay. Good times, wish I was there though, be great. But the PhD wont last forever, then some freedom! Maybe >.> Ugh. Life is stressful, what happens if I get offered a great postdoc or something, will everyone hate me if I just work forever?

Mmmm, damn tasty. Nice brown toast, Natura e Bonta spicy veg. pesto-esque stuff & Corleggy smoked Drumlin cheese. Mmmm mmmmmm. Also, Barry’s tea brewed for a min or so with a bit of milk. Today has been good, but I think it may have jumped the shark already. How could it get better? Ohwait, pancakes later. Yes!

Sometimes I'm nervous eating at my desk, esp. since my PC now lives next to my chair like this:

as it kept overheating in its normal tower position. Stupidly designed case, really need to get looking for a new case with uber fannage.

The morning went quickly, and then the afternoon followed suit. Now somehow it is 5pm. Bye bye daytime. I'm not going to do 2.5 hours of lab work.. there is no point, that wont do anything. I am meeting Odette (I think) at around 7:30pm, not changing that. It's (not) pancake Tuesday afterall!

Well I met Odette at around 8pm in the end, we did some shopping in the new Tesco on Fleet Street for pancake ingredients. We had spelt pancakes made by around 9:20pm and we enjoyed them with fresh made blueberry & raspberry coulis.

I can’t take the credit for doing anything other than look (half) pretty and letting Odette do all the work, what else am I good for really? Crashed out quite early then, Kevin, Matthew & Adam ate pancakes in the kitchen from around 10pm but I was pancaked out and feel very sleepy. Roll on not-pancake Wednesday?

Went in to college early, got set up as best I could for the Sn experiment, got working on it properly by about 11am, worked then through (bar around 30mins for a late lunch at about 4:30pm) until bang on 7pm when I met Gearoid and we walked up to Bleeding Horse on Camden St. to meet Tony et al. for his going away drinks.

(this is what I look like when doing science)
They had a promotion of 4 bottles of Brahama for €10, this wasn’t a good thing for me. Haven’t a clue how much I drank but it was clearly enough for bouncers to tell me I was too drunk and for me to lose the hours between 1:30am and 3am and then storm into the apt, ignore Kevin for some unknown reason, slam my door and then fall asleep after failing to get more than my coat and one of my shoes off.
I will say now, how Odette puts up with me I will never know.

This was a painful morning, I woke up at about 10:30am and realised I was in a bad way, one shoe still on laying in a bed totally covered in clothes and junk from my room which I hadn’t been bothered to move clearly. I tried to find my phone then and found it in my coat pocket. 20 missed calls and dozen messages… ohdear. Anyway, I really am sorry I worried Odette (again) and that I did such damage to my head that I couldn’t face the world properly when I really should have been analysing the data I got the day before. Eventually I got up and showered and checked emails and tried to deal with the world while I had the feeling like the roof of my mind would cave in at any moment and I would be left trapped in a painful little hell inside my head.
Skip forward to 5:30 pm I met Gearoid, Inam & Clelia at Mongolian Barbeque. Tony was next to arrive, then Bredan, then James came along and was followed soon after by Ronan and Ciaran. We then got into the food, my explanation of how things worked didn’t seem to help anyone really though and it was the second bowl that everyone seemed to find their feet. I was glad my body allowed me to eat, for most of the time we had been waiting for the others to arrive I had been sitting in silence trying to not give in to the awful feelings in the back of my head. But once I got food in me I livened up a fair bit and managed four bowls of food. We went to Foggy Dew then where they had pints and I sat, digesting and chatting to Clelia about music. I left, not before others had, but still early enough, talked to Odette on the phone then, was home by 10:45 ish &then fell asleep by around midnight.

Woke up at 8am, lay about until about 8:45 when I went and put the kettle on and made sure Kev was ready to book me some QOTSA tickets. Unfortunately they sold out in no time at all, so come 9am the site was telling us there were no available tickets, and despite around 15minutes of checking over and over for a ticket I was left with none. This was saddening, so I listened to two QOTSA albums and started to read over notes to try put together slides for the mid term review of the project I’m funded by out in UCD… I am still looking at these slides. 10 slides, that sounds like it shouldn’t take long. Try hours, feck I’d say a day or two, I’m nowhere near happy with what I’ve put on the 5 slides I have Anything on. Hopefully James will be able to give me some good ideas and a good way to work through them. Had a nice mug of tea and a banana for breakfast, then a really nice smoothie for lunch, going to meet Odette at 4:30pm and am looking forward to that.

I gave up

Things got on top of me and I let them beat me into not doing things online,
however, I am now caught up on Reader, FB and Twitter.. so that just leaves this thing here, my Fludge. Well, there were lots of things that happened recently, and I Wanted to tell them all. However, now I cannot remember what I wanted to say at all at all.

Let's see, I updated on the morning before I went up to my mammy's house for the evening (Wed. 9th Feb.). So I will do a day by day run down to bore any remaining readers away from here. Or not, whatever.

Wednesday 9th Feb
I felt like death, had a bad cold coming on, was in college in the morning, left early for lunch with Odette and after leaving her to a bus I went to meet Michele in the Travelodge in Ballymun and did around 4pm, went to Co. Louth with her to see my mother. Had a lovely dinner with them, chatted to Karen for ages and played with the dogs. Went to bed quite early because I was getting up early for a lift back to Dublin

Got a lift back from Co. Louth bright and early the next morning, was back in town for 8:30am, the day went by in a flash, did some work, got some results, nothing really worked properly as usual but I left and met Odette at 6pm and hung out with her for the evening which was nice. Always good to get to spend time with her.

Went to college early, left Odette off to a bus into college & worked all day then. Met Odette again in the evening, planning on going to a party for Josh's 21st.. but it was cancelled, apparently it was never really going ahead. So I had dragged Odette to town for no reason other than to spend time with me (not that that is a bad reason), we had dinner in Mao but after that we both felt crap & really tired and we ended up falling asleep at like 8pm.

On Saturday Odette had her girlies over in the evening, so we did food shopping in the morning, cooking in the afternoon and in the evening when Kevin was off work him & myself walked to Joe Burger in Rathmines, it was really good. If you have not been there and like lamb burgers (or any burgers) go there, and eat well for a pretty good price. After eating a massive amount we walked around to try find Fern’s house because we knew she lived near there on a T junction. Eventually we found her & her brother wandering around trying to find an open chemist because Fern wasn’t feeling well. The four of us slowly wombled down Camden St., first in search of cold/flu medicine, then in search of a cup of tea. Unfortunately Fern gave up around George’s St and our party became 2. Kevin & myself went and did indeed get a LPT in JoC/Brick Alley Café and stayed there for ages, chatting to staff and then watching a very very drunken man lean against the door and slowly fall over, then get up.. and then slowly fall over. Lots of people stopped along Essex St. To photograph him or just watch his slow rise and fall along the doorframe. We gave up on this after over filling with tea & went back to the apt. to find 3 drunken dancing girls, haha. They weren’t really drunk, but they were really dancing. Left them to it really, I was wrecked and just sat at my PC until around 3am when Odette collapsed from too much dancing and the music, both in Sin & in the apt., fell silent. That is when I went to sleep.

The next morning I woke up early with Odette, she was in work at 10am in Dalkey and was getting a lift at 9:30 from the quays. So she hopped up and went to the bathroom mirror to clean the makeup off her eyes and fell over. The poor dear literally collapsed and blacked out, I caught her as quick as I could and dragged her from the bathroom and placed a pillow under her head trying not to move her neck. I was thinking all the worst things and for about 30 seconds I was in first aid mode (although I failed to put her into the recovery position). She came around quickly and assured me she was okay and not to call an ambulance.. Anyway, she was indeed okay, I made her lay still for awhile and then helped her up and watched her closely until it was time to walk her to her lift. Once that craziness was over & Odette was on her way to work I started sorting out pictures, printing and cutting them for Josh's birthday present. Odette’s girlies left for work and home after awhile and I washed some dishes and then cut more pictures. Then went with Kev to buy the photo album for Josh (and a paper for Kev) and finished as many pictures as I could. Got to Dave’s around 5pm and went straight for dinner. Was a lovely family dinner out, the restaurant was very nice, a new Italian place in Ballygall, where the laundrette used to be on Fitzmaurice Road. I went back to Dave’s after for a little while and then back to town then because I had a group meeting on Monday morning to prep for.

Valentine's Day, well I did update with A post then, but it wasn't a blog post, just a rant about loving each other. There is so much hate and destruction, so many people dying fighting one another, it's good to take a moment to make all this awful stuff around us an exception to the rule rather than making kindness and love the exceptions. But anyway, was a good day, took off from college a little early, made Odette dinner in the evening and we watched Singing In The Rain. Was a nice Valentine's Day, carved Nuvola a heart out of the red pepper I had cooked with (see picture in previous post).

Left Odette in the apt. reading papers, she had decided trekking to UCD was pointless when I had a quiet desk to work at and internet connection available. I headed out to UCD for 12am to get sorted with some info. on a piece of equipment they bought which I wanted to replicate. I ended up staying out there for longer than I had expected, got a coffee with Enda and talked to him about his college routine and how life was going with him. Do miss the old DIT days still myself. Got back into town for around 4pm and then went and got my keys back off Odette at 4:30 and left her to a bus home. Went down to the lab then and got stuff organised to begin getting data, before I started I met Valentin & Sophie at 5:20 pm to give them a tour of the lab and show them how everything worked. They headed off around 6pm and I stayed in the lab working late through the evening and then until midnight. Was falling apart brain-wise by the time I left, had yet to get the ion probe signals which was stupid but it wasn’t working out and by then I was in no mood to figure stuff out so I left the last bit of work until the next day.

Got set up in the morning in the lab, before I took the measurements I met Odette for lunch at 11:30am, after that we got all our ion probe measurements done before it was late so didn't have to work late that evening, Kevin's mam was staying over and they were finishing dinner when I got home. Had a quiet night, just relaxed knowing I’d have to organise data and get ready to do the whole lot with the experiment again for tin soon.

Can't really remember what happened... spoke to James on the phone at some stage as he was off to Denmark, pretty much just did college work. Was one of Those days, think the midnight lab work had sapped me of any want to continue in the lab for that time.

I went to college early-ish, which means early for me, worked away and talked with Gearoid because we were meeting James on Monday to show results from the experiment. Worked along then until I met Odette just after 5pm, had dinner in Wagamama at 6ish, went back to hers and watched some TV and she fell asleep on my shoulder at around 11pm, so cute, she was wall fallingly tired.

Woke up in Odette's house around 10:30, her mother's parents were over so got to say hello to them, had breakfast with Odette first, watched Saturday Kitchen. Odette was in work at 1pm & I had planned on leaving at 12 and working in the lab all day... then I convinced myself not to and spent the rest of Saturday in the apt. not achieving a whole bunch but it was a relaxing day anyway. In the evening Kevin and myself walked to Phibsborough to Peter's house for his going away thing. Didn't stay long though, got there around 9pm and left around 10pm (I think). Walked back into town and got a LPT in JoC and chatted to the staffers there for awhile. Went home then and talked to Odette on the phone and that was Saturday over.

Sunday I got up early..ish, although maybe 9am is early for a Sunday? Anyway, had planned on going to college to do the experiment with tin but again convinced myself not to go in because James had asked us to discuss the results before moving on to another element. So once again I was just in the apt. all day, though I did do some reading, but nothing much really.
Then in the evening people came over from Fallon & Byrne for Rachel's last day there, Kevin cooked pizzas from scratch, base and all. Were nice, though I burned my tongue so bad I can feel it stinging still. They all went out then after some of us had vodka & sorbet for desert, I decided I didn't want to go, instead I washed all the pots & dishes, cleaned all the flour off everything, swept, spoke to Odette on the phone, put all the tea towels on to wash and then mopped the floor in the kitchen. Went to bed then and read for awhile, then Kevin et al. returned so I got up and said hello, Rachel left then, I squeezed a lemon into a pint of water, as I do, drank it all and went back to bed.

Woke up at 7:30 to my alarm, got up, checked my emails.. went back to bed. 8:30, got up, put on the emersion.. went back to bed. 8:55 got up and showered, dressed, failed to find a breakfast worth having, washed teeth and went to college. Checked lab was all still in order, sat in office, realised I hate today already and it's not even 10:30 am yet. Debated a coffee & flapjack of some sort..

got myself a latte & a hazelnut flapjack, damn tasty, though the almond one seems a lot less oily (though it is with non hydrogenated vegetable margarine, so the lesser of two weevils [best movie joke ever]). We'll see how the rest of today goes, I will stop typing a minute by minute run down. For now.

Great little video of the flight path, for want of a better phrase (controlled orbits? Anyway..), of the Mercury bound Messenger probe launched by NASA back on 3rd August, 2004. Astrophysics comes across some much cooler than most other fields, I guess the pressure of getting every last little detail perfect must be a major stressor. Not to mention having to wait 7 years for your data to be available.

Also, very cool talk on the Evidence for Ocean on Titan, by Prof. Francis Nimmo of UCSC. Have yet to watch through the full talk, but the first 10mins is very interesting. Although, I can't help but compare him to Prof. Ian Duncan (Community) in my head. I think it's the voice, am I the only one?

The more I work in one area of physics the more I want to learn in other areas, the fifth law of student life, or the Grass Is Always Greener theory as it's sometimes known.

Came home at about 6:30pm and literally collapsed onto bed, dug iPad out of bag and read tweets without moving more than my finger to scroll for about 35 minutes. So bloody tired. Got up then when Kev came in from work.. and watched the two Harold & Kumar movies back to back. I do not know why. But that was the best end to a President's Day I've ever noticed I lived through. Watching George W. Jr get wasted, what President's Day was no doubt made for.

Then I noticed KT Tunstall outside signing autographs, so I took a blury picture of the top of her head and waved to (her) fans.
Did this last part while speaking to Odette on the phone, and now it is time for bed.

^ All of the above was typed over a large number of days, I can only imagine how all over the place it is and how many things I left in I meant to take out not to mention things I've forgotten to mention. Editing this mess is far worse than any report editing I've ever had to do. Will continue to write up for the days since Monday, but I thought while I have this much done I may aswell update. Comment to tell me how little you care to hear the silly details of my life :P

Monday 14 February 2011

The big V day

("That sounds like vagina day")

Forget you?

Never, I was just resting my eyes for a moment and suddenly it wasn't the right day anymore, or even really the right week, but I'd never Forget.

Happy Valentine's Day one and all, enjoy it as you should any other day, just try and fit one extra hug in there somewhere, don't forget we're all the same under the silly attitudes and everyone deserves a hug at least sometimes.

Lab work last week resulted in lots of more round about’s thinking over how we align our optics and which methods of checking alignment work for me best. It's good in some ways to be driven round and round with equipment and setup because it teaches you the hard way how to do something right so you can (hopefully) get it the first time around next time. Must remember to write out all the little ideas and processes used to get the experiments rolling smooth, even just so I don't forget them. This is what held us up, the non uniformity of the laser ablation crater.

When Odette saw the image she instantly began singing Poor Leno by Röyksopp, crazy concentric ring laser ablation eyed target-for-a-face face monster. It's alive, ALIVE.
(YOU WANT TO WATCH AN EPIC MOVIE, WATCH Young Frankenstein. Watched it again recently, well most of it, such an amazingly funny movie. Great love for Mr. Wilder.)

Here is an ablation eye (a.k.a. crater) up-close:

Bloody Frenchy froggies singing some drunken songs on the street outside, Sin blasting away into the night its bass-y tunes, drunken smokers releasing their vile smelling foul-ity upwards such that I can't open my doors to let in the night's cool air (not to mention their noisy drunken blabbering but I have headphones to help block that out).

Also, I recently dug my old Kodak Advantix camera out of a box, so my camera collection is looking a little something like this:

Minus the two cameras I am using at the moment (Olympus SP-560UZ & Nikon S8000) and the Sony Handycam which I use as a webcam/Skype mic as I lack many occasions to film things really.
I do love my camera collection, and want to get them all running properly, need to test most of them to see if age has had its way with them yet or if they are still functioning as new.

For now it is bed time though, so thoughts shall be of restful things before the week wakes me to begin (an end of) the experiments which have been plaguing me since Christmas. Until tomorrow?

Wednesday 9 February 2011


I feel like death, got a hard case of man flu, you know how it goes, be dead in an hour, can only see out of my ear. Makes for a fun me I’m sure, and of all days to really feel taken down on it’s the middle of the week, I’ve a million and one things to do and I’m heading to see my mam for the first time since early November. Good times, great timing as always.

Not getting anywhere with the stupid experiment, just one thing after the other. But nobody cares to hear more about that. Least of all me.

Looking forward to seeing my mother et al. up the side of the mountain, want the weather to be good & get a nice trip up for a weekend. Feck it, I really want some time away from it all. Can’t wait for this bloody transfer to be over and done with so I can get it out of my head and on with life. Have to get this stuff done, bloody annoying stuff. Stupid experiment.

Hope the weekend will be a good one, Josh’s 21st birthday, as good an excuse as any to relax. Anyway, I’ve to get to Ballymun to get my lift and I’m going to go grab some lunch first with Odette. Until we meet again!

Tuesday 8 February 2011


Missed two- day altogether, didn't even think about it.
Ahwell, sleep time now. Will make up for? Never. Zz.

Monday 7 February 2011


Forgot to fledge last night, and I've a group meeting to prepare for now, so this will be brief.

Spent the day at home again, hardly slept during the night, just up looking at old pictures and such. Over Christmas I had turned my room over looking for this and that. Add to this some sibling invasion to replace my desk with theirs and use my wardrobe as their second and you've got an idea of what work needed doing. Meant I came across a lot of stuff I had hurried way back in 5th year of second level though which was cool. Should have taken pictures of some of the stuff, like my old MicroMachines and suchlike.

Anyway mucked about with that stuff in my room and somehow managed to forget to sleep until 4am or so and then when I got up continued and didn't eat or drink a thing until dinner then. Memories try to kill you I guess. After dinner I tried to clean everything away neat and tidy and then came back to town, watched a bit of a movie with Kevin, talked to Odette on the phone, fed Nuvola and hit the hay. Now opts today and I've to prep for a group meeting in under 2 hours, argh. Goodbye.

Saturday 5 February 2011

Family and friends

Although these are one in the same, I try to keep my family in my head as friends and my friends in head as family. But yes, today I got to see all of my siblings in one day, which hasn't happened in a Long time, and what is seldom is wonderful they say, although it is possibly too seldom it is indeed wonderful. Watching The Kings Speech, saw it in the cinema but good to watch again, I do love that era in most every way, and the acting is simply wonderful. Well worth a watch, some great lines and great moments with the political greats of the world before one of the worst times in the planets history.

I enjoy the recent history of the world in that respect, to see how mankind can treat itself and each other in bother awful and wonderful ways, the unification of a nation or even half the world and then the borders people can make to separate themselves from their fellow man due to race, religion or creed. Anyway, those of us who care already know all this and those who don't know it probably don't care. But I do love mankind, sometimes.

Sad to hear that Waterstones is closing, it is a loss of some soul to hear that the need for books is shrinking, I know there is magic in written word I just hope the books they have in stock get a good home. I do hope one day to put some of my thoughts through pen to paper and be able to instruct others in anything I may know that others may not. Not in any philosophical sense, because my views of the world are surely insane and of no help to anyone. But maybe my work in physics and electronics, or anything I have learned, like about ants and other insects. I do know some amount of pointless information on topics I was once thought were important enough to memorise.

But on with the evening and off with the blog, I do mean to put photographs in these but keep forgetting to even take them. Well, I hope your weekend is good!

Friday 4 February 2011

Times like these

I'm sure if I held off to write a blog post this evening it would have alot more in it.
But I also know that I will probably forget again if I don't just do it now. Reaching a good stage in this experiment, although the spectra make very little sense to me I have recorded 250 of them, so whatever it is that's happening I should at least have enough data to make a good guess, maybe write a paper with Gearoid about it? Or so James suggested, fingers crossed we can get something interesting out of all this work anyway.

Other than that, well, I'm feeling massively tired. But looking forward to meeting Catherine for Wagamama and then meeting Celia et al. for dinner at 8:30pm, then drinks after. Wont be hitting the double vodka martini wagon this time though. Although I don't think the walk home would take me quite so long this time around, you never know. And I can't afford to be buying new glasses, gloves and keys every few months really haha.

Family can ignore the above as rambling about nothing.
Also, anyone who reads this, comment, tell me something, anything. I know Someone is reading the blog directly, US, Italian and Irish IPs have been logged, so chances are at least one of them is something other than a spider.

But yes, life. Good stuff eh? Tomorrow is my brothers 15th birthday... 1996 to now, yeah, 15th. I remember being 15, that was an awful year. Hope he weathers it better than I did, fewer scars and mistakes (I wont be writing this on his birthday card mindyou, lets not be downers). I can hardly believe what age I am, who allows a Thing like me be deemed anything other than a child ever. Well, someone else’s mistake that was, giving me a vote and money, what fools. Haha, time to do some work, the chamber has returned to atmo. so it's time to switch the polished target for the normal one and get on with ion measurements, yeahboi, Gotta Take The Power Back.

Thursday 3 February 2011


Well it's a kick in the teeth to find out you're a day behind yourself,
this week needs to just slow down there altogether. Need to get some things done now, so stop all this fast moving. Ain't fair to just pass my by like that, think you owe me an extra day as an apology.
Well now, seems I left this blog post unfinished (practically unstarted says you) yesterday. How silly of me..
Worked on the transfer all morning, worked in the lab all afternoon, met Odette at 6pm, had dinner in Taco Taco, went back to the apt for a little while, then went to Hard Rock Café in Temple Bar to meet her archaeology friends at the society night out. Stayed there until closing drinking cocktails and chatting about archaeology postgrad work, how their PhD funding is awarded, teaching undergrads, PHD comics, how one of the girls grandmother nearly killed Einstein in a car while he was crossing the road talking intently about physics to her grandfather who was his work colleague.. and many other topics. Then went back to the apt and continued drinking a little and chatting to Kev. Now it is Friday morning and I want to go back to bed.
But good times had by all I believe.

Now to kick Friday's ass.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Very litte

Well today passed without much hoopla,
so lets not make a fuss.
Tomorrow will be a better day.
Not that today wasn't good, but I'm tired now and alot of the things I did today I can't talk about because they are either secret or deathly dull physics stuff.

So anyway, bed time now, more interesting tomorrow I'm sure.
Just you wait and see.

Tuesday 1 February 2011


I remembered, it's still today. Hah!
Just a quick fludge before bed, tomorrow is liable to go either of two ways;
working late in lab getting exp. to a good state before the sun explodes or time ends
meeting Odette after a normal working day in the lab.
Just in case I have enough pasta made to do either lunch or dinner, will decide which tomorrow and substitute something else for lunch if late working is required. For some reason I kinda like working in the lab until all hours.. Sometimes, sortof.

This is what a plasma looks like expanding into a vacuum, a Nd:YAG laser pulse strikes the target at time = 0 and within a few micro seconds it's all over but for the shouting. We use a spectrometer, ion probes and sometimes fast gated visible imaging to diagnose and analyse the plasma. This one is of silver, expanding for an elliptical spot about 4 mm x 3 mm with a fluence of around 1.4 Jcm-2.
So yeah, science eh?

I also made banana bread when I got home, and took out the bins, sorted some recycling and did the dishes. I might be some sort of superhero and nobody has informed me? (or I just need to find a new game/TV show that I enjoy, also, I am starting to hate TV, stupid box of death).
Wow, this is getting weird. Bed time.

Monday 31 January 2011

How To Cook Forty Humans

Yesterday I ate a very large amount, as did the near 20 people in the apt. Oh so much food, delicious dinner & dessert (and guacamole). I was tired when I got back to the apt at 2pm, so after a few beers and a mountain of food the tiredness forced me into a food coma.

Oh the desserts, they were epic in both amount and flavour. Much of the early conversation yesterday, esp. between Nash, Sean, Kev & myself was about how The Simpsons raised our generation (which Rory has always held to be very true) and how awful it will be when in 20 years time we are quoting the classic, amazing lines to our kids and it will fall on deaf ears, or as Kev said they will simply say "TLDR" in response. That will be a sad thing to see.

Overall dinner went very well, Kev cooked a serious amount of food and good on him for it, very impressive stuff. I know I won’t need to eat for the next week anyway. Speaking of this week, I know it is going to fly by. Wish I could get to see Odette more, miss her already. Want to just up and leave college this minute and go walk to Bray from town, or to Howth. Would love to go to Wexford soon, spending a month down there would be a very welcome change of pace.

Now to do some work, everything is setup so I can't delay any longer.

Sunday 30 January 2011

One more

I can't help missing a few, does two fludges today make up for it? Probably not,
but I have been awake for around 25mins only so far, so for me it still is sortof yesterday..I mean today >.>

Macs are a pain in the ass, too "user friendly", I want my OS hacked to crap and capable of anything. Really need to start using Linux full time and forget Windows too, just ends up being more hassle than help. This bleedin' post has taken me nearly two hours because Odette keeps getting me to read things or help her with thing. So Demanding! Had a lovely walk yesterday though, out for nearly 3 hours to Killiney beach, along it, and back.

Was a bit cold with your face into the breeze but was a very nice day for a walk otherwise. Would love more time to go for long walks and undertake the half a million projects I plan. But that's life eh? This weeks plan is to try and see family, haven't seen my mother since November if you'd believe that, what a shit son I can be eh? Anyway, here are some pictures of the view yesterday, looks a little like something from Half Life 2 I think, was out that way sometime last year and there was a thick fog out to sea, really made it look HL2-esque.

Sunset on Dalkey island, lovely pinky colour, lasted about 15 minutes and then was gone.