Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The storm was getting increasingly violent as we drove, and at one point, we were like, "Wow, I think that is a tornado!" and it was heading straight for us. We had to stop driving, because the car was starting to get lifted off the road a bit. We pulled over and waited and watched. Mim and I LOVE storms. When we lived in Oklahoma we got them all the time and the siren would be wailing and we would still be out on our front porch going "Oooooooooooh!" until the very very last minute, then make a mad dash for the bathroom, which was the only room in the house with no windows.
Needless to say, we were quite aware of the danger we were in, but we were also really excited about getting to see a storm like this up close! As we were pulled over we saw a huge funnel approaching us from the left. There was a semi parked on the other side of the interstate, and when it hit the semi it TIPPED IT OVER. Kaboom. So we looked at each other, and we were like, "We are so going to die! But what an awesome way to go!" because we're idiots. The funnel kept coming toward us, and finally encased us in our car. You would not believe the noise. It was deafening, and there was absolutely no visibility inside the funnel; it was pitch black. We, of course, were still having a blast...the car was rocking back and forth and almost tipped, but we had pulled down a little deeper into the ditch at the side of the road, so we were a bit more sheltered than the semi had been.
Then, the eye. The eye was the complete opposite of the rest of the funnel. You wouldn't believe how noisy it was out there, but you also wouldn't believe the dead silence in the eye of the storm. It was still pretty dark, but there was the most amazing lightning. Inside the funnel, the lightning looked neon green, and was in these pulsing balls...it's so hard to describe, but it was the coolest thing I have ever seen ever.
The rest of the funnel came and went, and we just sat there, totally amazed by what had just happened to us. We couldn't believe we were even alive. We decided we should probably go home and Kwiddens would have to stay at camp another day.
Conclusion: we have guardian angels. Or something. Because DUDE, it tipped over a semi, and not us. We win!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Me: That is so gross.
Kwiddens: It was in an ad! In National Geographic!
Me: I would expect more from them.
Kwiddens: For real.
*Definition of "newb" to follow
Friday, August 20, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
When I start the instrument up in the morning I do what's called tuning. I put a special solution into the machine and I check the counts per second (cps) of two masses, and if they are above 500, I am good to go and I go ahead and get to work.
Usually if the cps is too low, it means something's dirty, so as it was getting lower and lower last week, every day I would try cleaning a new part or replacing new tubing. But every day the counts just kept going down...frustrating. Finally they were down around 200 (no good!) so I decided to dig a little deeper and clean the lenses. I did, and when I reinstalled them, the counts had dropped even lower-down to 50! So, yeah. Not working. For one thing, it turned out that I had put the lenses back together wrong, even after I took a picture of how they were oriented so I would make sure I got it right:
At least I figured out why the lenses weren't working...thank goodness for instruction manuals!
Nerdy aside: The reason these lenses are cool is that they aren't glass or crystal lenses like you normally think of lenses. They're made of metal and they focus magnetically. COOL.
So last Monday morning I called Agilent and told them what was going on, and they treated me like a moron as usual, but the technician suspected that the cones were bad, so I should replace them...but I had pulled them out earlier and examined them and they looked totally fine to me, so I insisted that that wasn't the problem. We argued a bit and in the end we decided that they should send a technician out to take a look. They said they would put in my request and have the local office call me to set up an appointment. So I waited. And waited.
Now, it's frustrating because Milestone, the company that services our DMA, always calls me back within an hour, and so they totally spoil me, and then when I have to wait ALL DAY for someone to call me back it makes me a bit grumpy. I called them again and asked to make sure the service request went through, and they were rude to me and said that they would call me...so I kept waiting.
Finally in the morning, when my boss got in, I asked him if he could use a little of his managerial influence to get them to speed the process up a bit. He decided to skip the main office and just e-mail Terry, the dude who usually comes to fix the MS, and who is also very good about checking his e-mail often. But once he e-mailed him...we waited.
Finally, at about 3:00, he e-mailed back to say...
...he was in JAPAN. And he must have been insane, because he was checking his e-mail at 5 a.m.
So I had to keep waiting for the Agilent local office to call me. I have a sneaking suspicion that Terry got ahold of them and made them call me, because I got their call about half an hour after we got that e-mail.
At this point, Dennis (nice guy) called me and we talked all about all the things the isntrument was doing, and he kept saying that the cones were most likely the culprit, so of course I was all like, "I don't think so, because I looked at them and they totally looked fine". But he insisted on sending me new cones instead of coming out to take a look himself, and what do you know, replacing the cones fixed the problem, and so here are my pretty shiny new ones:
And I feel like an idiot because apparently I don't know how to tell if the cones go bad, and that was the problem all along. Suck.
The people over at Agilent are probably like, "This girl is sooooo dumb!", and that's why they talk to me like I'm an idiot when I call them.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
"If you were not married how do you think your life would differ from how it is now?"
It made me start thinking about my life's path...
I'm happy where I am. Interestingly enough, though, if several years ago, like at the beginning of college, I had been able to see into the future, to see what my life is now, I don't think I would have thought it was going in the right direction, that is, the direction that would make me happiest.
My freshman year one of my chemistry professors had us all write down some goals we had for his class, the year, college, and life in general. I was only half joking when I said, "Graduate from BYU without getting married!" For those of you that aren't in the know, BYU's students tend to get married a lot more than students at other campuses. My thoughts? They really, really want to move past making out, and they're not allowed to unless they're married (not only will they get kicked out of BYU, but they'll go to hell as well). Just a theory.* Anyway, having observed nothing but bad marriages my whole life, I didn't want any part of it. Why would I want to bind myself to someone, just to have them ruin my life? And why would I want to marry someone just to make babies? I just didn't want it. So I dated, because dating's fun, and let's face it, so is making out.
I never thought I would meet someone like Scott. I never even thought someone like Scott could exist. The dating pool at BYU seemed severely limited. I found guys who were good people but had different ideas and values than I did, but nobody was ever good enough. Everyone was too...vanilla. I tried dating a lot of people, but it just didn't stick. It didn't help that guys generally don't like to date girls who are smarter than they are, so a lot of the guys who I would have liked to date weren't even remotely interested in me if they knew that I was a chemistry major.
So marriage wasn't even in my plans.
Academically, I was never quite sure where I would go. My plan was basically to get my degree, and sometime my senior year decide whether I wanted to go to grad school, medical school, or just find a job. Two things basically made this decision for me: figuring out I was bipolar and falling in love with Scott. Figuring out I was bipolar, and FINALLY understanding why I was so sick all the time, made me realize that further schooling just wasn't wise unless it were the only thing I were doing. It wouldn't have been the only thing, either, because I wanted to be with Scott, and I didn't want to half-ass my marriage. I wanted to be there 100%, and I knew that if I continued school, things would just get too busy for us to be working on our marriage constantly, like we are now. It looks like that turned out pretty well, don't you think?
So...back to the original question. If I weren't married, I probably wouldn't have met anyone that I could have married, so I would have continued school. If I had chosen grad school, I probably would have tried to stay at BYU, since I absolutely adored the chemistry department there. I loved the classes, the professors, my jobs, just everything about that building made me feel more like myself than any other place I had been before. If I had stayed there, I would have had to keep going to church to stay enrolled...I'm honestly not sure how that would have gone. For all I know I might have just decided it wasn't worth it and transferred to another university. In that case, it would probably have been a college somewhere in the midwest, since that still felt like home at the time.
If I had chosen medical school, I have absolutely no idea where I would have gone or what I would have specialized in, but I would still be there today, and so I would probably be too busy to do much of anything else.
Either way, I would still be in school.
My life is now something I never thought it would be, but let me tell you, this marriage thing is awesome.
As long as you have the right person.
Which I do.
*Just FYI, I have nothing but respect for the students at BYU who actually follow the Honor Code. I certainly didn't.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Arshad called me almost immediately (Milestone, you're building up major brownie points here) and gave me a shortcut so I could get some samples run (a temporary fix), and then he was going to e-mail me instructions to clean the cuvette.
So the temporary fix was so easy...as soon as I had the service password. I got in, unchecked a box, and went on my merry way. He had me run five samples of dilute acid and then five blanks, and at that point we would see if the cuvette were clean or not. I was done with everything else at this point, so I just set the instrument to run these ten samples over the weekend.
I came back in on Monday (August 2) and the voltage was back to where it should have been, so I re-calibrated and started running some samples. I got several done before it decided not to read any more (but at least it was still running at this point). So when I came in Tuesday morning, I started taking it apart to clean the cuvette. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. I had to call Arshad again to try to figure out why I couldn't get the cuvette out to clean it, and doing things like this over the phone is always hard, and apparently it's harder if you have the new model of the instrument and he's trying to give instructions for the old instrument. But, we got it all sorted, and I got the whole thing put back together again.
Next I loaded up standard samples and began a calibration...and it started being a jerk again. After lots of e-mails back and forth between me and two different people at Milestone, we came to the conclusion that I needed a new catalyst tube...so I ordered one. And waited. When I ordered one, they had said it would be here by Monday (August 9) at the latest, but then, after they had already shipped it, they sent me tracking information that said I wouldn't get it until Tuesday. Jerks.
I did get it Tuesday, but not until 11:00, so I had a lot to do in a few short hours. When I install a new catalyst, I need to run a reconditioning procedure (80 minutes) and a stability test (40 minutes, but this time it took HOURS because it wouldn't work the way it was supposed to...) and a calibration (64 minutes). Needless to say, after I had been here 9 hours I said "Screw this!" and went home, letting the calibration finish overnight.
I got here this morning and ran a QC and it was perfect (I can hear the heavenly choir singing) and so I am so happy today I can't even tell you. Too bad my other instrument is now broken. I'll tell you that story another day.
Now here's the super fun part: This time, it's actually my fault. I very rarely make any mistakes at work, so when I do I'm really hard on myself. This, however, isn't me just being hard on myself. This is me costing the company like $700 for new parts. I ran a sample of fish oil, and I put too much in there, and I should have known better. When it combusted, it not only covered the cuvette with nast, it also fractured the end cap on the catalyst. I should have put less in there. I'm furious with myself.
Monday, August 9, 2010
This is what I got:
Do you see any flowers there? Yeah, me neither. Just weeds.
So Scott and I weeded the corner and decided to try something else.
We went to Home Depot and bougth several potted plants that were suited for our climate:
And then we came home and planted them. They looked pretty good!
We watered them and said nice things to them and took very good care of them, but apparently I suck at growing plants because this is what we have now:
At least one kind of plant is still alive...
Saturday, August 7, 2010
And, some more!
- 10:15 am Saturday: My reaction tipped over :(! Nooooo...
- I rotovaped (is that a word?)
- I added bromine to phenol in DMSO. What a smelly mess. I am sick of all of it. Solid into NMR tube (maybe it worked)...nope.
- Mixture #6 smells like dead cats
- I QUIT the column. I have a better idea!
- Solid unknown is water soluble! Yay! It's also basic to pH paper...ooh.
- Smells nice.
- Smells terrible.
- WOW. This is harder than it looks, let me tell you.
- One last conclusion: Vigreux columns are expensive. Don't break one.
- Refraction=really cool
- Title: Nasty Dynamics Lab
- Eight a.m....yuck.
- File names: "StrongBadIsAwesome", StrongSad", "AnnaSilly", "ErikTheWeird", "LifeIsSilly", "SweaterSong", TenOnEverything", "KirkTheJerk"
- Starting some crap over again
- Refocused MUCH BETTER NOT GARBAGE
Friday, August 6, 2010
- My percent yield is going to be dismal. A few crystals are forming, but for the most part it isn't working out so well. Nothing came out when I hirsched it! :( Starting over...
- The reaction mixture is a nice color this time.
- I removed the aqueous layer. For some reason this layer was on the bottom...weird.
- I keep washing and washing and washing with methylene chloride...
- I have product! Plenty of product!
- I know my product was pretty darn pure because my melting point was great!
- It looked white. Really white.
- Meso-stilbene dibromide! :)
- Lo and behold, it decomposed!
- It looked pure. No weird colors, etc. The end!
- 0.023 g product. DISMAL.
- (A messed up reaction mechanism) This is what I get for writing in pen...The REAL one: (the right reaction mechanism) I win!
- My alternate procedure yielded brown junk. I suspect failure...
- I made diphenylacetylene! Here's how I know:...It tastes like diphenylacetylene (just kidding!)
- I could have recrystallized it, but I am lazy.
I'll post more later!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I'm a little bit stuck at the moment, but I've made myself a goal: at least 20 posts a month.
Stupid writer's block.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Anyway, so after church was over everyone met up at Kwiddens's house for a luncheon, and I got some pictures. Nyah was being a little brat though and kept looking away and rolling over and I only got two good shots of her in her blessing gown, so here's one:
The dress was Nyah's grandma's (on Isaac's side), so it was really old and fragile, so once pictures were taken the dress went back into storage for safe keeping, and Nyah got to hang out in her onesie for the rest of the party. Mim was holding her and it was a perfect photo opportunity, but, once again, Nyah was being fussy and wouldn't look at the camera, and that was taking Mim's attention away from the camera, so this is all I got:
Even fussy, she's still cute.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
I don't think so. Just...no.
2. Describe the worst physical fight you've ever been in.
When Kwiddens and I lived in Idaho (I think) she pushed me down and walked all over me and gave me a black eye and a bloody nose. I don't think I fought back though.
3. Name one song that if you never heard it ever again, you'd be thrilled.
That "According To You" song is so obnoxious and repetitive I wish they would just stop playing it a million times a day.
4. Describe the "drunkest" situation you've ever been.
Ok, this one is interesting...one time in high school my friend had a birthday, so we all went to this restaurant and had dinner, and I ordered drinks but specified that I was underage so DON'T ADD ALCOHOL PLEASE and what do you know, they actually did put alcohol in it (by accident, I assume)(I hope), and I was so sleepy I just went home and slept very soundly all night. Then I woke up and had to go to church in the morning and OH BOY did I have a headache.
5. What's your biggest regret?
I have so many that it would make me sad and angry at myself to try to single one out so I'm just not going to think about it. For now. Because I'll probably obsess over it sometime soon.