Monday, May 30, 2005
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
1. I think that banana is one of the funniest words
2. I love sleeping with the sheets all tucked in
3. I like serving other people
4. I have worn glasses since I was 4
5. I am happiest when I am solving problems
6. I loved learning to weld in high school and have wanted to do it for a living ever since
7. I was moderately overweight until grade 9 when I got pneumonia and lost 40lbs
8. I think Clint Eastwood may be one of the best actor/director ever
9. I love to cook, and bake. I make a mean chocolate chip cookie
10. I love going to Las Vegas, it’s the best travel deal going
11. I am learning to embrace and accept my geekiness
12. I love my wife’s smile, and she seems to have given it to my son
13. I enjoy my job because it offers new challenges everyday
14. I liked distance running in high school, but forgot that fact for 10 years
15. I am super anal-retentive about some things, which makes me good at analytical chemistry
16. I once earned enough money to buy a rib dinner by busking at the Fringe
17. I am not competitive and I hate most team sports
18. I love playing football, but only with a few people
19. My first car was a brown 1975 Plymouth Valient
20. I have a scar on my forehead from when I ran into a wall as a child
21. I love chopping wood, only one log has ever stood its ground with me
22. I hate eucalyptus
23. I make great pizza, and I should open a pizzaria
24. I like climbing trees, and am comfortable at most heights
25. I am a beer snob, the more hops the better
26. I am a whisky snob (duh!) I love single malt scotch
27. I have traveled through Germany, and visited the castle from the Sound of Music
28. I play the violin and the guitar
29. I think that Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world
30. I have the best behaved cat in the world
31. I don’t like driving, and will walk anywhere if I can
32. I love going to the firing range, and I am a good shot
33. I drink tea for my blood pressure, but coffee is a secret pleasure
34. I am also a coffee snob
35. I hate seeing the Times New Roman font in a Power Point presentation
36. I think RSS may be the best advance the internet has produced thusfar
37. I didn’t get the chickenpox until I was 17, they appeared when I was at a Rolling Stones voodoo lounge concert
38. I love science for the sake of science. It appeals to my curiosity
39. I love to explore, and discovering new places
40. I smoked for a year in high school
41. I once wire wrapped a pulse generator from scratch, it worked on the first try
42. I was 21 the first time I rode a horse. I loved it.
43. I have a Ph.D. in chemistry
44. I became a follower of Jesus when I was 22
45. I am an avid scuba diver
46. I think that hot tubbing in the snow is the best feeling in the world
47. I think there is no greater feeling than a close shave
48. The best thing about my honeymoon was an ice walk in Maligne Canyon
49. I love the outdoors and camping
50. I can build a fire with no paper and one match
51. There is nothing in life as useful as a sharp knife
52. One of my favorite dishes is steak and kidney pie
53. I think haggis is a delicacy
54. I’ve learned that having a desk job makes you crave manual labor
55. I love mathematics, but didn’t really understand it until my sophomore year in college
56. I have all 32 teeth and have never had a cavity
57. I have freed myself from a broken elevator twice
58. I hate elevators
59. I like gambling, it’s a mathematical challenge
60. I think there is no better start to the day than a bowl of porridge
61. One day I want to visit China
62. I miss In-N-Out more than anything else in California
63. I am still amazed by how quickly Bruce Lee can move
64. I think sharks are fascinating and beautiful creatures, but I still love the movie Jaws.
65. I am a scientist and I believe in creation
66. I think there is nothing like a light salad before dinner
67. I can’t wait to take my wife on a cruise
68. I have great respect for troops who stand up for freedom
69. I used to have an earring
70. I hate my hair, I can’t do anything with it
71. My father taught me that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Wiser words have never been spoken
72. I like spaghetti westerns
73. I run in an Edmonton Eskimoes cap that I won when I was on the Big Breakfast (a local TV morning show)
74. I drink more milk than anyone else I know
75. I would have never made it through grad school without late nights at Carl’s Jr, and early mornings at IHOP
76. I have expensive tastes, but a shoestring budget
77. I think C. S. Lewis is an amazing writer
78. I was a groom before I was ever a groomsman
79. I have never been someone’s best man
80. I never dated anyone seriously apart from my wife
81. The only jewelry I wear is my wedding band
82. I think that spongebob is hysterically funny
83. I love Chicago deep dish pizza
84. I never wear pyjamas
85. I am a boxers man
86. I have never been admitted to a hospital
87. I am not really allergic to anything
88. One day I want a wood burning, brick oven
89. I am Canadian, but I don’t like hockey
90. I have never had to take out a student loan for my schooling
91. My wife and I lived for 2 years in an apartment barely larger than the room I am sitting in now
92. My pet peeve is people who still have the white headphones on their iPod
93. I am a morning person
94. I have been electrocuted more times than I can count
95. I have a weakness for ice cream
96. I can count on one hand the number of foods that I don’t like
97. I used to build and launch model rockets
98. I think that a kitchen is the most essential room in a house
99. I love Christmas more than any other time of year
100. I needed help from my wife to compile this list
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Monday, May 23, 2005
Once the magnet is moved in and everything is in place, the magnet will be energized. That probably won't happen for a few weeks yet. It's a superconducting magnet, which means that there is a large coil of superconducting wire in the middle, which is cooled with liquid helium. Once everything is cold enough to sustain superconductivity, the coil of wire is slowly run up to higher and higher current with an external power source. Once the desired field has been reached (in this case 21.1 Tesla, giving a proton resonance frequency of 900 MHz) the switch is closed and the current remains in the coil indefinitely. Because there is no resistance in the wire (superconducting), there is no loss of current once the external source is removed. Well in reality there is a little loss, but it is small enough that the magnet will not need to be recharged for many years. In the case of this magnet a controlled quench is required to settle the coil into place, so this process will have to be carried out at least twice (sometimes the magnet will quench a few times as it is being brought to field). A quench is when there is a sudden loss in superconductivity of the wire. All of a sudden the wire becomes non-superconductive, and the current in the wire generates a huge amount of heat as it runs out of the wire. This causes all of the liquid helium that cools the magnet to boil suddenly and fire out of the magnet as its volume changes. This results in a huge bang and giant plume of helium. In the case of this magnet there is so much helium that it could force all of the oxygen out of the room and suffocate all of its inhabitants, so a large duct is required to get the helium out of the building. All of this makes for a really exciting installation. I hope to be around for as much of it as I can, as I always learn a lot from the folks that build and install these suckers.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
We had a tasty dinner, got some hot dogs and BBQ'd up some of those and some kielbasa. Using the BBQ saved us from heating up the house any more than neccessary. It was very good and I got to enjoy a nice Flying Dog pale ale. This has become one of my favorite local beers. It was also bath night for Elijah, so we took care of that too. He was actually somewhat happy, and we had some fun splashing around for a change. Normally he just screams the whole time. It was a nice change.
Friday, May 20, 2005
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Elijah is turning into quite the character. He's smiling a lot now and starting to try his hand at laughter. If only he could appreciate his mother's wit. I'm starting to really appreciate the boy he's becoming.
Anyway, these are the things that I think about while I run. Today I went out during the late afternoon and took my 9 mile route. It was quite hot out, so I took a water bottle and I was glad to have it. But it clouded over a little bit and cooled off as the afternoon waned so I felt comfortable going the longer distance. I ended up running for a little over 80 minutes, a good pace for that length I think. That route takes me through Washington Park which I can't say enough good things about. I am very glad that Denver has dedicated the resources to keeping open spaces like that maintained. The whole family was there last night for a walk, and we all enjoyed the time together. The run today was my first since Saturday actually. I've been opting for long family walks in lieu of easy run days.
This morning I went to Peet's to get writing done on my paper. I've been putting it off for too long and I needed a distraction free (read "no internet") environment. I was there the entire morning and I ended up getting an entire first draft finished up. I still have to make the figures, but now that I know what I want to refer to it should be easier to do that. So I was very happy to get that going. I need to get papers out and ready to go so that I can list them on my CV come job hunt season, and I have been dragging my feet on this one for a while. It feels great to get it started. Tomorrow it's back to work to finish up the workup on the reaction I started yesterday. Should be a productive day!
13.02 GB (It's a laptop, I have to conserve)
The last album I bought on iTMS (I can't remember when I last bought a CD)
Core by Stone Temple Pilots
Song playing right now
Time Warp -- Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack (on Melissa's computer)
Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me
Man Comes Around -- Johnny Cash
Hella Good -- No Doubt (it's a guilty pleasure)
Are you gonna be my girl -- Jet
Famous One -- Sonic Flood
Pyramid Song -- Radiohead
Five songs I’m happy I rediscovered while doing this
Misrilou -- Dick Dale
Here comes the rain again -- Eurythmics
Would -- Alice in Chains
Last Chance -- Jet
Visions of Johanna -- Bob Dylan
Five people to whom I’m passing the baton
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
There was a product expo today at work, which for a change actually had some interesting items. Because I work in a predominately health science related building, most of the items end up being for protein expression/purification etc. But today there were some great balances and pH meters. The technology has really come a long way since I was a wee undergrad. I had a nice chat with the sales people and enjoyed the free doughnuts. It really got me fired up for starting my own lab eventually. Ahhh, I can dream I guess.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Friday, May 13, 2005
I picked up my new Transitions glasses as well and as we had walked to the mall I got to see how they might work. Apparently it takes a couple of days for them to get broken in, but I noticed the change in tint as soon as I went outside. As I usually do not wear sunglasses (I can never be bothered to take them with me, and when I tried clip ons they only worked until my glasses got bent by a basketball) I found the tint to be plenty dark enough for me, and the change was quite rapid. As I wear my glasses all the time I can tell that this is going to be much better for all the time I spend outside. When we got back home and went inside I found that the transition back to clear was slower than the outdoor change, but it did not take longer than 10 minutes to go all the way back to clear, and it did not take more than a minute or so to return to a fairly light tint. When the glasses have returned to their indoor state, they are clearer than my previous lenses, whose UV coating was actually slightly yellow. It's a nice change. The only disadvantage I can see is that in the car the lack of UV light penetrating the windows does not trigger too much of a transition, although having not tried them in the car yet, what little tint does occur may end up being enough for me. Once again, after not having sunglasses for 4 or 5 years now anything is a big improvement. As for my running, usually I do not wear glasses at all when I go out, so perhaps a cheap pair of sunglasses will help for that. Mind you the frame on these is quite light and resilient, and is meant for activity, so I may just give them a shot on my run to see how they handle. Anyway, those are my initial reactions, we'll see how things go as they get broken in.
Tomorrow will hopefully be nice enough for me to take my long run, so I'm looking forward to that. I'll probably head out in the morning after a nice breakfast. I've been dying to use my new 12" non-stick All-Clad fry pan to cook pancakes for myself. I got this sucker through my American Express points, which offered Crate and Barrel gift cards in exchange for my points. It's a pretty good deal considering I've only had that card for a year and a half! That and everyone always comments on how cool the card looks (it's a clear card with a blue square in the middle). I'm a loyal American Express cardmember as they were the first company to take a chance on our unproved credit when we first moved here to the States. You never realize how important a credit history is until you don't have one!
Thursday, May 12, 2005
I drove Melissa and Elijah home and decided that since it was overcast and the perfect temperature I couldn't pass up the opportunity to go for a run. I felt great after the first 2.5 miles, so I decided to go on my 7 mile circuit. I ended up finishing the 7 miles in 1 hour, and had a great time. Unfortunately, I came home to a baby who was not feeling too well and had spit up all over his mommy. He did have a little nap, but true to his daytime form, did not stay down longer than 20 minutes. Hopefully he'll sleep better tonight. We had some nice afternoon tea together though, the last of our Red Rose. That's one thing about living in the States, it's hard to get good supermarket breakfast tea. It seems that most "cheap" teas here are more geared towards the iced variety. Just an observation.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Well, I went to the eye doctor this morning and now I can't see a thing. They had to dialate my eyes, and fortunately it is overcast today, but I can't read anything close up. It's a real pain, and I can't get any computer work done until this stuff wears off. Now that I have my prescription I can start shopping around for glasses. We get a 30% discount at LensCrafters with our AAA membership, so I'll probably end up going there. I'm thinking about getting those Transitions lenses as I have never had much luck with sunglasses, and we have a fair amount of money to spend in our cafeteria plan. It would be nice to have one pair of glasses that serves well both indoors and outdoors.
I went on a really nice run last night after dinner. Just a 5 mile circuit, but it was very relaxing. On Saturday I ran by an older fellow (early 60s I'm guessing) and we exchanged greetings as we passed. It was nice to have a runner say hello like that, and I have resolved to say hello more often to the people I pass on the trail. Most runners seem to be pretty anti-social along the bike path, a lot are plugged into mp3 players and don't even look your way. I used to run with my iPod mini, but now when I go I leave the mini at home. It just is so much more rewarding and relaxing to have nothing but your thoughts and the wind to listen to on the road. It's easier to keep a steady pace as well, as with music you tend to run at the pace of the song that is playing. That can really wipe you out and possibly lead to you overextending yourself. Also, the bicyclists on the path tend to pass pretty close and at high speeds, I feel just a little safer being able to hear them coming. At any rate, more greetings are in order!
Tonight is pizza night! On the weekend I made dough and threw it in the freezer so that it is ready to go during the week. That way we can pull it out of the freezer in the morning and it's all ready to go by the time I get home. It seems that the long rise in the fridge and freezer also really improves the dough, resulting in a ridiculously thin and crispy crust. It's heaven on earth. I think that if this science thing does not work out I'll end up opening a pizza place or bakery or something. There's just no substitute for really well made food.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
Well, Melissa and Elijah are off at a party, so I took advantage of the time to go for a long run. It was weird though because the whole way I could see this huge thunderstorm, and I had to adjust my route a little to avoid it. I ended up starting up my 7 mile route, but as that was taking me right toward the thunderstorm I turned left at the 3.5 mile mark and headed south to Washington Park. Washington park is a huge park in the middle of Denver with two big lakes in the middle. You can actually fish in the lakes, but the best part in my mind is the crushed granite trail that runs around the perimeter. I ran on that about 3/4 of the way around the park, and was astounded by the number of dogs out. Then I remembered that today was the Furry Scurry, a fun run to support the Denver Dumb Friends League. I was sure glad I didn't drive because the traffic was terrible. By that time though the storm was starting to catch up with me so I turned back towards home. I stopped off at the grocery store on the way and picked up a Gatorade, and started to pick up the pace as it had just started to rain. I ended up getting only a little wet, and I thought I had made it home just in time, but it turned out that the storm just skirted by us, so it was sunny again within 15 minutes. Oh well. Ended up being out for an hour and a half and went about 9 and a half miles, a good pace for a long run. Hopefully next week the weather won't be so weird and I'll be able to go out longer. That's Denver for you!
Friday, May 06, 2005
Went to the dentist today for the first time in like 8 years. I've got great teeth, so they stood the test of time rather well. There was not too much cleaning, considering the time factor and my record of no cavities still stands. So I've got an appointment again in 6 months. No more putting it off! But since we couldn't use our cafeteria plan for any expensive dental work, the next step is to get new glasses. So it's off to the optometrist on Wednesday. In retrospect we should not have contributed so much to the cafeteria plan, but we thought the birth was going to cost us more than it did. Oh well, it's better to have too much and have to get glasses than it would have been to not have enough.
Tomorrow Melissa and Elijah are off to friends' for a B-Day party, so I'm going to try to get a long run in while they are gone. I'm looking forward to that. Running in the evening is great, but I usually feel like I shouldn't be out too long when I could be home spending time with Melissa and baby. Sunday is Melissa's first mother's day as well, so I'll have to see what I can put together for her then. Elijah bought her a present which she is going to love.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Well, today's task is to write a short conversion routine that will convert MATLAB (which I do not have) NMR data into nmrPipe format. It should be a fairly simple procedure as I have already dealt with most of the issues with other routines, and the file format for MATLAB files is available. It does involve byte swapping, however, which is a bit of a fiddly thing. Beware, if this kind of thing does not interest you you may want to save the next section for a time when you are having trouble sleeping.
In the computer world, everything you see is represented in the hardware by a small potential difference which is either on (1) or off (0). Since you can only represent two numbers by 1 or 0, you group these together in series to represent larger numbers. Usually 8 of these bits are grouped together to form one byte. For example, let's say you wanted to store the value 5 in memory. In this case you would turn on bits 1 and 3 of your byte, giving you 00000101 (i.e. 1 times 1, plus 0 times 2, plus 1 times 4, plus 0 times 8, etc.). A single byte can therefore only store numbers from 0 to 255, and is usually reserved for characters, of which there are less than 255. So if you wanted to store the phrase "Hi!", you would set an array of bytes in memory to 73,105,33, and that would store the phrase, or string. These bytes are usually not represented in binary, but in hexadecimal (base 16 represented by the numbers 0 through 9 and the letters a through f), so "Hi!" in hexadecimal would be 49 69 11. You can also represent numbers that are larger than 255 by grouping together bytes, two bytes can represent from 0 to 65535, or -32768 to 32767, and four bytes can represent 0 to 4,294,967,295 or -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647. The problem that you come across when you try to store multiple byte values is what order you store the bytes in. In other words do you represent the integer 14 using four bytes by 00 00 00 0d or by 0d 00 00 00. Some computers store their data using the first ordering (called Big Endian, and is used by pretty much everyone but x86 type chips) and others use the second ordering (called little endian and is used by all of the Intel crowd). If you stuck to one platform you would never notice any of these issues as each operating system is designed to read and write bytes in the same way. But if you were to switch systems, then the bytes would appear to be backwards on the opposite system. This is one of the reasons that you cannot run Windows on an Apple computer, or Mac OS on a PC without an emulator. The emulator must swap all of the bytes going through the system so that the processor can deal with it. I run into this problem when someone sends me a binary file that has been saved on one platform, and I need to read it into my program on my platform. In order to do this I need to swap the bytes for each multi-byte number that I read in from the file so that they are represented correctly on my computer. The way that you do this is a bit underhanded and tricky. First you read in the number of bytes that represent the number (you need to have this beforehand by knowing the file format). Then you trick the computer into thinking that your multi-byte number is actually an array of single byte characters. Then you swap the first and last array elements, and the middle array elements accordingly. When you are done, your multi-byte number has had its bytes swapped and now represents the correct value for the platform you are on. It's a somewhat time consuming procedure, so it's best to not have to do it at all, but it is unavoidable when you deal with files from multiple computers.
At any rate, this is one of the things that I have to make sure is done correctly when I write my conversion routine. When I am done, my program will be just a little more flexible than it was before. This is my fun for the day.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Well, I have been using OS X 10.4 now at work for a day or so, and I think Apple really did a good job with this release. My first impression is really just of Safari RSS, which has wooed me back from Firefox, and Spotlight which is an incredibly powerful search tool. Now I will be looking deeper into the guts of the system as I want to write a version of our processing software that will leverage the 64-bit capabilities of the G5. I have been thinking about doing this for a while, our old FORTRAN code just really isn't cutting it anymore. Getting a chance to learn the system in the process should push me over the edge on this project. If you are interested in all the new BSD advances in Tiger check out this Ars Technica review.
The weather here has finally improved, and I hope to go for a run tonight. I need to build up my blood supply again after yesterday. I think the running has been doing me some good health wise. My vitals yesterday were great, even with the stress of having to get poked. My blood pressure was at 133/88 which is low for me. I'm happy to see an improvement as I'd rather control that with exercise than have to take medication. Pulse was at 58bpm. Speaking of running, the pictures are up for the Cherry Creek Sneak. Unfortunately my bib number does not seem to turn up any results and we have not been able to find my picture. Melissa has found her picture 3 times though. Next year I need to wear something more identifiable.