Friday, December 14, 2012

Argonne, Day Three

Day Three: Coffee consumption increases exponentially

Or, as our sector manager Greg said, day three is when the pessimism starts to kick in. But seriously, all in all, I think our session is going pretty well. We've broken just about everything you can break in our experimental setup, but at least we're learning what not to do and are getting some pretty legit data (okay, maybe that was some of the pessimism right there). Here is a list of the things I've observed so far at the APS.

1) You don't actually need special training to ride the tricycles. However, I discovered that I am really, really bad at riding them. Luckily, I made this discovery at 9 PM at night when no one but my colleagues were around to see me unceremoniously plow into the wall of our sector. Practice makes perfect?

2) The food at the APS is kind of icky. The "401 Grill" is basically a temporary desk put at the edge of the kitchen in Building 401 and serves generic burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc. Also, we are on the direct opposite side of the APS from where the food is. However, the breakfast buffet at the Argonne Guest House is delicious. Sweet potato pancakes with boysenberry sauce? Cinnamon rolls completely covered in frosting? Yes, yes, yes.

3) I can't understand anything that the audible alert system says. I just have to hope that what they're saying means that I won't get zapped with x-rays while I'm changing a sample.

4) The screensavers on the computer monitors for our sector are freaky. Especially at 2 AM. There's one of a cow that just bounces up and down for a good ten minutes. There's also another one that makes me think the girl from The Ring is going to jump out of the screen at me. Odd choices.

5) Opening and closing the door to the beamline hutch makes me feel like I'm in Star Wars. Also, the fact that everything is called a sector makes me think that I should be reporting my distances in parsecs or lightyears rather than meters and feet.

Tonight, I'm going offsite for a bit, but I'm going to be working the 2 PM to 8 AM overnight shift from Saturday into Sunday. Look for more updates to come! Cheers!

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