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April 8th, 2003

ugh, sleep

Spent too much time last night in a smoky bar, and then wasn't smart and didn't shower before going to bed. So now I have this stale smoke smell in my hair, and the pile of clothes next to the bed. It's disgusting. It was still nice to be invited to a psych department event. I'm glad they think to include me.

And even though I went to bed at 1:30, I was up and awake at 6:15 for some reason. I think Ajay got into something he shouldn't have, so Kathy was yelling at him, which may have woken me up. But I took advantage of being up so early during maintenance time to load the latest code on our big exit router that's been causing so much trouble these days. The last time I tried to put new code on it, it ran for about three seconds and crashed. This time it appears stable and running. But I'm nervous about it.

My alarm just went off now. Time to get up and deal with the messy house.

Kate seemed in a better mood when I talked to her last night... I guess she was a little mopey yesterday. "Post-partum depression" after having finished her dissertation writing, she called it, and I guess that makes sense. After working on something intensly for several months, it must be kind of weird to be done.

Mid 40's and drizzly today. I'm finding the question of what shoes to wear uppermost in my mind right now. I wish it would just decide to warm up or to stay cold.

And my jeans FELT dry when I took them out of the dryer last night, but when I put them on this morning it was obvious they are actually still damp. So that's cold and unpleasant on top of the temperature and rain. Sigh.

compulsive science experiments

On the bus ride home today, for some reason I started thinking about one of the classic high school science demonstrations, where a metal can with some water in it is heated until the water boils. The steam then fills up the can, pushing out the air. Then the can is plunged upside-down into cold water. The water plugs up the opening at the top of the can so no air can get in, and also recondenses the steam back to liquid water. This rather rapidly generates a pretty strong vacuum inside the can, and it suddenly and dramatically crumples.

For some reason I became completely obsessed by this experiment the more I thought about it. I imagined some super-impressive version of it, where a 55-gallon metal drum could be heated over a bonfire and then kicked over into an adjacent swimming pool. And then I just couldn't get away from the compulsion to repeat the experiment myself.

So when I got home I dug a Pepsi can out of the recycle bin, filled a mixing bowl with cold water, put a little more water in the can, and held it with kitchen tongs over my stovetop. When I saw visible steam coming out of the top of the can, I turned it upside down and dunked it in the mixing bowl.

It crumpled with a soft popping sound after about one second, nicely compressing itself as if it had been stepped on by an invisible foot.

What else I expected might happen, I have no idea, but I was strangely calmed and satisfied at having successfully seen it with mine own eyes, and then could proceed with my evening.

I don't know what's going on with me.

I was going to just scrounge a dinner out of whatever I have in the house, but Kathy went to the grocery store and volunteered to add my list to hers. I thought that was nice of her.

I wish it would warm up.

I was up until 1:30am, basically sobering up after a birthday party for one of the psych students. I was pleased I got invited along. Then I was up at 6. So I'm incredibly exhausted right now, so much so that the world is seeming not quite real. This isn't entirely unpleasant; it's a little like being high. But it does mean I'm not very useful for anything.

I need to get good sleep tonight; in the morning I have to take one of the planes up to see what the hell is wrong with its ADF, since someone reported to me that it was inoperative. Being the club avionics officer, if nothing else, is going to make me fly more often. And time in the air spent diagnosing avionics gets charged to the club, not to me, which is a nice side benefit.

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Charley

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