29 Juli 2007


Man, I'm really gonna miss döner when I come back state-side.

25 Juli 2007

A Day in My Life in the Fatherland

For the weekdays:

~6:30 - I wake up at around 6:30, which is to say I really hit my snooze button and really get up around 7:00. Following this are the usual morning rituals -- a shower and maybe a light breakfast, all before 7:45, when I have to be ready to go to lab.

8:00-8:30 - Get my apparatus ready to go (attach cold traps, check for leaks, etc.) and unload the base bath. If nothing is pressing, I take my first coffee "break" of the day, which everyone does. This is essentially the stitch-and-bitch session. I kind of wish I knew more than the scant German I know now, but not really.

8:30-11:00 - Lab work. Start reactions, observe reactions from overnight, sample reactions, etc.

11:00-12:00 - Lunch, usually at the mensa (cafeteria). The food's not too bad.

12:00-12:30 - Coffee break number 2. I can't get to work even if I want to, because everyone else is still on their coffee break/gossip session zwei.

12:30-17:00 - Normal working hours. Most people leave after this. Note: on Fridays, all of the male chemists stop, grab a beer and some popcorn, and play Worms.

17:00-18:00 - "Special" working hours, followed by the take-down rituals for my apparatus, and the loading of base bath and oven.

18:30-19:00 - Return home... or something.

It's a long day, but not as long as others. The more hardcore organic synthesis labs might be in lab longer, or on the weekends, which our Prof. doesn't encourage.

16 Juli 2007

Quick Observation.

Ever learn to read moods? Anyone who's been around animals for a long time should know this pretty well. People are similar, but in many ways more complicated. So, that being said, I was watching a CNN special on this animal caretaker who is remarkably empathic and in tune with animals, notably lions. He described this best as simply knowing the animal's mood -- somedays you just know not to pet them or get close to them, otherwise you're gonna lose a hand.

Think about it.


Last weekend, Mariam, Lena and myself went to Heidelberg for a four day paid vacation to Heidelberg. Heidelberg is said to be the Germany that non-Germans think of when they think of Germany... so it's quite touristy. This was quite evident in the large concentration of Americans wandering about. This historically may very well have to do with the fact that the US Army maintains IMCOM (Installation Management COMmand) in Heidelberg, so there are a lot of Americans about all the time anyway.

I'll write about this more later as I currently have to prepare a progress report on my work thus far. I know I always say I'll write later, but it's hard to snatch away computer time from lab. Here's the quick overview:

1. We met basically all of the RISE scholarship holders for this year, which was quite exciting.
2. The RISE scholars were invited to tour some local (depending on how you define local) companies including BASF (where my group went). BASF has a pretty nifty steamcracker.
3. On the way back to Frankfurt, some of us travelled to Mainz then Bingen via train, then to Koblenz via the Rhine. It was pretty nice.

06 Juli 2007

Just a quick little thing.

Brother printers suck. They're just terrible. My family has owned one and it never gave consistent or reliable service. There's one at CAPAS and it's quite terrible (though, the computers and software systems are suspect). There's one here, and it's also quite terrible.

That's three for three. You suck, Brother.