Archive for the 'Sydney' Category

Leaving Oz

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Sorry it’s been a while getting this last chapter out. So I moved to Palo Alto in January. For 3 weeks I was here working and getting settled in and writing a paper on series resistance in PERC cells. Then I went back to Australia for 3 weeks to finish up my experimental work, finish the supervision of my summer student, tie up loose ends with teaching and such.

I finished all my experimental work. I didn’t get a terribly good efficiency for my solar cell. The 16% one I made last year still holds the record for me. But I did get a lot of awesome pictures, and a few decent experiments out of it. Ok, cool texture photo:


I also had a lot of parties to attend :) One of the first was a farewell dinner & salsa party.


The next weekend we went camping. It was epic getting up there. Evatt was driving Yael and I up in his old-school camper van. The rear windscreen was crumbling off. It was raining. We stopped for dinner, and the restaurant we were in flooded. Started driving through the torrential downpour. The bottom of every hill had turned into a pond. We passed about 5 cars that had stalled in the water, we sprayed water over them as we blew by. Made it fairly close to the camp ground by about 11pm, tried to find a motel, failed, parked at the end of a street near some beach access and camped on the side of the road. Turns out there were still fishermen about, so they passed us leaving the beach sometime after midnight, drinking and laughing. Then passed us again going back to the beach around 4am. Wasn’t a terribly wonderful sleep. Made it to the campground the next morning, crashed on the beach. The rest of the trip was fairly good and uneventful.

Anna took me out to see a musical on my last Wednesday in Australia. We’d gone to see Wicked together a few months ago, and had tried to do so in Melbourne, so we’ve bonded over musicals. It was interesting, this one. Called “Spring Awakening”. I won’t forget it, anyways :)

BOS was my shout on my last Friday of work. It was a good one. I shouted the first case, tonnes of people were there again, then I think Evatt shouted a case, then Mark had to go get a third case (good thing the bottle shop isn’t far…), then it carried on to the Reg. Oh, I’m missing UNSW!

Saturday was my last full day in Sydney, so a bunch of us got together and went kayaking in Manly. It was an incredible day! Perfect weather, perfect friends, absolutely beautiful! You couldn’t ask for a better day! Made it so hard to leave. There were tears starting when we had to say goodbye.



When I got home, I had my last dinner in Mooramie house. Sarah, Andy, and Wolfgang came over to join Yael, Craig and I in an all-night LOTR marathon. We had been planning a marathon for a while, and it seemed a fitting thing to do on my last night. No wasting it with sleeping. Craig and Sarah made a tonne of LOTR food to go along with it as well. Their versions of Entwash, and lembas, and Craig made a Shelob cake (which I should find the picture of…).

In the morning, I finished packing, then Anna and Shonnie and Pat came by for breakfast. Anna and Shonnie had to head off to soccer then, and Pat took this photo of Yael and Craig and I outside Mooramie house just before we left for the airport:


We stopped by DP on the way to the airport so that I could say bye to all the soccer ladies before their game. There were more tears. Andy and Craig and Yael waited with me at the airport until I really had to go through security and board the plane. We were all pretty burnt out, not having slept, and being rather sad. We sat around drinking Boosts and hanging out, then we went to security, and there were a lot more tears when Yael and I said bye. She’s my Australian sister now, those guys were my Aussie family, and it was soooo hard leaving! I think all the security people gave me an easy time going through due to all the tears.

And that’s it. I hope I can go back some day. I know that what’s ahead will be good to, but it’s never the same, and Australia was amazing.

Random Update

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

So I have one update that’s coming that’ll have awesome pictures - the annual Sculptures by the Sea walk. But I haven’t downloaded the photos yet. So this update will have no pictures.

So I got a job in California! Yaaay!

But I have to leave Australia. Boooo.

But it’s awesome an it’ll be closer to home! Yaaaaay!

Then I got ACL surgery done on Tuesday. Boo? Yay? I don’t know. In the long run, this is good. Right now, just kinda painful and annoying.

So now, working with students, trying to finish off my experiments and my PhD in general. Trying to write papers. Write my thesis. Still finishing off the term.

Dad wanted me to post some links, so here’s some random stuff:

Making fun of New Zealand accents

I Threw it on the Ground

That’s all I got for now.

Sometimes I miss being a primary school teacher

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Jan’s parents are primary school teachers. The students were asked to write the properties of the sun.

“It’s not soluble in water”

apparently it’s framed on their fridge.


Monday, October 19th, 2009

The excitement of last week was precipitated by Brett and I.

F3 had run out of boron liquid source, so I decided we could switch it for F12’s source since that furnace has been down for years. We very carefully carried the F12 source and cooler over to F3. Brett lifted out the empty source while I lifted out the full source and we swapped the coolers they were in. As I put the fragile, quartz container into the cooler, I noticed a lot of clear liquid coming up the sides of the cooler, and when I had full placed it and looked at my gloves, they were wet. Then I saw some drops on the floor, and I turned to Brett and said: “Um, we have to evacuate the lab now”.

So we did.

When LDOT heard there was a potential BBr3 spill, they also closed the labs below the ground floor labs, put on full sperm suits complete with oxygen tanks and everything, and it took them about 1.5 hours to even prepare to go in.

After about an hour of tests, it was determined that it was just water that had condensed on the outside of the quartz containers. But we were all safe! And we can still do boron diffusions. Yay!

Wednesday I’m off for the World Solar Challenge with Yael and Andy. I supervised a bunch of second year students who worked on the car for their second year design project, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Also going to hit Kakadu National Park, Uluru, the Olga’s, King’s Canyon, and a few other notable places across the outback of Australia along the way. Expect some good pictures soon!

Welcome Baby Deighan!!!

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Rob and Tara have a baby!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry it’s been so long since I had an update. Here goes:

  • I came to Canada back in Aug-Sept to visit all my lovely Canadian friends and family. It was great.
  • I had a job interview in San Fran while visiting Paul and Oleg there
  • Went to visit Kristy, Marty, Katelyn, and Dan Manicom in Calgary
  • Went to visit Sue, Brock and Laura in BC
  • Came back, did some teaching
  • Went to UniGames - won Bronze! Was named to the Green & Gold team! aaaaaand tore my ACL :(

Upcoming events:

  • Yael and Andy and I are accompanying the UNSW team on the World Solar Challenge from October 21st - 31st (racing a solar car from Darwin to Adelaide). I’m stressing at the moment because I have been supervising some second year students working on the car, and now I don’t want them to crash and die.
  • Exams are coming up in a couple weeks. Hopefully my class does well!
  • Still working on the PhD
  • ACL surgery in early November most likely. Unofficial MRI results came it today. Should make it all official tomorrow and book in surgery.

That is all for now. The chickens are good :)


Sunday, August 9th, 2009

21st birthdays are a big deal in Australia. I’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to four of them since I’ve been here, and they’ve all been very different and fun.

The first 21st I was ever invited to was Het’s. All her family was there, and friends from high school, elementary school, uni, soccer, and everything else. There were food and drinks at a fancy place in the City, a slide show with photos from Het’s life, and people gave speeches. I teared up at times - some of the stories were really heart-felt and touching. It’s a celebration of the person’s life. There were gifts, and then dancing the night away.

The second 21st I went to was Kate’s. I was invited, along with a couple of the other soccer girls, to a bbq and chilled-out party with Kate and her family at her family’s house. Her mom cooked up a storm, and some of her friends had put together a “Kate Questionnaire” to get people’s funny stories and ideas about Kate. It was laid back, and highly enjoyable, particularly as I happened to be sick that night and I was free to cuddle my box of tissues and a 2L bottle of orange juice and still celebrate Kate.

The third and fourth 21sts were this past weekend - Shonnie of Friday night, then Sam on Saturday night. Shonnie again had all her family and friends from all her walks of life there. We were at a schmancy pants pizza bar in the Cross, with champagne and wine all night, there were gifts and speeches from all. The soccer girls all chipped in and bought her a necklace from Tiffany’s and lingerie (as you do, apparently). Her little bro told some awesome stories about her, as did Gigi and Al on behalf of soccer, and some of her high school friends did as well. Later in the night the party hit the nightlife in the Cross.

Sam’s was last night and I think this one was my favourite of the lot. It doubled as a farewell party for her, as she’s off to spend the next year in Indo. There was no family, only friends, and mostly just the soccer girls. We went for Japanese, then karaoke, and then to the upper level of some random mall where they had all sorts of Asian ‘claw’ games and photo booths - the ones where you can add little pink hearts and sparkles to the photos, or make it look like you and your friends are princesses on swings surrounded by pink flowers. Kate and Gigi did an awesome and shocking serenade to Sam at karaoke, Al won some mismatched puffy animal slippers for Sam at the claw game, and Shen luckily knows Japanese so could decipher all the instructions within the time-limits of the photo booth. It was an awesomely fun night.


Sunday, July 12th, 2009

We went to Taronga Zoo yesterday, and it was a bit cool and overcast = awesome for active animals. Especially the lions, which are generally cool to look at but don’t actually do much. Well, these ones were different:

Watching us

About to pounce

Just after pouncing

The meerkats were awesome too:

Meerkats chillin

For the rest of the animals, which were all quite good, check out this link.

New Housemates

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

I’m pleased to introduce you to the newest members of Mooramie House:

Craig and Martha's chickens

Yael's 'fraidy cat chicken

We’re still working on names.

Updates from the Antipodes

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

So out in B.C., my cousin Stephen married his fiancee Bianca, and it looked like it was a good party:

Stephen and Bianca cutting the cake

Brock kissing a moose

Stephen and Bianca partying

Here in Sydney, we had a long weekend celebrating the Queen’s birthday (which is actually in October I think, but whatever) so we went to the Sydney Aquarium for the first time for all of us. It was awesome:



For more pictures, check out the Google Gallery.

The Dream

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Last month Floz came back to Sydney for her grad and to visit for a bit. She caught up with me in the labs on the day of her Grad. She is now officially Dr. Floz, and has beautiful little books printed with her name on them as the author - best motivation ever to keep working.