Archive for March, 2009


Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

I think most of you know this already, but for those of you who don’t, I was hired late last year as a “Full-Time Academic” here at UNSW, and have switched to part-time student status on my PhD.

What does this mean? That I am finished 3 years of my PhD, and nearing completion (if I ever sit down to write…), I am the course co-ordinator for the 2nd Year Project course and the 4th Year Thesis, I was assistant lecturer for Applied Photovoltaics, and got the 8 tutors in the course sorted, creating new problem sets and such, then was re-shuffled over to ENGG1000. For the project courses, I’m co-ordinating, but also supervising 3 fourth year theses. And I’m trying to write papers, and my thesis, and train new students in the lab… sigh. So yeah, sorry for not many updates lately. I have still found time to play soccer, however, and spent most of today bludging (my first whole day to myself in a long time, so I spent it cleaning and bludging).

Solar car is going to be really cool. I’m just supervising, and don’t want to get too involved because it tends to suck people into a dark abyss of work, but it will still be really cool. Boeing is a major sponsor of the UNSW solar car team, and the team does most of their composite work out at Boeing. We’re going there on Thursday for our safety induction, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how composite parts are made in industry. They’re hella concerned with OH&S at UNSW, but Boeing is even more so, which saves me the trouble of running after students trying to make them wear steel toed boots and safety goggles. Aerospace is cool.

Speaking of aerospace, apparently the 16 finalists in the CSA’s hunt for new astronauts have been selected. Only one of the 16 is female. One is a friend of Melissa Battler’s from the Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station thingy. But that’s as close as I get to knowing any one of the final 16. Next time, next time. I’ll have a PhD by then, and heaps more experience. I think all the one’s selected are in their 30’s anyway. Maybe 28 is just a bit too young to have done everything they’re looking for. And I think I should get my pilot’s license too, or rescue diving, or something cool like that. Maybe gliders. Yael went gliding on the weekend, and it reminded me of the UW glider team. Not that I’d glide in any of the gliders we made, but it would be fun soaring like that. Maybe I’ll build an ultralight when I move back to Canada. Backyard project. If I have a backyard. If I don’t, maybe Joe and Benita want to build an ultralight in their backyard. I think they have one :)

Anything else exciting? The weather is good. It’s been glorious ever since Mary came to visit. Loving it.

Oh, the upgrade. In addition to my job being upgraded, I also got an office upgrade. I was in G12C, a noisy, cramped office into which they crammed about 15 grad students. It was just across from the Ground Floor Labs, and I had a high-traffic aisle desk with the air-con blowing directly down on me. I used to have AC wars with one of the other office occupants. Now I’m on the 4th floor, my own office, 2 desks, window view, soon to have my name on the door. I’m also the official Space Manager and Equipment Owner of all of the Silicon Wafer labs at the Centre, minus the one high efficiency lab. Whoa! I have to sign the forms that give people access to the labs. It’s totally weird. I think they really want to keep me, but so far they’ve only succeeded in getting me to stay until (probably) December, and that’s only on account of the student projects I’m supervising. Otherwise I would have been home by the end of July. I’ll still come to visit sometime this summer though.

No word from UW yet. I’ll let you know if I do though. But even if I do hear back, I’m afraid I’ll have to try and defer until December.

Mary’s Visit to Oz

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

So I know I’ve been pretty quiet lately. Sorry. I’ve been ridiculously busy. In addition to nearly being done my experimental work, working on a paper, working on my thesis, and being hired as a full time academic in charge of 2 courses and assisting with 2 others, I had my sister Mary visiting for the past 2 weeks. Here are some highlights, courtesy of photos that other people took and that Mary has put on Facebook:

Day 3: Soundwave

Billy Talent

Day 5: Bedouin Soundclash @ the Annandale
Bedouin Soundclash

Day 6: Butterbox Canyon

Mary Canyoning

Day 9-11: Cairns

Best bird ever


Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Yeah, I don’t know why the photo of Rob and Tara keeps mucking up in that previous post. I’ve tried fixing it many times, decreased the file size, done things to the html of the link. It hates me.