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Anomalous Space Time Piping — LiveJournal
a stochastically driven life

I've kicked about LJ since I last posted and observed that it is but a hollow shell of what it used to be.  Only a couple of the old voices remain, still regularly posting, and for that I salute them.  And so I must follow where many have gone ... on to Dreamwidth — you can find me there as "piprrr".  This should be my final, and admittedly bittersweet, post here on LJ.

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Prompted by a recent drive-by comment from my old LJ friend communique I popped over to my long neglected LJ.  So.  Hi?

It's been almost exactly four years since my last update, so here's a summary of what's transpired since:

  1. I finished my first postdoc at Penn State in the Summer of 2015.
  2. I started ... and finished ... a two year postdoc position at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) as a computer scientist.
  3. And got hired on as a full-time research scientist at ORNL.

So, yes, I'm now living in Knoxville, Tennessee, which I've since touted as "the best kept secret of Tennessee."  That is, it's a "Goldilocks Town" in that it's not too big, nor too wee, but just right.  It's large enough that there are plenty of local events almost all the time, and a lot of great bands stop here on their way to other, larger venues; and it's small enough that it's not overwhelming.  I can easily walk from one end of downtown Knoxville to the other within 30 minutes.  (And that I can walk to at least eight different breweries is a bonus. :D )

As to the job, it's probably the best I've ever had.  It readily qualifies as my "dream job" with the niggling detail that it's not in my favorite city, Seattle, but it'll do for now. I'll have to save the nature of my work for another post, but let's just say that I'm getting to spend quality time on Summit, currently the world's largest and fastest supercomputer.


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It's been a while since I last updated.  (Almost a year.  Yikes!)  Though many of you follow me on alternative sites, some of you don't.  So, to get you up to speed:

March 24: Mini-Boss level, "pre-defense," defeated. Level UP!
April 28: Final boss level, "final-defense," defeated. Level UP!
March 17: Graduation. LEVEL UP! Lifetime achievement unlocked: Doctorate!
So, yes, a lot has happenedCollapse )

(Me, standing with my parents, an aunt, my brother, his wife, and their newborn daughter.)

And ⎯ as seems to be typical for me I moved in the middle of all that.  I accepted a postdoc position at Penn State; unfortunately the associated grant requirements dictated that I start by April 1st, so I had to move to State College, PA almost immediately after passing my pre-defense to start my new job.  Fortunately my new boss is an old friend and was very understanding of my need to make the committee requested changes to my dissertation, and then to travel back to Virginia to give my final defense.  I made one more trip in May to make it official that I had, at long last, finished grad school.

It's taken me about six months, but I feel that I'm finally settling into my new life here.  I hope to write more in LJ as I think it provides the best medium for what I need to say.  Facebook, G+, and twitter seem to invoke a kind of parsimony; frankly I can't write anything of meaningful length in any of those mediums.  (With twitter, that's naturally by design.)  I can appreciate the clean clarity that such terseness invokes, but sometimes I need to stretch out my fingers for a paragraph or two or three.  And this seems to be the best place for doing just that.

So, hopefully, you'll see more of me round here.

Hi, my virtual neighbors.  It's been a while.

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Current Location: United States, Pennsylvania, State College
Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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So, there I was, playing bagpipes on campus, like you do, when some random person stops their car, hops out, gushes "I love your music!", presses five bucks into my hands, and speeds off.

I guess that's one way to motivate me to practice more.

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Current Mood: amused amused

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I now dream.

Rather, I may have been dreaming before, but my sleep was so awful that I didn't remember it. But, now with the CPAP properly set I'm getting deep enough sleep that I have multiple vivid dreams nightly.

Apparently my dream making machinery is out of practice because these dreams have been lucid, but surreal. It's like I'm sitting in the Theater of Dreams while my brain is bumbling around the control room gone dusty through lack of use. The brain struggles to remember how to use it. So it's mashing buttons, pushing levers, and twiddling dials while looking at the faded manual via reading glasses with a bad prescription. There I sit watching the weirdest stuff unfold. Like sitting at a comedy show with a couple that aren't a couple in real life. Lessee, B and C are really boyfriend/girlfriend, but there B sits with R and not C, and R is married to someone else in real life; worse yet, in reality they move in completely unrelated social orbits. But, whatever ole brain, you keep twiddling those dials.

Oh, and the comedy show never started. It was all about the waiting to get in. Oh, brain.


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My big plan for Friday night is to sleep. Really sleep.

I know that this isn't exciting. Most other folks will be out seeing movies, having dinner, going to concerts, and the like. But, me? Snug in my bed.

Why am I looking forward to sleeping tomorrow night? Because my damned CPAP machine will, at long last, be properly adjusted.

The result of the sleep study from over a month ago was that to get proper stage three sleep my CPAP needed to be at 10. (I'm not sure what '10' measures, but whatever.) It is currently at four. In fact it has been at four for several years so I've not been getting good rest in all that time.

Imagine waking up feeling like you could just go right back to sleep. Imagine wanting to take naps during the day. Imagine fuzzing out in the middle of conversations. Imagine not being able to concentrate. Imagine not being able to remember things. That has been me. And I'm so very much looking forward to making all that go away.

The technician contacts me tomorrow to walk me through adjusting the machine. Can't wait.
But it wasn't easy getting hereCollapse )

Current Mood: sleepy sleepy

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A couple nights ago I achieved a significant milestone with regards to dissertation writing: 100 pages.
Read more...Collapse )

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Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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The stick has been replaced by the carrot, which is decidedly a turn for the better.

Scant months ago I was under the gun --- and a large caliber one at that --- to finish this Summer. My advisor and I pushed for an extension for the Fall as we felt that was a tough, but doable, time limit. Instead, the administration was feeling particularly magnanimous (or finally got embarrassed enough by the series of errors it made for which it made me suffer) and gave me until the Spring of '14. I was immensely relieved.

However, even though I've until next Spring to finish, I still intend on defending this Fall. Why? Because now I have new incentive to do so, and this time a positive one.

I have informally accepted a post-doc position at Penn State starting in January. And, well, the "post" of "post-doc" sorta implies that I'd already be a doctor, ya know? =)

So, now I'm strongly motivated to wrap up over the next several months and get hooded in December. But this time the motivation is fueled by something to look forward to, and not abject fear of failure.

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Let's just say it's not every day that one gets Bat Girl to help set up a tent. In the dark. With howling wind gusts.

Ok, let me backtrack as what I wrote is completely true --- and for those that have been to burner events before are likely not in the least surprised that this is so.
On bagpipes, superheroes, pet memorials, and suchCollapse )

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Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic

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I've been motivated by fengi's "Comment month," whereby he will strive to comment on every single of his friends' LJ posts this month. Good idea, that. So, fengi, you can safely mark me down as a data point in your favor.

(And I like one of the comments. "Now I have this mental image of you straddling LiveJournal and pounding its sternum with both fists while yelling ``LIVE, damn you, LIVE!''")

I have a lot to share, but I'll do so piecemeal ... one entry at a time. I'm hoping that tactic increases the likelihood that I will write more here. (And that I can, in turn, harness some productive writing momentum.)

So, this happened.Collapse )

Current Location: Lair of the Frazzled Grad Student
Current Mood: relieved relieved

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