Saturday, May 10, 2008

Job Well Done (I hope)

Sorry not to be blogging much lately. I've been traveling in support of the SeaFighter project. Also, I'm dead tired and had a beer on an empty stomach... sorry if I ramble a bit. Just finished 3 1/2 days of instrumentation. It was actually difficult and physical. What the hell, man? I'm supposed to be a squishy engineering grad student nerd, not an active guy climbing around running cables. This project will represent our most ambitious instrumentation project to date (so why was I the only one sent to do it!?!).

Everything is installed though, and just in time, I'm flying home tomorrow (God, I hope it runs well). Got to spend the past few days in Panama City, FL. Don't know what to say about it other than if you've seen one gulf coast city, you've seen then all. Good (fried) seafood. Touristy as hell. Near the naval support facility it's a little seedy. Last time I came down, the hotel conference room was full of Hooters girls and prospective employees. I thought to myself, "Hey, I didn't know Hooters had conferences." Then I thought, "Suddenly the IMAC conference doesn't seem so great." It seems though, that they were just recruiting for a new location adjacent to the hotel. This trip, I happened to arrive on the opening day. What is my adviser thinking? It's currently the off-season for tourists, so things haven't been so crowded... until tonigh anyway when the hotel seems to be hosting a group of extremely young looking Naval cadets as well as a large contingent of gymnasts... seamen and gymnasts... gymnasts and seamen... make your own joke here.

Anyway, as a follow-up to the survival-at-sea post, I've learned how to survive in port anyway. First of all, when your job inherently involves making the crew's jobs more difficult, you've got a tricky situation. When your job is to place sensitive and fragile electronics on the decks in high traffic areas and then leave them unguarded for a few weeks, you really want to avoid pissing people off. Keeping your work area clean is a big part of that. In my lab, I let mess accumulate, drop wire, insulation, other stuff all over. On the boat, I picked up every last scrap of rubbish I generated. I spent an extra day routing cables as to be out of the way and, generally, look neat. I also taped the living hell out of the cables and wires that ran along the deck. I can't make it good for them; physics and my boss tell me where the sensors must go, but I can make it clear that I'm really willing to pretend that I feel bad about the hassle I cause them (yes, pretend, don't be too weak).

Also, apparently sitting watch in port, involves sitting near the door playing PSP and generally ignoring anything that goes on on-board the ship. Maybe I'm misinterpreting things. The boat is parked in a reasonably secure place though.

Looking forward to the trip though... whenever it happens May be able to visit with the Princess (who doesn't seem to generate new posts without considerable harassment... contact me fo her email address if you want to harass her) and SP#5 too.

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