Sunday August 25
Yasu invited me to a barbeque held by some friend of his in a North-Side suburb. Getting there was an adventure of many train-transfers. It turned out to be a Chicago Japanese Embassy party, and more of a cocktail party than a barbeque. I was in "stealth mode" -- that's where I don't let on that I speak Japanese and I secretly listen to other people's conversations. There was a JET applicant there who picked my brain extensively. It was nice enough, but parties like that are not my thing at all -- I suck at making small talk -- and so it would have been pretty boring,
that our host had a 14-FOOT TRAMPOLINE in his backyard. Forget socializing! I've wanted to go on a real trampoline ever since I was a kid, but all I ever got to use was those crummy mini-trampolines they sell at Toys R Us. I spent most of the night bouncing on there. Host-man saw me and asked me,
"Can you do flips?"
"I would, ", I said, "but there are warning labels all over this thing that say do-not-do-flips-you-will-break-your-neck."
"That's just for the lawyers," he answered, " my 12-year-old daughter does flips all the time. Try it!"
So I spent the rest of the night learning to flip. By the end I had almost got it down. My back was sore all the next day, but man, it was worth it. Trampoline. Oh yeah.
Tuesday August 10
Had to sit through a really lame 4-hour security orientation at work today. It's mandatory for all newbies before we get security badges. It was really kindergardenish -- don't go through the door with the radioactive symbol on it, don't open unknown e-mail attatchments, don't sell scientific secrets to Iranian spies, obvious stuff like that. But it took four hours, with lectures by four people -- including a white-haired FBI spook who stressed the need for CONSTANT VIGILANCE! Also they quizzed us to make sure we didn't doze off.
Monday August 9
Great day today!
I missed the last bus home because Gregor kept me late in a meeting. This made getting home into an Adventure.
Sunday August 8
A map of Argonne National Labs. Note the large circular building in the southwest: the Wakefield acceleartor.
I installed SuSE Linux on my work laptop over the weekend. The installation went great; then I went to edit a file for the first time:
%jono emacs helloworld.c
bash: emacs: command not found
Monday August 2
Today was my first day to actually go to Argonne National Laboratory, although I had been working for them over the internet the past couple of weeks.
Argonne is four square miles of buildings behind a ten-foot-high barbed wire fence out in the middle of the woods south of Downers Grove. I got a temporary security pass today. There is a huge circular building on the map which must be a particle accelerator. The building where I'll be working is a square brick building, built to be proof against lightning and tornadoes, housing a massively-paralell Linux cluster named Chiba City (Neuromancer reference)
I now have an e-mail address that ends with .gov. That's right, I'm working for the Man! (I.e. indirectly working for the Department of Energy). That must mean I am Keeping You Down. Watch me Oppress the Masses by, um, coding a Java framework scientists can use to spread supercomputing tasks among multiple machines which may not be on the same continent. I'm not sure how that will help Oppress the Masses but I'm sure you can think of something.
I have lots to write about today, but it will have to wait, because I am going to sleep (on my beanbag) now so I can get up at 6:30 tomorrow to take the early bus back to Argonne for more excitement.