And so it starts.

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life. Classes start, and I’m feeling a little anxious. I’ve dedicated myself to at least 4 years of instruction that will choose the course of everything I do from now on. I’m really excited about the prospects and opportunities that lie in front of me, and yet there is still a little cloud of doubt. Not that I can do it, nor that I want to. I really can’t explain it. I think I realize how hard it will be and how much work is required, and for that I’ll really need to reinvent myself.

Lately I’ve been a little lazy and sat back on my heels. Maybe you could say my enthusiasm doesn’t show in my actions. I want to think that it’s been because there hasn’t been much to do, but there is always more that I could be doing. Since tomorrow is the big start I really want to do well. I hope to set a good pace that holds me through this year and this program. Even as I type this though I feel the lethargy flowing through me.

Part of reinventing myself will have to be getting more energy and doing what’s better for me. So I want to do more exercise in order to keep my energy up. Besides feeling good about myself in my physical appearance I want to know I can put myself through that stress, so when academically things get demanding I’ll have that reserve to pull me through.

I know myself too well; distractions are a constant and prevalent part of my life. Even now I’m thinking of other things. So part of the new me will redouble my concentration and dedication. Since I’ve committed myself to doing this I’ll have to be diligent in my assignments and progress. Lots of catchy words there, but it’s what is required of me.

Right now a lot of reading is required of me. That may be the worst part. Give me a project that I can see finished, and I can make it happen. There are so many papers in front of me even before I can start working towards a thesis. And that’s just part of the deal. Everyone has to do it. There is no way to become the world’s expert on a topic without knowing everything about it and that of related fields. So reading is key. So what makes it bad is that I’ve always had trouble concentrating on papers. I fall asleep within just a few minutes no matter how rested or awake I am. My mind even wanders when I’m very interested in the topic. I’m going to have to learn how to read again.

-this part edited- October 27, 2008

Anyway, things are looking good. My schedule promises to be rewarding and educational. It’s not so hard that I cannot do the things I want to do, but it’s not too easy either. Well, maybe it leans toward the lazy side. That’s not so good. Sometimes the more busy I am the less I goof off.

I’m off for now. Much more soon.

Big Week

Along with our magnetometer breaking and needing to be fully repaired from the ground up I’m going through “Orientation” at UT and getting all my things in order. Today I registered for 4 classes: Numerical Methods, Intro to Seismology, Tech Sessions, and a TA course. I don’t expect any of them to be particularly difficult, but maybe the first will be most practical to my research this semester. Tech sessions is a twice a week lecture series I’m required to tak.

Also I’m picking up keys for my offices and taking care of all the little things required to graduate. I even took a picture for the department yesterday – too bad I had forgotten to shave for over 2 weeks. Now everyone will be looking for the guy with a beard. Maybe I’ll take another today while there still doing that.

Today the technician comes in to replace the broken part on our magnetometer. We’re paying him $120 per hour! I hope it gets fixed while he’s here. Supposing that goes well I could possibly have the thing back together before school starts. I’d prefer that. Good way to be ready to study and focus on my research.

Wish me luck. I’m changing fields and already got the back to school feelings that we never seem to lose.

Oh, and I’ve had trouble getting my site to upload the photos from New Mexico.  So I’ll try to do a couple on photobucket and write a story about that soon.

Home and safe

I made it home.  It was a long time gone.  Deciding to drive through the night was a tough one, but I arrived at 5Am here in Austin.  I’ve got so many fantastic pictures you’ll just love.  For now I’ve got a lot of laundry and cleaning to do.

I’m alive!

and done with this project.   We installed the last Seismometer last night – in the rain – after dark!   Joseph and I had to rent a rock drill to put the fence posts in the ground.  I did 5 fence posts in about 20 minutes.  Earlier we had tried to pound one in as we’d done with all the other sites – that didn’t go so well.  It was all rock.

Finally we’re done.  Well almost.  Today we drive to Carlsbad to unload all of our equipment and share with the other teams still going.  Then it’s back to Austin.  I hope to see the caverns when I’m there though.  Been something I’ve wanted to do for some time.

I’ll be back in Austin on Saturday.  See you soon.

Still going strong.

We’re still moving.  More 14 hour days.  I’ll actually be near Lubbock tomorrow, but back in NM for the remainder of the week.  Lots of pictures, well worth the wait.  Things are tiring.  Today I felt the heat more than normal.  Water isn’t enough, and there is no shade.  I haven’t seen a tree in days.  At least the breeze keeps us cool-er, and right now it’s thundering and raining like I haven’t seen in a while.  More later.

Hard work in NM

I’m having fun, but it is a lot of hard work.  12-14 hour days including driving.  Lots of digging and fence making.  Then the fun stuff of installing very expensive seismometers with GPS and radios.  right now I’ve got over $50k worth of stuff in the back of the truck.  And we’re digging holes to put it in!

What’s great is that the hard work is rewarding.  Arriving at a site that has minimal preparation and leaving several hours later with a complete system up and running is a visible accomplishment.   I say minimal, but that’s only the physical aspect, lots of work went into finding the sites and getting permission to build there.

Gone for a while

Tomorrow I’m driving to New Mexico.  I’ll be gone about 12 days.  Some professors that UT have asked me to help them install seismometers in the southeastern part of the state plus parts of West Texas.  I don’t expect to have internet although I’ll take my computer in case.  Most places we’ll be are 50 miles from a phone line!

I’ll take lots of pictures and have stories for when I get back.