Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sleepless in the Station

Dark Sector view

Have been running a bit short of sleep; got paged on the station PA around 1 PM because of problems with the detector, which I managed to deal with. Woke up around (station) dinner time; vacuuming in the corridors at 6 kept me from getting back to sleep.

"Survival routine" helps: wake, vitamins, treadmill, weights, stretch, shower (30 seconds/day since last shower), sit. Plus the nap which I'm going to take in a few minutes, until my 3AM phone call starts.

Things are going well down here; 17th string out of 18 was just deployed today by the day shift. It's still up in the air whether the day or night shift will deploy the last string. Eighteen strings (if we get the last one, knock on wood) is really a phenomenal achievement, one which won't mean anything to anyone except those who remember broken drills, exploding hoses, accidents with cables, strings which had to get pulled out after deployment due to a constriction in the hole, and strings stuck at the wrong depth. The technique has really come a long way since the early days.... a super-specialized technique which will probably be useless a few years from now when the construction is finished. There should be a word for hard-won expertise which is only relevant for a limited time.

Meanwhile, my own work with the software is going ok, smoother than I could have hoped for so far ... for which I'm grateful, though I somehow miss oxygen and plants and darkness more than I remember doing in the past. Ah well, only 18 or so days left... and work will likely get busier and busier towards the end.

This morning, sitting by myself near a window in the galley, feeling slightly frayed and prematurely toasty [burned out on the Ice], I leafed through a five year old National Geographic magazine, looking at photos of exotic deserts in China, and I thought, "I should really go see some interesting places some time." Then I caught myself, looked out at the limitless white horizon, and chuckled.

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