funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
Cross-posted from Funranium Labs

There's nothing quite like the end of the month, which is always paperwork crunch time, for new and interesting opportunities to crop up. Despite knowing the certain long hours they will demand in make up time, you just can' Two of those happened this week, I got to enter into UC Berkeley's Lawson Adit (definition: an adit is the entrance to nearly horizontal mine) and I got to give a crash course in radiation detection using bomb squad robots to the local police departments.

Lawson Adit Gate
Figure1: The Lawson Adit Gate

First, the questions everyone asks: why does UC Berkeley have a mine and how long has it been there?

Before UC Berkeley had a Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, it was known as the School of Mines and operated out of what is now known as Hearst Memorial Mining Building. Created by a grant by Pheobe Hearst in 1902 from the vast wealth her husband George had realized during the various gold and silver strikes during the late 1800s, Pheobe Hearst wanted to try to educate a new generation of competent mining engineers in George's memory to work all the vermiculated placer bearing lands of the American West, rather than drag them over from the east coast or depend upon finding them among the flood of immigrants from Europe.

In 1918, it was decided that they'd have students dig & blast a mine in the hard rock of the hills behind the Hearst Memorial Mining Building. The result was the Lawson Adit. Upon discovery of the Hayward Fault running through there, they decided to dig that mine juuuuuust a little bit deeper so that they could actually cross the fault. You know, because it was the name of Science...for More Awesome. Also, it had a special side gallery that was just for storing the student dynamite. Education used to be much more hands on and exciting once upon a time.

By the late 1950s, the excitement for mining had died down and having a mine bisected by an active (and often creeping) fault seemed a Bad Idea. There were numerous collapses in the adit, primarily where the fault crossed, that made the mine to dangerous to work with anymore. The decision was made to seal it up and then, several years later, seal it up much more thoroughly to prevent the homeless from camping in it and frat boys from getting up to shenanigans.

Lawson Adi Spike
Figure 2: Lawson Adit - This Is Why You Wear Hardhats

My entry was done in the interest of making sure that no one had done anything silly and tried to store/discard radioactive materials down there. It was unlikely, but I have made a career for myself in having a very dim view of the common sense and forward thinking of others and I thought it prudent to check, just in case. The first thing you see on entry into the adit is a giant goddamn spike hanging down from the ceiling, as shown in the picture to the right.

No, I don't know why it was put there but it is definitely very educational. Unless you're shorter than 4 foot tall, you probably only get to learn the "Wear A Hardhat In A Mine" lesson once from this spike.

Baby Stalactites - Aww, Aren't They Precious?
Figure 3: Baby Stalactites - Aww, Aren't They Precious?

Rockfalls litter the floor and have dammed up the trickling groundwater, so it is a soggy stroll in the tunnel. Roots hang down from above, with that awful hairy appearance they have for sucking water from dank, moist air. Of course, where you have groundwater seeping through limestone, you get cave formations. This may be a man-made cave, but the natural processes are still going, trying to make some new stalactites on the concrete reinforcing of the side cut entry.

Are You Sure Building A Tunnel Through A Fault Is A Good Idea?
Figure 4: Lawson Adit - Are You Sure Building A Tunnel Through A Fault Is A Good Idea?

At the end of the tunnel, is the collapse that indicates where the Hayward Fault crosses. Lest a rather large hunk of limestone drop and make My Lovely Assistant get very upset with my corpse, I didn't actually scramble over the debris pile to poke the fault fracture proper.

With the tunnel cleared for radioactive materials and nothing found, they can now do installation of new seismographs before they lock it down good and tight for the foreseeable future.

Next time: Herr Direktor Funranium puts the UC and Berkeley PD bomb squads, and their robots, through their paces.
funranium: (Default)
This morning, before a suitable amount of coffee was consumed, I had to do a radiation safety presentation to a group of students at Nuclear Engineering. While we were waiting for everyone to show up, the professor and I were discussing the experiments the class were going to do with the students that were present. When we hit the x-ray fluorescence experiment and discussed how they were going to be identifying unknown materials for elemental composition, the professor whipped a rock out from his jacket pocket. It was a somewhat non-descript looking hunk of basalt.

Prof: "As some of you may know, I just returned from vacation in Tanzania and I got to climb to the top of Kilimanjaro. One of the samples we'll be looking at is this" *waves rock around* "to figure out what's in it."
Phil: "Ooo...the frustrated geologist is intrigued."

He passed the rock to the student on his left. When it got to me, I looked at it and asked, "How many people in here have taken a geology course?" One student and the professor raised their hands. I then asked, "Do either of you remember the rock identification guide and the qualities you test to make your ID?" The professor had a look of "huh?" while the student had the "crap, I used to know that".

Phil: "One of the methods for identification that is no longer in the rock guide is taste."
*I licked the rock to the shock of the class and mild disgust of the professor*
Phil: "Yup, that's East African Rise igneous. You can tell by the salty flavor due to the high sodium & potassium content of the shallow extensional zone magma source."
*The look of mild disgust from the professor turned to awe*
Professor: "Seriously? You can do that?"
Phil: "Yes, but don't do it with the minerals of California. We have an awful lot of borates, selenates, and arsenates courtesy of all of the marine melange deposits and evaporated lakes. There is a reason that Taste was removed from the rock guide."
Professor: "Remember that class, don't lick things unless you know they are okay for licking."
Phil: "Doubly so in a radiation lab."

The professor then high fived me.

Today was a great day in teaching.
funranium: (Default)
This is a problem that has been vexing be for a while, but came up again in conversation with [ profile] twistedcat.

A while back, one of my lovely researchers in the Electrical Engineering group approached me with a desire to make his new cleanroom absolutely perfect.  He was shooting for a Class 100 certification and knew that having any paper in the lab was going to make him fail.  So he wanted to make all records in the lab entirely electronic, including the logbook of machine usage which is one of those regulatory required thingees. He was not going to let the logbook for one machine cause his entire two building floor cleanroom fail, so he was ready to fight.  Let's call him Bob.  The conversation went something like this:

Bob: I've got everything, training, access, job recharge logs, everything tied in electronically.  Use is already logged electronically so I can bill people, so why do I have to do a damn paper log?
Phil: Per the regulations, you have to maintain use logs of machine usage with user name, date, time, and technique factors.  Do you electronically log all of that?
B: No, but it easily could.
P: Okay, the next part is that your records have to be unalterable.  If there are changes, the changes also have to be logged.  This means part of your project analysis for radiation safety is that you have to provide the department's network security plan, specifically as it relates to this machine and the collected data.
B (looking a little deflated): Seriously?
P: And lastly there is the requirement for records retention.  Logbooks must be kept for 30 years after the termination of the license.  Seeing as how we've been playing with radioactive materials and machines for 60 years prior to the advent of the Atomic Energy Commission, I think it is safe to say the license won't be terminating any time soon.
B: So?
P: So, you are going to have to also provide your data management plan that will ensure the accessibility of your use logs for perpetuity.  My office just upgraded to Excel 2007, which means I can't talk to files I made the week before.  Your lab here is littered with equipment that MUST use an old 386 architecture computer for data capture and output to 3.5" floppies.  They just stopped making those!  How will your files be accessible in 10 years, or 25, or 200? 
I think there's probably a doctoral thesis or two in that.
B: I can't do electronic logs can I?
P: No, but you could use those nice cleanroom paper logs made of plastic they've been doing since the mid-70s.  Sorry to force you to be a Luddite.

Hard copy is great, but the problem it doesn't solve is translation of semantic drift.  As [ profile] twistedcat's father states:

"My bookshelves have copies of the Hebrew bible from more than 2,000 years ago, the Vulgate (Latin) from 1,600 years ago, several English versions from 400 years ago, several copies of Shakespeare's plays from that time.  A mere 30 years would include several items that are so new they still have their original dust covers.  If you want to store a file for 30, or 3,000, years. don't let Bill Gates any where near it -- he'll invent a new language every month and do his darndest to convince you to switch so that he can make more money.  The technology you want has been in use since Gutenberg about the year 1500."

Yes, he has those books on his shelf (admittedly current printings) and they have preserved wisdom from the ages but if he was handed the original, would he be able to read it?  Handed a ceramic wheel from Ur, would you assume you had a record of a government official or a part of a child's toy cart, etched for better traction?

This is a problem I've come across before.  The most current example is the WIPP in New Mexico where they are trying to properly communicate that this nuclear waste repository is a dangerous place, do not dig here until at least 12000AD.  I would like to point out how successful the Egyptian warnings to this effect were from keeping grave robbers out for the last 3000 years.  Their warnings were truly dire, but we assumed that is because there was something valuable worth having down there.

On the flip side, we would like our descendants from The Bold & Amazing Future to know where to dig in order to clean up our messes.  Heck, once you decide that nuclear power is the way to go, the WIPP becomes a mine for enriched uranium and actinides.
funranium: (Default)

Pissing down outside.  If I could see out my office window, I wouldn't be able to see very far across Berkeley.  A year of deferred maintenance due to budget concerns has caused flooding off the side of the roof.  Accordingly, a year worth of accumulated crap and bus exhaust particulate has coated my window like a sludge.  I hereby declare this to be what accounting and the "budget process" feels like to me.

That said, I do loves me some rain.  Now, to go walk in it, get some coffee and then tackle some egos.

funranium: (Pyscho)

I would like to improve the diet of the homeless for some very selfish reasons.

So, Berkeley has a variety of colorful street people that inhabit the environs of Shattack Avenue hoping for some of your spare change.  Some are very clearly Not Quite Right In The Head and have earned nicknames.  For example, Screaming Lady who (until I learned otherwise yesterday) I was convinced spent her entire day sleeping on a bench at the bus stop except for when she woke up to scream and shout at the top of her lungs for a couple minutes.  There is also Uni-Dred, a man with horribly matted hair that has merged into one networked Cthuloid dredlock.

Next, we tackle the issue of public urination.  Every day I park in the bottom of the Addison St. garage and walk up either of the two staircases which invariably reek of awful, lingering, clothes-permeating urine aroma.  The kind of smell that tells you that its creator is not eating well and may have underlying health issues. 

The businesses of Berkeley have a decidedly public toilet unfriendly stance because of the cleaning and damage issues that are well known due to the same street people, gangs, and goddamn teenagers *shakes cane to get kids off his lawn*.  The only genuine public toilets I know of downtown are in the library and I never want to go in those again.  So public urination, and thus the associated eau d' vagabond, should not be a big surprise in light of the lack of available facilities.

Smells are one thing.  Encountering their creation in progress is another.

Yesterday, while returning  from lunch, I looked down an alley on the way to the office and was treated to Screaming Lady squating in the middle of the road, pissing like a race horse.

This morning, while walking up the stairs, a pungent cascade was streaming down the steps causing me to beat a hasty retreat and use the other not-as-recently-befouled stairs.

I can handle the idea of public urination.  Much as French tourists annoy the shit out of me, I understand the sentiment that causes you to whiz on the wall of the Vatican after standing in line for a couple hours.  But I am sure that Paris smells a great deal better than the territory marking Screaming Lady does.  Perhaps it has something to do with haute cuisine...

funranium: (Your Buddy Heyzeus)
That is majestic urination.  A beautiful porcelain convenience with no backsplatter, finely cracked glaze, marble wall panels, and heavy wooden stall doors.  You practically expect a bathroom lackey to attend to your gilded age hands, arrange you properly, and zip your fly for you.

I intend to use this bathroom from now on when I'm on upper campus.

The UC Berkeley bathroom exploration, much as I did at McMurdo, will continue...
funranium: (Default)

Protip: When you decide to spout off in a bar about how stupid you think a person/group/department is, you should chose a venue closer to your home turf than theirs.

And now the story.

A co-worker and I decided to conduct the final phase of our workday at Beckett's, a pub style bar close to the office.  I find that a collegial atmosphere in the presence of decent music and a pint of 1554 inspires much more productive thought in the field of radiation safety.  We're have a decent chat about the lay of the land and cunning plans for how to fix some of the errors of old, when a horde of people wandered in talking loudly in order to be heard over each other.  Classic researcher pay-attention-to-me-my-research-penis-is-bigger-than-yours increasing volume shouting.

We were about to move to another place in the bar, when I sushsed my co-worker in order to listen to a story being told which was sufficiently interesting to the horde for the yelling to die down.  It was being told in the "aren't these people idiots?" tone of voice and cadence (I know it well since I seem to use it often).  The keywords of "tritium" and "dose" were what got my attention.

He was talking about a tritium contaminated piece of land at Lawrence Berkeley Nat'l Laboratory and the interactions he'd had with various people regarding the contamination.  He'd had members of the public who wanted to talk about the ethical quality of tritium, with the implication that tritium contamination in the soil that came from medicine was good tritium but contamination as a result of research was bad tritium.  I sympathize with coping with that kind ignorance and emotion applied to things.

But then he went a step too far.

Spouting Off Idiot: "Of course, they let goats graze there.  You know what happens next?  The guys from EH&S actually collect the goat urine and test it."
Other Person: "Why do they do that?"
SOI: "Why does EH&S do anything?  They've got nothing better to do."

I put down my pint a bit loudly on the bar.  Reached in my wallet and took out a business card.  I then walked over, extended my hand, introduced myself, and offered my card.

Me: "Hi, I'm Phil.  I do radiation safety for EH&S on campus."
*crowd gets rather quiet and backs away from the two of us*
SOI: "Uh..hi."
Me: "Do have any idea what the Superfund cleanup requirements and sampling protocols are for LBL?"
SOI: "No."
Me: "Did it occur to you that the goats have been put there on purpose to collect bioaccumulation data on tritium?"
*SOI says nothing*
Me: "Perhaps you'd like to learn a bit more about it so you can speak on the topic more intelligently to your colleagues here.  You got a business card?  I'd be happy to send the folks from EH&S up at LBL your way to fill you in."
SOI: "Sorry, man."
Me: "No need to apologize to me."
*Phil returns to his drink at the bar*

Conversation was somewhat subdued after that and the party moved upstairs.  I'd killed the everyone is stupid but us buzz.
funranium: (Lazy)
Some people know the fire and electrical codes inside and out.  I swear to booze that there's this one guy at LLNL who is the goddamn Cement Listener and can tell where subsidence is going to occur and what's been poured with bad concrete mix through carpeting.  While I may know a thing or two about radiation and nuclear weapons, my true gift seems to lie in walking into empty rooms and figuring out what it had been previously used for and where to find the fuck ups.  This makes house hunting with me fun too.

Sleuthing The Remains Of Science Gone Wild )

It's not all knowing what all the equipment does.  Most of it is understanding people, particularly what happens when there's not enough time, money, and/or interest to do things right.

funranium: (Default)
Get a protective cordon of Extremely Large Black Obama-Women (ELBOW), preferably ornery union employees, to stand around you.  In the event of terrorist attack, they will handily absorb concussion, shrapnel and get up with a head-bob and "Oh no you didn't!"  When entitled sorority bitch gaggle begins acting up about not getting their way, the ELBOWs will not be having it.  Ne'er have I seen such a smack down.

Of course, it is mandatory to Get Happy.

I had a fun morning watching the inauguration at Sproul Plaza.  How about you?


Dec. 17th, 2008 07:37 pm
funranium: (Boozles)
The UC Berkeley EH&S Radiation Safety Special Spill Response Team (SSRT) responded to the Faculty Club this evening.

I happy to report that we found them entirely free of radioactive materials and radiation producing machines.  They had some volatile ethanol derivatives which I can reliably report were disposed of safely by the SSRT personnel with nary a drop spilled that could contaminate the environment.

The SSRT is awesome.  I hope to be captain one day.  It is a coveted position.
funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
I got to play with the UCPD bomb squad today as I checked out their toys and methodologies for gremlins.  Did you know the University had a bomb squad?  Neither did I, but it makes some sense when I think about it considering that it's Berkeley.

A highlight from the adventure -

*Our intrepid heroes have set up the portable x-ray unit in an equipment room deep underground lit by harsh fluorescent light.  Phil sets up the electronic dosimeter 30" from the aperture of the unit and returns to the Officer's side behind the cinderblock wall.  Phil is holding the ion chamber he has just told the officer he would be putting with the dosimeter to do measurements with.*

Officer:  Hey, weren't you supposed to leave that thing in there?
Phil *holding the ion chamber at arm's length to the doorway*:  Actually, I thought I'd see if there was going to be any dose rate where we're standing first while that thing is running.
*The Officer looks down at the trigger he is holding and then around the doorway to the x-ray unit on the floor*
Officer:  That's a damn good idea!  Why hasn't anyone ever done that during surveys with me before?
Phil:  I reckon they liked taking dose more than they liked you.
*The Officer looks at me startled and then starts laughing.*
Officer:  I can't believe you just said that.  You're an asshole, but you're my kind of asshole.  You're alright, man.  One would think your momma would've taught you not to mouth off to people with guns though.
Phil:  I've had two assault rifles trained on my head for an hour as I've done surveys before.  I gave those guys crap too but I definitely didn't make any sudden movements.

*Our players continue with and complete the survey.  Exeunt all.*

funranium: (ARISNOTHERIUM!!!)
UC Berkeley has its own hyena pack.

Not exactly what I expected to discover when I went to do an annual radiation survey today.  I was expecting to play with a finicky old fluoroscope.  This is the kind of variety I love about my job.  Former reactor bits one day, the next a Cal football player reacting to me like I was Darth Vader on the bridge of a star destroyer when I said "I'm from EH&S", and now hyenas.

It is worthy of the arsinotherium icon.

funranium: (Science Diet)

If I could get everyone with an x-ray diffraction (XRD) unit to have one of these lovely units, life would be so much easier.  No radiation leakage from the case of this beauty which means no need for dosimetry.  This is a 110V table top unit that is replacing a behemoth from the 1960's that takes up a quarter of the room with major water and electrical hookups.  While being table top is awesome, it introduces some non-radiological problems the new owner hadn't considered until I pointed them out today.  I love bullet points:
  • A small unit like this only weighs about 100lbs.  This means that one particularly strong frat boy or two hoodlum geeks could walk off with it.  No one is used to thinking of an research x-ray unit that can be doesn't need a forklift.
  • In addition to bolting it down to keep people from walking off with it, I pointed out that a unit like this would dance off the table in an earthquake.  "I suspect that would put a bit of a dent in the grant money if that happened, wouldn't it?" I asked.  The professor looked a bit pale and nodded vigorously, "You have no idea.  I'll have my lab contact secure this equipment today."
  • Even though it is tiny enough to be put on a cart and plugged in anywhere, moving it requires a fresh license with the state.  I told them not to get creative with arranging rooms, at least not in the XRD respect.
  • A fully computer controlled unit is awesome from the data analysis side of the equation.  But when I told them computer security and software were now part of their safety check, that means that they now have to involve IT to make sure everything works for inspections.  No one wants to make IT a part of their ongoing research.
Seriously, this is like being used to Radio Shack clunker radios and being presented with a Sony Walkman in the early 80s.  This is a sexy machine.  The professor was very impressed to have a safety person that was geeking out about his machine and research as much as he was.  I got an approving nod, a handshake, and a "Looking forward to working with you."
funranium: (Default)
There is a researcher who needed to get a fresh permit-to-operate for his x-ray machine, which he had been given as a gift. The snag was that his research involved human subjects. That has some extra requirements for training and certification for the operators. He didn't know what they were so he asked, not quite kindly, if I could tell him what those requirements were.

So, I burnt this morning researching what was required slapped it all together by lunch and gave him a three page long email full of links indicating what he needed to do to get up and running.

I was cordially thanked for all the work I did but he considered the requirements overwhelming. He told me to shelve my efforts on the permit so far because he'd decided to find a way to run his study without using x-rays.

Hooray, I think, for a morning of wasted effort preventing several days worth of work. The real test will be to see if he actually doesn't use the machine.
funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
If I hadn't been there having ignorance admitted to me by a grad student, I wouldn't have believed it either.

His grave assumption, which luckily does not lead to a grave, was that the isotope Cr-51 (a low energy gamma emitter) behaves pretty much like P-32 (a high energy beta emitter) in terms of radiological hazard and control.  Normally, you shield the beta from P-32 with a plexiglas (perspex for you bootlickers of the Queen) to stop them without creating a whole bunch of x-rays from bremsstrahlung.    Plastic is not generally used to stop x-rays and gamma.  Very luckily for him, his choice to use the proper shielding for P-32 isn't entirely useless in this case because Cr-51's gamma is so weak.  If he'd tried this trick with Cs-137 or Co-60...

The principal investigator in the lab saw him working in the hood with his set up and stopped him immediately, telling him that he had used the wrong kind of shielding and better call Radiation Safety right away.  So, by the time I had collected information and showed up to have him demonstrate what he was doing a few hours later he, along with his labmates, were almost sweating with panic, convinced that he had taken a medically significant, possibly career-ending dose.  The look of relief on his face when I told him, and then did the math in front of him proving it, that worst case scenario he had taken a trivial dose that we wouldn't be able to pick up on our normal dosimetry anyway made him tremndously happy.  His extra distance and the marginal help of the plastic shield would have decreased his dose even more.

He then said, with the kind of truth and candor that only a gallows reprieve can bring, that he'd never looked up anything about Cr-51, just assumed that the controls he learned for P-32 back as an undergrad would be fine, that he didn't know what the proper control techniques were, and could we please teach him.  He did this in front of at least one female lab mate that could petition to join LLNL's Strategic Hot Chicks Reserve.  To be a physics grad student admitting ignorance to a non-professor is exposing the tender pink belly to claws submission move; to do so in front of a girl when your typical route to impressing, regardless of appropriateness or likelihood of success, is scientific acumen is unheard of in my experience.  I will be checking back with this guy in the future.  I think he's got promise.

The only black cloud in the sky in this is that the PI who had approved him to work with Cr-51, while knowing the difference between beta and gamma, also doesn't have the firmest grip on how radiation actually works. 

Luckily, there are people like me.
funranium: (Rad Worker)
Working at Berkeley has forced me to pick up a new quasi-healthy habit.  If I wish to be functional in the morning, I must have a large cappuccino or any documents I try to read will just be nonsensical derivatives of Pheonician scribblings that might as well be in Pheonician.  Heaven help the poor soul that depends on my math before 10am without coffee.

This is healthy, in a sense, because Mountain Dew and Coke just don't seem to be cutting it to keep me awake and alert anymore.  I've managed to cut soda consumption down to almost nothing save that used as an adult beverage mixer.  The necessity of cappuccino means I can keep soda consumption at that level. 

Also, beer is so much healthier than soda.  I almost convinced a group of mothers a couple months ago to ditch the Cokes for their group of nine toddlers and set them up with some Leviathan Imperial Stout based on the nutrition benefits and history of beer w.r.t. water cleanliness.  Almost.  Beer, unless it is Buzz Beer, does not help with the staying awake.  There is also that whole "fit for duty" clause in my contract.

Now, one could say that I should try to get more sleep such that I do not feel fatigued in the morning.  Despite the temptation yesterday to go to bed at 7:30pm, I can't really imagine myself hitting the hay at a single digit PM hour anymore than I am thrilled about waking up at single digit AM one.  What I really want back is the free cycling of Pole.  It felt so good an comfortable to go to sleep when I was tired and wake up whenever, every day, for nine months.  I found that if left to my own devices I settle in to a sleep schedule that's only requires 5-6 hours, but typically has me going to bed around 6-8am.  Sadly, that doesn't work so well with a normal job.  Not a lot of call for graveyard shift rad safety support at UC Berkeley.  At a nuclear power plant however...

No, no, no.  Despite the camel choking quantities of money they pay and my general support of nuclear power in America, no.  Not going back to corporate hell if I can help it.  Besides, that wouldn't be free cycling either, just different hours.

In conclusion, Go Team Coffee!
funranium: (Sad)
Long ago, my dad pointed out to me that as time goes on the circle of people I associate with will become smaller and smaller and more and more global.  You start with your fellow high school shitheads that you happily bid farewell to as the first cut.  You finish in your college major and it narrows down to the other whatevers you are.  Then, assuming you do, as you climb the ziggurat lickity split Ace Rimmer style you soon find your peers consists of a fairly small group that you know by first name and you keep running into them no matter where you go.  I didn't believe him at the time.  Considering the health physics community consists of a few thousand people worldwide, I am starting to notice it happening.

Sometimes you get, or give, a reminder of those previous iterations.

I went out to the Richmond Field Station with a co-worker to check out a derelict irradiator unit which involved an awful lot of standing around and waiting for people to show up and open doors for us so we got to talking.  It seems he's from Grass Valley.  I'd been up there before courtesy of my college ex.  We were having a good time talking about those places when he stopped me and asked her name.  I told him and he had a Keanu-like "Whoa..." moment.

It seems she was in his high school graduating class, not that he really ever got to talk to her because she was one of the pretty, popular, cheerleader girls.  They both ended up at UCSC but they never really saw each other again, much like I did with most of the people from SLVHS who went to UCSC.  I then got eyed head to toe.  He had difficulty believing I had ever dated out of caste like that.  To be honest, I'd had some difficulty with it too.

I told him that it didn't last long or end happily.  He nodded sagely.  That made more sense.
funranium: (Rad Worker)
0645: I have discovered a previously unknown psychological phenomenon.  I call it Phantom Gas Pedal.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot make the train go any faster when it comes to a stop for an unknown reason for the second and third times.

0911: Due to the fact that I am the fourth person named Phil in this department (out of sixty), I was asked if I had any nicknames.  I suggested resurrecting my Pole name, Cryo.  The alternative nickname, Commodore, seemed inappropriate to explain to a room of strangers on my first day at work.  I am unaccustomed to there being more than one Phil in a group of less than a 500.

1237: A member of Greenpeace asks me if I would like to sign a petition to stop all hunting, scientific, aboriginal, or otherwise, of whales.  I ask, "Why would I want to do that?  They're delicious."  When she begins a sputtering rage at my flippancy I stop her with the statement and question, "I've tasted whale steak.  Have you?  Whaling for oil is pointless, but maybe you should see what you're going to deprive several cultures of before you try to ban them as food."  Activism remains is impervious to thought.  One would have to stop talking in order to listen.

1422: That room absolutely should not be used for radioactive anything.  No.  I will fix this as soon as I get an employee number so that I can operate a computer. 

December 2012

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