Quarantine – Week fourteen

A week in which I’m probably going to walk the dog more than write.

Monday 2020/06/15
Fixed a few bugs in some visualisation code I’ve been toying with on and off for several years. It can actually show the three projections of a volumetric data file now. Win. Now to re-work it to it’s possible to add features. This means it’ll be broken for the foreseeable future.
Walked the dog twice.
Saw a squashed stag beetle on the way home from the second walk, all the years I’ve looked for stag beetles and the only one I’ve ever seen was 20m from my front door and squashed almost flat.

Tuesday 2020/06/16
Lousy night of sleep. Too hot & too humid. Awake at 5-ish, up at 7.
Writing this. Going to take the dog out later if it’s not raining.  Took the dog over to Crouch End to visit M and go for a long walk. My first trip on a train under the new face covering rules. I made some notes:

Walking to the station : 16 masks out of >50 people
Three men on the tube with no masks – totally brazen about it. One looks like he wants a fight about it. Everyone gave them distance. Approx 4 people per 1/3 of tube carriage.

Overground from Barking, all ok to start. One fucked up guy at station before Walthamstow, ranting. Jewish lady no mask, kids with her all masked ok. Another woman wearing a mask on her chin.

We walked the parkland walk to Highgate, got takeaway Tea and walked back though the woods and playing fields to CE. Fish and chips eaten socially distanced on the green. Tea. Home.

My mask notes for the return journey:
Overground much busier, only roughly every other seat occupied. Young lady diagonally opposite me with no mask and being very blatant about it – grinning as she looks around as people get on.

District line – similar, less busy. Two young men with no masks got on together and moved to opposite end of carriage.

Despite repeated announcements on the trains, there were still people ignoring the request for face coverings, perhaps there were genuine reasons for not wearing, but I’ll never know. At least three of the people not wearing masks seemed to be doing to so make a point. No one else said anything to them, will be interesting to see if this holds when the trains a busier.

Wednesday 2020/06/17
Total waste of a day really. Almost no sleep, so really didn’t get much done at all.
Walked the dog somewhere I was sure I hadn’t been before, but saw something that made me think I had. It’s hard to second guess yourself when the first guess was 25+ years ago and you were not entirely sure back then.

Thursday 2020/06/18
A meeting on MS Teams about our impact case statement for the REF 2020 return, the reviewer hadn’t read the draft we sent, so the meeting started a bit pointless as he suggested things already addressed in the draft, we puled it together in the end and got some useful advice.

Still not sure about a return to the lab date yet.

Handlebar-post-thing extender arrive for the bike, fitted it, but have several bits left over including two very long screws that seem to go nowhere. Took the bike for a ride, much nicer now.

Friday 2020/06/19
Pottering on some code today. Should have been going on holiday.

Saturday 2020/06/20
Longest day of the year.
I’m planning to cycle to work for a few months or longer depending on transport situation and the possibility of second- and third waves. Last time I cycled to work was well over a decade ago and the journey involves part of the A13, until I can switch to the Greenway at Beckton.
The ride to Beckton was much nicer with proper cycle paths segregated from the road. Exactly 30 min from home to the start of the Greenway.
I also built an oscillator.

Sunday 2020/06/20
A day spent tinkering with code and the oscillator. Rebuilt it to be less messy and more stable.

Took the dog for a long walk.

Quarantine – Week thirteen

Live Updates?

Monday 2020/6/08
Royal Society of Chemistry meeting via Zoom to kick the week off. Seemed to go well, but we did miss the catered lunch. For once I’m slightly ahead of my commitments to the group, so I just need to wait for my co-author’s draft to arrive and I can add in my content.
No sign of my bike parts yet, so I’ll travel to M’s via Overground – it seems to be empty. Mask up!

Walked to Barking station, I’d estimate about 1/3 of the people I saw on the way had a mask on, or a scarf covering their lower faces. The overground train had just been cleaned as I boarded it. I got a seat right in a corder and had a third of a carriage to myself all the way to Crouch Hill. Almost everyone I could see on the train had a mask on.

The walk from Crouch Hill to Hornsey was different, I past over a hundred people (I stopped counting at 100) and saw only 19 masks, 6 including myself on men.

Return journey I saw no masks on the way back to the station, barely any on the Overground and only a few when back in Dagenham.

Tuesday 2020/6/09
Woken at 3:30 am by the neighbour’s dogs barking. Got back to sleep soon after. Just back from a quick visit to the shops for supplies. Now, email.
Completely screwed up cooking dinner, the grill was on instead of the oven, so the outside of things was perfect while the inside was still semi-frozen. Into the microwave with it all to finish it off. Recorded the practical segments of the next Lockdown Conservation Science video.

Wednesday 2020/6/10
I seem to wake up 3:30 – 4am by default the days, from then I’m usually napping until I give up and get up. Today will be video editing and running a practise viva for a student.
Viva practise was plagued by tech issues, but we got there in the end, hopefully it as useful. Later call with head of dept confirmed what I already knew, labs will reopen on July 2nd and there is a hiring freeze, so no prospect for a job change before Jan 2021. My bike parts ordered last week have gone astray.

Thursday 2020/6/11
Missed an Australian seminar because I forgot to set an alarm to wake up in time.
The dog is much happier when not going for a walk in the rain.

Managed to trip the electricity off with a water spill, this necessitated pulling out a cupboard to get to the damp plug and dealing with all the fluff and dust that accumulates in places that get hoovered about one per year due to inaccessibility. Will see if the RCD will reset in the morning.

Friday 2020/6/12
My iTelescope images should be in today. The nights are too short and the sky is too bright anyway at this time of year to do much deep sky astronomy from the garden, so I have invested in a remote telescope subscription (iTelescope) and will use much nicer kit than I can afford in places with much much darker skies than I’ll ever manage to get my astronomy fix. The first two images should be just simple 5min exposures (black and white) of the Ring Nebula (captured by myself a couple of weeks back, and featuring in one of these quarantine posts) , the send image should be of the Galaxy Centaurus A – a very impressive galaxy only really visible from the southern hemisphere.

Saturday 2020/6/13
The images from Friday were a little under-whelming, clouds form even in Australia. iTelescope has an automatic refund system, which is hand – I managed to get a full refund for the first two images and I shall try again.
Cycled to Halfords at Chadwell Heath to get the parts I need for the bike, after deliveries failed to materialise. There was a small queue to enter and the guy on the door was directing people to specific parts of the shop based on what they needed. I intended to get a front fork extender, but was dissuaded by the sales person who claimed they are dangerous – he wasn’t trying to up-sell me anything instead, so I purchased a helmet and new bike lock and left to have a re-think. My back brake failed on the way home which made the journey that much more exciting.
Ordered a better specc’ed extender later in the afternoon.
Fixed a large bug in some code just after midnight.

Sunday 2020/6/14

Well, I kept up the pseudo-live updating for 5 days. Not too bad.
I seem to have spent most of today taking the dog for walks.

Quarantine – Week twelve

History in real-time.

Monday 2020/6/01

I’ve been in my current job 11 years today. I’ve mostly worked on the REF case study today.
Spent the day blocking adverts on Twitter and processed images of the moon taken a few days ago. Probably the last of the astro images for a while, as the nights are too short and too bright to do any useful imaging.

The Moon on May 29th 2020
The Moon on May 29th 2020

Tuesday 2020/6/02
Discussions about REF document. Mentor session with student and plans to set up a mock viva for her next week. Long evening chat with CCFS staff about upcoming year.

Wednesday 2020/6/03
This day occurred, lots of news happened (and has been happening for  couple of weeks)  I’m not the right person to write about it. It doesn’t help I’m writing these posts days later.

Thursday 2020/6/04
Took the dog for a long walk over the park. Managed to find part of the path of a stream I’m semi-convinced flows under the park. Will do some more research on this when I can access the library again.

While out, twitter blew up, I’d RT a female engineer & academic who had tweeted about fixing her TV volume. I thought it a neat hack. She got a bit of a pile on from some followers of mine who can’t read and proceeded to tell her how to do analog electronics – she teaches it at university level FFS! Apologised for the idiots attracted by the RT and blocked the worst of them.

Friday 2020/6/05
Today really felt like a Saturday.
Went for a run, my lungs were on fire. It’s depressing how quickly you lose lung capacity if you don’t exercise for a while. Had a three hour Teams chat with Jason and Marion in the evening.

Saturday 2020/6/06
Did some of the work I should have done yesterday. Went out for some groceries, social distancing and masks seem to be holding in the co-op.
Spent rather a lot of the day working out how to migrate this site away from WordPress. I decided on WordPress 16 years ago when I started this website up – the plan was to use that while I worked on Amorphia – my own CMS. Amorphia never really went anywhere and WordPress stayed installed. I think I’m closer to being able to ditch it now, but I’m not entirely there yet.

Sunday 2020/6/07
Slept late. Went for a shorter run, lungs easier; lots of standing water in the park where I think the stream runs – more evidence for it I think. I did some engineering on the bike pedals to take off some of the spikes for safety. Finished off the script for the next conservation video.

Quarantine – Week eleven

The ongoing train wreck just ploughed through the burning orphanage and is headed for the oil refinery.

Monday 2020/5/25
Speculation is rife that Dominic Cummings will resign / not resign. He’s giving a speech from the garden of Number 10 later. Most irregular.
Later : We’re fucked. People will now do just what they want.

Imaged the Ring Nebula. Was surprised how bright it is, visible in even a 30sec exposure

The Ring Nebula. the remains of a star they died around 5000 years ago.
The Ring Nebula. the remains of a star they died around 5000 years ago.

Tuesday 2020/5/26
Did some experiments with some simple wireless sensor networks

Wednesday 2020/5/27
More wireless network experiments. Discovered after several hours of debugging that I only has transmitters on the network, nothing was set as a receiver, so the network never formed. Everything was just shouting into the void. I know the feeling.

Thursday 2020/5/28

Friday 2020/5/29
Happy Oak Apple Day.

Saturday 2020/5/30
Finished a three-night imaging session on the Bubble Nebula. Time to find a new target.
The government still hasn’t fallen.

My uncle Richard died. Complications of heart surgery.

NGC6735, The Bubble Nebula
NGC6735, The Bubble Nebula

Sunday 2020/5/31
Fixed my long neglected bike.  Took it for a ride, about three miles, a lap of the park and some surrounding streets. It needs a new seat and also a handlebar extension.

Quarantine – Week Ten

Plans that either come to naught, or half a page of scribbled lines.

Monday 2020/5/18
Another day I should have been away with M. Builders did more on kitchen. Camping upstairs while they work. Found an old circuit I’d made as part of a radio I planned to build. Never did get around to finishing it.

Tuesday 2020/5/19
Students had their formal exam. Seemed to go OK. Staff meeting in evening where I picked up three questions to mark or second mark.

I also re-imaged SN2020jfo in M61, a week after my first images to see how it was progressing. Brightness seems about the same, so it’s not fading yet.

Supernova SN2020jfo in M61
Supernova SN2020jfo in M61

Wednesday 2020/5/20
Started marking the exam questions. Using the TopHat exam and tutoring system, seems to go well.

Started to image the Leo Triplet galaxies, probably a bit too late in this season, as they are already passing the meridian as the sky is darkening enough to start imaging. Has planned to get about 5-6 hours on these this night, but the clouds rolled in just after midnight

Work in progress shot of the Leo Triplet of galaxies. Really need 6+ hours to do this justice, this was just under two hours due to clouds
Work in progress shot of the Leo Triplet of galaxies. Really need 6+ hours to do this justice, this was just under two hours due to clouds

Thursday 2020/5/21
A few meetings about marking for the exam. Most of day seemed to be taken up with meeting. Most heavily laden bookshelf decided to start to come away from the wall. Urgent unshelving of books needed. Weeded the collection a little too.

Friday 2020/5/22
Final exam grades submitted. Shelf fixed back to the wall. Reshelving occurring. Useful exercise really, as I found a couple of books I knew I ad, but hadn’t seen in years due to the stacking on that self.

Saturday 2020/5/23
Watched Greg Jenner (Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity from Bronze Age to Silver Screen) at the online Hay festival. More bookshelf work

Sunday 2020/5/24
Took the dog for a walk, got dive bombed by swifts in the park.
Watched Adam Rutherford (How to argue with a racist) at Hay Festival.