Thursday, February 17, 2005

On a better note...

Hey All,

I just re-read my last entry and thought I'd write something to cheer you all (well, me) up. The instrument is now back online, with only 48hrs awake and a few extra grey hairs to show for it. No closer to understanding the cause, but should be there soon with any luck.

The few good things that have happened: I 'learned' to drive a snowmobile yesterday. Learned is in quotes as all it takes is sitting in front, holding the handlebars and squeezing the throttle. Oh, and point it in the right direction.

If you look on my 'walk to work' when you go in the doors of MAPO you see the bright shiny yellow cabinet doors of the Liquid Nitrogen plant. In winter (now actually) it is too cold to park the snowmobiles outside, you can't start them again. So we drive it in the doors to the annex to keep it warm. On Sunday, Allan and one of the guys from the QUAD experiment were starting the skidoo inside, and flooded the engine. One of them had the string-pull, then the other pressed the throttle. Problem was it was in gear. The skidoo screams forward, straight into a 500L liquid helium dewar (and that stuff is more precious than gold down here) which was driven straight into the front of the yellow-doored nitrogen plant. The whole thing skidded backwards about two feet and the front now looks like it was in a bingle in the local shopping centre carpark. It was all very embarrassing - I was working ten metres away and didn't even poke my head out the door at the crash and the hissing of cryogens (I just thought someone had dropped a nitrogen dewar). Whoops.

It was a miracle no one was hurt, and since the nitrogen plant proved itself by not even stopping running while having a skidoo ram a 300kg tank into it, it is now simply hilariously funny, and I am giving Allan a hard time about it. Last year he was telling Justus off for putting stuff on top of the yellow plant and scratching the paint!

The weather has eased, today felt so warm, -40C and nearly no wind. Sunbaking weather!

Now that I am a certified skidoo hoon, I'll give you some updates on our travels. Soon I'll put up some photos of all the loons I mention in my missives, to give you some faces, nationalities and jobs to go with the names.

hope you are all well and happy,
smiles
Jess

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