Actinometry geekiness and some deep, dark desires.

We have two lamps. These two lamps are crucial to the semiconductors project, in which we are testing how TiON will photochemically react to degrade several pollutants in water.

Now, I don’t know the technical names for these lamps, but I think one is a mercury arc lamp. It shall be known as the Trash Can Lamp, because the merry-go-round reactor is set up in a trash can with a felt covering to keep out other light. It (theoretically) has a strong ultraviolet (UV) output.

Our second lamp shall be called the Little Lamp. Its output is mostly in the visual spectrum, and we suspect very little hits the UV ranges. It’s in a cardboard box, also with a felt covering.

Actinometry is the use of chemical means to determine the intensity of a light source. Essentially, we mix up solutions (pyridine and para-nitroanisole solutions) whose rates of degradation under UV light have been studied. Then we stick a batch in with our lamps and take samples periodically for the next few hours. The samples are run through the HPLC to determine the remaining amount of pyridine for each timepoint. It should decrease.

I’ve been doing this for the past three days. (Hence the blogging increase.)

Our Trash Can Lamp, which should have been able to completely degrade the pyridine in 90 minutes, didn’t even half-life the solutions on Monday. Low intensity output, then. This means we need a new lamp, and we need to critically examine its power supply before we use it in either Jenn’s or my/P.’s experiments.

Tuesday, the Little Lamp ran our samples for five damn hours, and didn’t degrade it appreciably at all.

So yesterday I ran it for about six hours. Day three of “warm up lamp, make reaction solution, get solution in box/stirrer on/light focused, take time point 0, calculate the intervals for sample taking, read chemistry papers and blog until next time point, hoping Dr. M. doesn’t pay me a visit with actual work for me to do.” Because I’m low on mental energy for real chemistry this week. I’m apparently low on energy for math this week, too, because I basically sat through a 1.5 hour meeting with the cool Regressions Guy yesterday and stared at the backs of my hands. I don’t even know that I have the energy to do computer things this week, aside from starting my little workout blog Tuesday.

My mind is on social things and non-technical things and life things. I want to help C. do whatever it takes to make herself a little more at peace with herself and her situation, so her work will go smoother and life will be better.

I want to work on my own social situation, so I’m not so tense and pissed at home life and so that I’m not trying to take it out on the track (and my legs) every morning. This will either require a point-blank discussion or some mental restructuring on my part. The last time I tried the “mental restructuring” bit (or really, just the “keep it to myself” bit), I ended up living out of the Thorn office. I frequently find that in order for a discussion to do any good, the other person would have to change their mentality/actions, and it’s just not my place to ask that of anyone other than myself. So mental restructuring it is.

I want to get over this damnable crush so that I can stop being shy and feel comfortable entering a new friendship with no expectations other than a good, easy-going time. Because going into a relationship with crush-esque types of expectations or assumptions is bad news all around for getting things off the ground. We’re both strong-willed, determined people fully capable of reading people and situations. Should things reach a point where they could become something more than friendship, which is rather unlikely, I’m sure we’re both qualified to notice it and act on it. Until then, we have a good time.

See, now I feel settled enough to pay him a visit. This whole blog thing has its benefits.

I want to read. Not papers on photocatalysts, but Wolfram and Schilling-Estes’s book, and then Chomsky’s book, and then Pinker’s other book that I picked up.

I would like to actually stop working at 17:00 for an entire night without feeling the press of the mere handful of weeks remaining to my summer to get so many [unspecified] things done.

I would like to climb behind the wheel of a car, roll down the windows, get music going, and hit the highway–go up to whatever exit is thirty-ish miles up the highway, then come back. I want to cruise, even just to Wal-mart, with wind tickling the back of my neck and in companionable silence with some friend. Actually, I just want to fucking drive. I can run until my legs and feet are shaky and my lungs have collapsed, and it doesn’t replace the feeling of highway driving.

I want to go out and be rowdy with friends. Coffee dates with the girls seem to induce more stress than they resolve, and they’re really rather calm, mature events. I want to pile into Michael’s van with various Charlotte friends, buy doughnuts, waste gas excessively driving around town, and generally be loud and raucous and immature and tell dirty jokes and do whatever it is we do when we get together (which is what, exactly?).

I guess I feel like my summer is slipping away very, very quickly, and I have little to show for it. I knew this was a possibility with the research taking up a seven-week block of my summer, and I still signed up for it, but I’m feeling rather down anyway. I need a form of release, and, apparently, either running isn’t getting it for me, or just an hour isn’t long enough to get that release. I might try an hour and half to two hours on Saturday when I’m free to romp without a time restriction.

Things will come to a head soon, I’m sure. I will either get nasty and bitchy with someone and get my ass handed to me, I will get into a physical fight (unless Luke is up for another round, this is unlikely), I will work off my tension in some unforseeable manner, or the summer will end and school will begin.

But I do feel better just writing about it.


  • Luke


    Do you really need to be beaten that badly, again? I mean really…do you think you can handle all of this? :p

    Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe…I’m evil…I know.

  • Lissa


    Heh. Handle all of *what*? Hmph.

    Remember, all I have to do is tire you out without getting my arms wrenched out of their sockets or a rib broken, and I think that’ll qualify as a tie.

  • Michael

    i don know either

    i fell like i have nothing to show 4 the summer as well. damn. u’ve dun all this cool research, and i’ve busted my ass and spent all the money (not really all of it).

    what is it exactly we do when we get together? I always wonder that when i start missing every1, i wonder, “what is it we do?” so that i might do it with others round the Thrill, but then I realize, that it’s very unlikely that everyone up here will b n2 drunken orgies in the park where TGM must b plzed 1st.

  • Lissa


    You are so bad, Michael. And, just to be incredibly sappy, I’d say it’s just us chilling that makes our time so fun. That and the immaturity. I miss the immaturity, and I can only get that with Mae or Bob here, but the environment is all different.

    See, now, I wouldn’t want to be drunk during an orgy. If I’m going to do the sensory overload thing, I want to be fully cognizant of what I’m doing and what I’m feeling. And that bit about pleasing you first is just disturbing, Sir. You can cut that out right now. [|D]