Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Frichalak Wedding, Traverse City Michigan.

During the last weekend of September, myself and several of the Berkeley crew (Colette, Delphine and Tim) made the trip East to the shores of Lake Michigan for the wedding of Julie and Dave. It was a classic; it had hats (of the foam cowboy variety and the Canadian 'chapeau' type), plenty of Dave's (see photo bottom middle) including the father and grandfather of the bride, champagne (from the Napa Valley, California) of course, swimming in the 55F Lake Michigan, giant pumpkins (in the forecourt of a gas station, don't ask me), parkour with martinis (cosmopolitan ones as i recall) and of course a great wedding with the best vows I have ever heard! Once I get hold of more photos I will post them!

The only other small thing to mention is that i missed my first flight (missed the shuttle bus from the hotel by a whole 3 minutes) and that cause a few knock on effects which resulted in me arriving back at Blodgett some 30 hours late (after forcing Mike and Delphine to stay overnight in Reno to wait for me) and with a replacement hire car after the first got dinked proper by some huge SUV outside Reno airport....ruining my until that point clean driving licence! Boo..



BEARPEX field campaign - Blodgett Forest

For the past 10 weeks I have been hauled up in the woods about 2 hours North East of Berkeley as part of the BEARPEX campaign. The site was located in Blodgett Forest, 2 miles away from
UC Berkeley's Forestry headquarters. The field deployment was focussed on studying the effects of the biogenic (natural vegetation) emissions from a predominantly Ponderosa Pine forest. The tower site is shown in photo 1 (and the view fromt he new tower at sunset is shown in photo 4), the new tower in the foreground to the right and the original tower in the background to the left. The deployment was long compared with other field campaigns that I had previously been involved with and there was barely time to keep up with the outside world. The purpose of the extended length was in principal to get enough weekends so as have good statistics for looking at the weekend/weekday differences. As it turns out it was necessary in order to overcome several major logistical problems mostly relating to power or should I say the lack of power. All this stemmed from changing the main site generator from diesel to propane. After two weeks or so these initial hiccups were overcome and the site was fully up and running.

There were some great people (graduate students, postdocs and principal investigators) from 9 different institutions from across the United States and these folks certainly helped to make the time pass more quickly and of course Stumpy Meadows (photo 2) - our local swimming hole. It was not all work, work, work and I got introduced to 'beerpong' - a US 'frat house' favourite on more than a few occasions, including a battleships versions (photo 3). The premise is simply you fill cups with beer at either end of a long table and then attempt to throw a ping pong ball into your opponents cups which they then have to drink. The first team to lose all their cups has to drink the remnants of their opponents. In principle a genius drinking game, except for the fact that we sucked at it and the games lasted far too long for anyone to actually get drunk! Glenn elected himself as social secretary and illustrated how much extra time you have when you only measure 3 things...sorry Glenn! But he did do a sterling job, from mulitple Beer pong adventures, to movie night and drinking with the dude (the big lebowski) - I felt pretty rough after that one, damn you natural ice! Already looking forward to the repeat offences likely in phase II next summer....NOT!!

Sorry to everyone for the lack of communication over the past few months, the satellite internet connection in the woods was terrible at best. Fortunately, I am now back in civilization and back on the grid so hopefully I will be able to catch up with you all soon.