A flurry of flurries

Well, I suppose it’s not exactly **rocking** the Northeast, but it’s definitely snowing again. From inside the house, it didn’t look like very formidable snow. However, after a thorough cleaning of the sidewalks and the car, a single intervening half-hour was all that was required to covere everything in snow again.

Traffic wasn’t all that bad this morning; getting to the Alewife train station took a reasonable period of time, given the weather. Now that I’m nestled in an office here at MIT, all that lazy snow drifting lazily from the sky is a very lovely sight.

All right, enough commentary on the weather! After quite a bit of progress on my work yesterday, I’m hoping to tie some loose ends this morning and really hammer on the physics of my simulations this afternoon. If I have some cool pictures of the simulation, I’ll likely stick them here later.

Back in Boston, Despite the Weather

Despite the bad winter storm that dumped upwards of 35 inches of snow in New England, I was able to get back to Boston yesterday with few flight delays. After an uneventful first leg of the trip from San Fran to Chicago (Midway), we were delayed by a half-hour. We made that up pretty easily in the air, thanks to a strong tailwind.

The fun really began in Boston. We sat on the runway for quite a bit until a gate opened. After that, it was a long wait at the curb for the 22 bus, which runs from the B terminal to the Blue Line train station. The most entertaining part of this episode was surely the interaction between the illegally parked cars picking up passengers and the State Trooper.

There were easily 10-12 cars parked in the curb space reserved for rental car shuttles, courtesy vans, and public buses. This behavior forced the buses to stop in the middle of the road, unable to pull up to the curb. Travelers the had to wade through ankle-deep slush and mud to get across the road to their waiting bus.

Then comes the State Cop. He pulls up in an SUV, lights twirling and siren honking and whooping. Then he gets on the PA and starts asking — nicely, for someone who didn’t have to be nice — people to get out of that area as they were illegally parked. There was one guy, also in an SUV, who just refused to move. So the trooper pulls up along side him, flashes the lights and whoops the siren a few times. He barks on the loudspeaker. Finally, the guy pulls away from where he was blocking the courtesy van curb, moves up about 75 feet, and parks in the public bus curb.

Well, that was the end of it for the trooper. He cuts the guy off, hits the lights, and storms out of his vehicle. He barks the man out of the SUV, walks him around the back of the car (where we all have a clear view of him) and chews him out right in front of everybody. If we could have applauded through all our luggage and mittens, we would have!

After a set of long changes between trains, I finally arrived at Alewife station (north end of the Red Line). Gabriella’s husband, Masahiro, picked me up at the station and we headed back to their house for dinner.

Today, it’s going to be a nice, long, full day of neutrino veto simulation development!!!!

Preparing for the return to MIT

This has been one hell of a week. After a weekend of hopping planes and renting cars, I showed up at MIT on Tuesday ready to settle down for three weeks of neutrino physics. The lump in my left eyelid, however, was a serious concern to me. What didn’t help the situation was that the RNC at MIT medical who looked at it was all set to send me to opthamology and/or surgery.

That worried me enough that I got on a plane the next day and headed back to California, where I wouldn’t have to pay full price for healthcare. That’s right — the great American privatized healthcare system at work. The lump in the eye wasn’t enough for admission to a Boston emergency room (did I really want to spend a night waiting at a Boston-area ER anyway?). So I had to spend good money to fly back to California to see my doctor.

It turned out to be a harmless cyst, leftover from some undetected long-past infection in my eye. It’ll be months of hot compresses three times daily until it goes away (or a quick surgery to scoop out the scar tissue forming the cyst, if heat doesn’t work). So thank goodness for simple lumps in the eyelid, I guess.

To add insult to injury, I caught a delightful cold the day I left for California. At the time, that left me with a lump in one eyelid, a runny nose, and deaf in one ear thanks to pressure changes disagreeing with my congestion. Thanks to Nyquil, at least I finally got an unbroken night of sleep!

After all of this, I’m chomping at the bit. I’ve been looking forward to my time at MIT for months, and I want to get back. After a nice weekend with my wife (spent avoiding the bad winter storms in Boston, mind you) I’ll be returning to the East coast to put my mind tightly into the issue of simulating our future neutrino detector’s veto system.