Wednesday, August 5, 2009

of metal poles and matlab

First, the work: My work in lab has fallen into a pretty regular routine (which will most likely end next week). I have spent most mornings recording subjects, most afternoon doing a little data clean-up and analysis, with a little time left for reading. Today we had our 18th subject, which means we are almost done collecting data. One of my supervisors, who has been here for the past three weeks and knows how to run the EEG analysis in Matlab, will be leaving on Friday, and has been working to get the analysis of this part of the data running smoothly, because without him there is little I can do in that area. Once he leaves, my other supervisor will come back Monday morning, we will do the tail end of the data analysis (which will rely more on Excel—more familiar lands) and then I will just read and write until I can read and write no more. Actually, in a week and a half I have a presentation coming up in the lab,which will be quite intimidating—to stand in the place of competent speakers, in front of two labs that love to ask questions… I’d rather not think about it now. And after that, my time here will be almost up!

Last week, of course, was also the wonderful Bern trip to the American Embassy. The city was lovely, as was our mini-tour around the old city and demonstrations of time. We SRP folk showed up a bit early and walked around the city for an hour before the official meeting time. We also stayed a bit into evening. My only regret is not seeing the art museum... I will certainly have to go back (on a Tuesday night, when it is open late, perhaps).

Now, the play: this past weekend I went to Lyon with a few companions. Being France, the city certainly had a different feel to it than any place here so far. I got to know it very intimately when, glued to the map, I managed to walk straight into a large metal lamppost on the University Bridge, leaving a sizable booboo on my forehead and a bruise on my knee that is still evoking questions and cringes four days later. As this was my first pole encounter in life, it managed to snag first place in my list of most memorable things about Lyon. We also saw a few of their museums (the Marionette one was interesting, but somehow it failed to tap into the fascination I had with puppets at a slightly younger age; the art museum also had some nice sculptures). The ornate churches all managed to have pretty different character. The town center was full of quirky/monumental sculptures. Our hotel was just grand, just grand.

This week has otherwise disappeared into exhaustion and sleep. Perhaps its last two days will stand out more. Now there are only three weeks left. My plan for this weekend is still hazy. Next weekend, my parents are using me as an excuse to visit Switzerland, and I was going to use them as a way to see Salzburg, but they don't want to drive that far, so now the plan is to see Zermatt, Lugano, Locarno.. After that, I believe there is a Basel trip planned. In between, I will be writing writing writing my research up, and hopefully find time during the week to visit one or two local museums I have yet to see and some nearby towns, like Nyon. This is the way things have been.


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