Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Just an Update

Hello All,

Note: Sorry that it has been so long since I updated the blog, I have been very busy. As you will probably notice I have backdated the last two entries to when they were from, instead of when I actually got time to posting them.

Since I got back from the trip last weekend, almost all of my time has been spent in the lab. We started out the week by finishing all the purifications from the week before, and then started one of the alkylation reactions. This is a bit exciting for me because the molecule is finally starting to become more complex. And if you squint and look at in just the right way, it is starting to look like one of the target molecules. The only problem is that these reactions take FOREVER. Or at least forever from me. This one actually takes almost an entire week. And to make it worse, we only have the equipment to have one of these reactions going at a time.

To keep me from getting bored Yamamishi (in Japan people mainly go by their last name), decided we would do another reaction to make some starting materials to do a different alkylation. I didn’t mind, the procedure was very close to the reaction that I have now done at least five or six time so I though “oh, piece of cake.” I will get this done in a little over a day, and then have some free time. By the end of the second day of purification, I was starting to get a little frustrated, but I don’t give up very easily. I did get worried till I told Dr. Arduengo what we were trying to do and he told me that they had always had trouble with this reaction. He helped us get it more pure, and then Gabi and Dr Arduengo. told me that the melting point of our compound is below room temp. so we would never get crystals, and be able to keep them cold enough to filter and wash them. Oh well, I learned a good lesson this week.

It started raining Thursday night and has been raining off and on since then. It has been very nice; accept for the times when it has been pouring while I walk home. I started looking around trying to get a picture of while it was raining, and I found a spot in the chem. building where I can see the place where I am living. You probably have to zoom in too see it, but it is to the upper left of the pond.
(click to see large size)

It stopped for a bit on Saturday and I decided that I’d better get my laundry done before it started again. I put on my last clean pair of socks that morning, so I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. I figured it would be exactly like doing it in my dorm but I was wrong. First, there were about seven or eight choices in vending machine, and all I wanted was a little package of soap. They were all little boxes with only Japanese words, so I am still not too sure if it was soap that I bought. Washing the clothes went fine, but the drying didn’t go so well. I put the clothes in the dryer, and came back 30 minutes later to find the dryer had stopped and the clothes were still soaking wet. I learned that for 100 yen (about a dollar) you get ten minutes of drying time, but most of the Japanese people have little things to hang their clothes outside. Well, I didn’t have a way to hang them outside so they have been all over my room, and the clothes I put on this morning were still damp. Oh well.

Sunday came and it was raining again. I thought that I told the guy I went to church with that I wanted to go again, but I waited out in the rain for 20 minutes and Decided that I must have been mistaken. I tried to call him that morning, and realized that I still don’t know how to make the phone work. I had the number, but I pushed every button, and never got a dial tone. I talked to him later that day and he said that he didn’t even go that morning. Later in the day, I went to the Yukata festival. A Yukata is a kimono that girls wear in the spring. I didn’t think many people would be there because of the rain, it was actually pretty big. There was a stage with bands playing, and there were tons of little booths selling all types of food. I actually had some kind of Egyptian kabob, and it was great. Inside they had displays of photographs and calligraphy, and there were some people performing inside as well. There was a magician, a person juggling, and someone balancing spinning plates. All-in-all, it was a pretty good time.

Well, I guess that is it for now, hopefully I will have enough time that I will be able to make more frequent updates.

Till next time,

PS I am still trying to figure out what to do this weekend, if anybody has any suggestions or any thought, please feel free to tell me. Right now, I am trying to decide on one or two of the following:

Those of you that know me know I always have trouble making up my mind so tell me what you think.


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