Eleanor Blair (lnr) wrote,
Eleanor Blair

A day in the life.

A community I read has challenged us to write a day in our own lives, after a conversation about Alexa Cheung's piece in The Times yesterday. This got too long for a comment, so I figured I'd post it here instead and link to it. Here's my day yesterday:

Yesterday was a bit of an odd day. Started fairly normally: alarm goes off at 7:25 and I hit snooze. After a brief cuddle Mike gets up and dressed and goes and has breakfast and then leaves the house just before 8. I tend to stay in bed a bit longer, since I don't need to be in to work as early as he does, and when I do get out of bed I just get dressed, sometimes faff a bit, and leave on the bike.

I think yesterday I must have left around 8:35, as I got into the office at 9 and it's about a 25 minute ride (4.4 miles), I usually arrive some time between 8:30 and 9 anyway. I ate a sandwich from the vending machine at my desk for breakfast - a bad habit but a common one. Then I did a quick pass through my mail, leaving the postmaster mail for later, printed out the minutes of last month's regular meeting and then went off for this month's meeting at 9:30, which for a miracle actually finished on time.

I always go up to the common room after this meeting for coffee, which runs from 10:30 til 11. I don't tend to bother all the time as mostly they're doing the crossword and I'm not very good at it. I helped with one clue this time, which was better than nothing. And of course I had a cup of coffee and also cake. And since I was up there anyway I bought my lunch from the little canteen: sandwich, drink and packet of crisps: I skipped the usual cup of soup since it would have been cold by lunchtime.

Back in the office I got various routine things done, including processing all the junk mail received over night to improve our email filters. This is a losing battle really, and an increasingly pointless one. I stopped at around 1pm for lunch and read LJ and facebook and things while I ate at my desk. At 2 it was time to head into town for another meeting run for techies at the Computing Service. They try to run them once a month or so during term time, but they're rarely of interest to me personally. This one was organised by the Departmental IT Management Group's Security subgroup (of which I'm a member) so I felt like I ought to go along. The first half was quite a technical talk, about network security at a fairly low level (ARP, DHCP, port security) and while the chap did manage to raise a few laughs I didn't think he was a great speaker. He rambled on a bit and then skipped bits of slides because he'd mentioned them already, and I think the talk was aimed a bit too lowest common denominator for most of the room (it was a bit basic in places even for me, and could have gone a lot faster and I'm emphatically not a network specialist). The second chap however had come from JANET (the uk academic network) to talk about legal aspects of system administration, and he was really really good. He was funny, topical, kept to his well-prepared slides, pitched it well to the audience (he's a graduate of Cambridge, which probably helps) and informative. Excellent.

The meeting finished just after 4, and I dashed back to the office to finish off the routine stuff, as I'd arranged to leave early today to be at Addenbrooke's by about 4:30. Normally I'd work through until 5:30 from a 9am start, and often later but that makes up for any slacking during the day. Thankfully I'd originally said 4:30-5 though, as it was 4:35 before I got off, and very nearly 5 by the time I'd got lost in the hospital itself (it's more or less on my way home, depending on what route I take). The reason I was there was to have a look around before deciding if I wanted to volunteer to take part in a couple of studies they're doing: the first involves an overnight stay so they can take your basal metabolic rate when you wake up by measuring how much oxygen you convert into carbon dioxide using a hood over your head/shoulders. The other involves a 36 hour stay in a room which measures the same thing for the whole time you're in there, with a fixed program of sleeping, eating, and exercise times. They also use a special sort of x-ray to look at where on your body fat is deposited, and use a machine in which you sit in your swimming cozzie and displace air to work out your exact volume. These things let them have a good idea of what they'd *expect* your metabolism to be like. Both of these studies are collecting data on as many people as possible to be a control group, so if you're in Cambridge 17-65 and under 20 stone and interested let me know.

We finished about 5:45, having made an appointment to do the shorter study at the beginning of November. Cycled the rest of the way home and got back to find Mike playing WoW, which is not unusual. Joined him in the study and caught up on geek stuff some more: enjoying the feminism comments. Mike put the football on, and we were both pleased when Stevie G scored the first goal for England (not that Mike's a big liverpool fan or anything). At half time we went down and Mike put pizza on for tea and then put the radio back on on the telly to hear the second half. And between us we managed to put up the new curtains at the patio doors, despite one of the threads snapping when we were gathering them. Argh. They look nice though.

When the football finished we watched Scuzz for half an hour or so (rock/metal music channel on freesat) and then turned over to BBC HD for episode 4 of Heroes. Definitely enjoying this series. Then to bed to read for a bit and lights out at 11:11 (I noticed because it was a cute time).

Edit: Actually I may as well include the advert which I replied to in order to get involved with the studies:

From: "Pip Raymond-Barker" <pr328@medschl.cam.ac.uk>
Newsgroups: ucam.adverts.wanted
Subject: Healthy volunteers wanted for body composition and energy 
         expenditure research
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2008 09:30:52 +0100

We are looking for healthy volunteers aged between 17 and 65 to join a panel 
of control subjects for our research studies of body composition and energy 
expenditure.  Studies take place in the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research 
Facility at Addenbrookes Hospital and vary in duration from an overnight 
stay to up to three days.  We shall give you feedback on body composition 
and energy expenditure results.  All food is provided, and you will be 
compensated in appreciation of your help with our research.  If you would 
like to know more, please email Pip Raymond-Barker at 
crf-volunteer@medschl.cam.ac.uk or call 01223 596077.  We will be delighted 
to meet you, show you round the facility and tell you about our projects.
Tags: life

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