12 April 2014

Gratitude, Part 34 (Apr. 5 - 11, 2014)

 1. Surprise breakfast from my wife (Apr. 7, 2014)
  2. Helpful notice from my wife that I needed to cover my bike to protect it from incoming weather (Apr. 7, 2014)
  3. Jerry's Cakes & Donuts
  4. Fun conversation at Beer & Bible (Apr. 6, 2014)
  5. Finished planning class for the remainder of the semester
  6. Enjoyable lunch with Pres. Wilson, award-winning physics students, and the co-spokesperson of LUX
  7. Informative presentation from a SD Public Utilities Commissioner
  8. Good conversation about possible outreach opportunities to K-12 students
  9. Wonderful dinner with good friends (Apr. 11, 2014)
  10. Our friends' oldest son Matthew gave me a hug
  11. Meeting our good friends new baby (2 weeks old) for the first time (Apr. 11, 2014)
  12. Holding the new baby (Oliver)
  13. Learned more about my colleagues
  14. The latest episode of Cosmos, which I watched online.
  15. Wrote my first letter of recommendation
  16. Submitted a seed grant proposal a day early
  17. Learned that we do not like a particular restaurant
  18. More free evenings now that band rehearsal is done for the semester
  19. Books ordered for my class in Fall Semester
  20. Our friend Laura passed her Master's defense
  21. I was able to attend Laura's defense
  22. Attended part of the Honors convocation and congratulated our award-winning physics students in person
  23. T-shirt from the High Plains Regional Science & Engineering Fair.

Total: 1024

This list was inspired by the book One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflections on Finding Everyday Graces by Ann Voskamp. Since I am much more of a geek than Mrs. Voskamp, my goal was to list 1024 things for which I am grateful within a year.  God has given me so many blessings that I have reached this goal in less than 8 months.  Thank you all for reading, and thank you God for all the blessings.

06 April 2014

Gratitude, Part 33 (Mar. 29 - Apr. 4, 2014)

  1. My sister's boyfriend getting a new job
  2. Our friend Emily's new son Oliver
  3. Beautiful weather (Mar. 29, 2014)
  4. Walking to the library
  5. Carrying books home from the library for my wife
  6. Getting fries on the way home
  7. Helping my wife install garden trellises
  8. Helping my wife make turkey curry
  9. Getting several tasks done that I meant to do yesterday (Mar. 30, 2014)
  10. Significant progress on my proposal (Mar. 29, 2014)
  11. Finding my balaclava, which was in the laundry the whole time
  12. Rode in and home safely despite the campus being closed due to a "blizzard" (Mar. 31, 2014)
  13. Excelling visit from a funding agency representative
  14. Our Spring Concert was well-attneded, and I think we played our best (Apr. 4, 2014)
  15. The other two groups in the concert were a joy to hear (Apr. 4, 2014)
  16. Walking with my wife under a beautiful sky (Apr. 4, 2014)
  17. Rode in safely despite unexpected heavy snow (Apr. 2, 2014)
  18. Physics lunch was postponed (not cancelled) due to the snow
  19. Good physics lunch at Dickey's BBQ Pit (Apr. 4, 2014)
  20. Ability to play in the concert here and call in to NOvA meetings at Fermilab
  21. Good discussion at the InterVarsity GFM meeting (Apr. 2, 2014)
  22. Talking via Skype with Gary again (Apr. 1, 2014)
  23. My wife had a good time at a gardening class (Apr. 1, 2014)
  24. Significant progress on purchasing equipment for my lab
  25. Submitted my proposal for the Board of Regents Competitive Research Grant Program (Apr. 1, 2014)
  26. I have my teaching assignment for Fall Semester 2014.

Total: 1001

30 March 2014

Gratitude, Part 32 (Mar. 22 - 28, 2014)

  1.  When I pulled my bike out of the garage, my rear tire was flat.  I am grateful that I had time to change it and get to the office well before my first appointment of today. (Mar. 26, 2014)
  2. Giving some of the light fixtures we replaced to a new home (Mar. 22, 2014)
  3. Sending birthday card and gift to my sister
  4. Watching the third episode of the new Cosmos series
  5. Cosmos episodes are available for free online after airing
  6. A friend told me about a state-level call for proposals that I would not have otherwise known about
  7. Compliment from department chair on the letter of support I wrote from him to sign
  8. Final interview for our new faculty search
  9. Visiting the early morning Christian men's group (Mar. 28, 2014)
  10. Engaging discussion at small group (Mar. 27, 2014)
  11. Good physics lunch at Mongolian BBQ (Mar. 26, 2014)
  12. Progress on getting orders submitted for my lab equipment
  13. Visiting my wife in her office (Mar. 28, 2014)
  14. Walking with my wife around campus (Mar. 28, 2014).
  15. Kansas City Street is open again on my route home
  16. Riding home with my wife on our bikes
  17. New shoes
  18. Unexpected discounts at the shoe store
  19. Dinner, including wonderful noodle soup and Thai curry, at Saigon restaurant
  20. Good conversations about finances
  21. Increasing confidence in my relationships and life in general as a result of increasing acceptance of God's grace

Total: 975

28 March 2014

Gratitude, Part 31 (Mar. 15 - 21, 2014)

  1. Getting our planned entertainment PC connected to the internet
  2. Homemade funnel cake
  3. Completing and submitting a preliminary application to the Christian Scholars Foundation
  4. Time to relax and read (Mar. 15, 2014)
  5. James shared his homemade pizza (Mar. 18, 2014)
  6. Homemade sushi (Mar. 16, 2014)
  7. Watching part of the second episode of Cosmos with my wife.
  8. Phyiscs Pi Day social (Mar. 17, 2014)
  9. My wife's delicious apple crisp pie
  10. Meeting one of my colleague's newborn daughter
  11. Extremely helpful conversation at the SDSM&T Benefits Fair (Mar. 18, 2014)
  12. Attending the weekly InterVarsity GFM prayer meeting with my wife (Mar. 19, 2014)
  13. Math department Pi Day social (Mar. 19, 2014)
  14. Unlimited wings at Buffalo Wild Wings for Physics Lunch (Mar. 19, 2014)
  15.  Being a judge for the 6th & 8th grade engineering categories at the High Plains Regional Science & Engineering Fair.
  16. Being recruited to be part of the team selecting the overall winner of the High Plains Regional Science & Engineering Fair.
  17.  The impressive experiment that won the 6th grade engineering category
  18.  Opportunity to see friends and colleagues at the Fair
  19.  My wife was also a judge at the fair
  20.  Genuine hope for the future of science in the country.

Total: 954

15 March 2014

Gratitude, Part 30 (Mar. 8 - 14, 2014)

  1. Helping my wife install the second light in our basement (Mar. 8, 2014)
  2. Cleaning out part of the basement
  3. Breaking down and clearing out many cardboard boxes from our move
  4. Watching the first episode of the new Cosmos series with my wife
  5. Potluck with friends (Mar. 9, 2014)
  6. Meeting our pastor's sister
  7. Meeting our pastor's neighbor Ted
  8. Visiting our pastor's house for the first time
  9. Taking boxes to the recycling center
  10. Giving the van a much needed wash with my wife
  11. Reduced work responsibilities during Spring Break
  12. Taking batteries to the recycling station at the public library (Mar. 10, 2014)
  13. Free stoneware to replace the misshapen one that arrived earlier for our Crock Pot
  14. Excellent sushi (best in Rapid City so far) at Fuji (Mar. 8, 2014)
  15. Helping my wife install and wire a new light switch (Mar. 13, 2014)
  16. Removing ceiling fan
  17. Helping my wife install a new light fixture in the dining room (Mar. 14, 2014)
  18. Good physics lunch at Mongolian Grill (Mar. 12, 2014)
  19. Cooked homemade macaroni & cheese (Mar. 7, 2014)
  20. Cooked halushki with bacon
  21. Cleaned up after all of the home improvements
  22. Dinner and good conversation with a good friend (Mar. 14, 2014)
  23. Unpacked gardening supplies
  24. Helped my wife rotate our mattress
  25. Helped my wife install our mattress pad
  26. Good ribs and steak at Colonial House (Mar. 12, 2014)
  27. Good meeting with University Relations about graduate education videos
  28. Good conversation via Skype with Steve (Mar. 13, 2014)
  29. Our first seeds are sprouting (indoors)
  30. My wife's new eyeglasses and frames
  31. The optician who adjusted my eyeglasses so they stay on my face now

Total: 934

10 March 2014


I watched the first episode of the new Cosmos series last night, and Sagan's torch has been passed to a worthy successor.  I hope this new series will inspire a new generation of scientists as Sagan's series inspired me during it's tenth anniversary airing 24 years ago.  While the series seems to have a pronounced materialistic worldview, the wonder of scientific discovery shines brightly.

I hope that my Catholic friends will not be alienated by the segments of the first episode dealing with the execution of Giordano Bruno.  I also hope that the series will highlight the positive contributions Christians have made toward the advancement of science, such as Kepler's Laws, the proposal of the Big Bang Theory by Georges LemaĆ®tre (a Catholic priest), and Gregor Mendel's pioneering work on genetics.

If anyone wants to watch and discuss the next episode, you are welcome at our house!

"The heavens declare the glory of God" - Psalm 19:1

Gratitdue, Part 29 (Mar 1 - 7, 2014)

  1. Watching the SDSM&T Drama Club's production of Dead Henry with friends
  2. Getting dinner to-go so that we could still eat it and get to the play (almost) on time (Mar. 1, 2014)
  3. Help from the ROOT team at CERN in getting a bug fixed
  4. One of the CERN ROOT team members pointed out that I was using too old a version of root to check their fix.  He also pointed me to the newer version
  5. A comment posted on http://stackoverflow.com/ told me how to install the "make" comment on my laptop, thus ending a very frustrating hour of trying to install the correct version of ROOT.
  6. Beer & Bible discussions on polygamy, genealogies of Jesus and other issues (Mar. 2, 2014)
  7. Getting the second new light in our basement mostly installed (Mar. 2, 2014)
  8. With the new version of ROOT installed, the bug is indeed fixed! (Mar. 3, 2014)
  9. Tried new Japanese restaurant Sumo (Mar. 5, 2014)
  10. Good guest lecture for my dark matter class
  11. Despite the cold weather, 5 of us attended Beer & Bible (Mar. 2, 2014)
  12. My wife started her first seedlings of the year!
  13. Learned how to establish a Skype connection in the distance learning classrooms
  14. Good and useful discussions at the Cleanliness meeting (Mar. 5, 2014)
  15. Skype conversation with a good friend and fellow physics professor (Mar. 6, 2014)
  16. Fun and good homemade pizza at the faculty student social (Mar. 6, 2014)
  17. Meeting friends at the Dahl Art Center (Mar. 7, 2014)
  18. Beautiful watercolors of the Badlands at the Dahl Art Center
  19. Interesting photographs of grain elevaors
  20. Talk by and Q&A with the artist
  21. Good free food at the Dahl

Gratitude, Part 28 (Feb. 22 - 28, 2014)

  1. Chili cook-off in our small group (Feb. 27, 2014)
  2. Good time at Project Church potluck (Feb. 23, 2014)
  3. Made ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, and raisins) for the potluck (Feb. 23, 2014)
  4. Good food at the potluck
  5. Learned more about some friends
  6. Helpful discussion at the potluck about that day's sermon
  7. Skype time with a good friend and mentor (Feb. 24, 2014)
  8. Helpful phone meeting on possible future proposal (Feb. 25, 2014)
  9. Good physics lunch at Hunan Chinese Restaurant (Feb. 26, 2014)
  10. Attended the InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty weekly meeting at SDSM&T for the first time (Feb. 26, 2014)
  11. Good phone meeting with colleagues in Minnesota
  12. Good phone meeting with potential collaborators at Black Hills State University
  13. There is no penalty for being "late" with this list!
  14. The Music Department is encouraging student feedback in their search for a full-time band director
  15. The Music Department is encouraging community and faculty feedback in their search for a full-time band director
  16. Despite accidentally leaving my alarm off, I woke up with enough time to get to work for my appointment with a faculty candidate (Feb. 24, 2014)
  17. My wife finished grading her first midterm
  18. The opportunity to bring home food from the potluck
  19. The opportunity to bring home food my wife wanted from a restaurant after the potluck
  20. Safe drive to and from potluck
  21. Interesting short story on the radio while driving home from potluck

Principal Investigator or Principle Investigator?

According to the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, and Merriam Webster, the proper spelling is Principal Investigator.

22 February 2014

Gratitude, Part 27 (Feb. 15 - 21, 2014)

  1. Giant doughnut at church (Feb. 16, 2014)
  2. Brought a piece of the giant doughnut home to my wife
  3. Live interview on KOTA to promote the Mines Myth Busters event (Feb. 17, 2014)
  4. Impromptu cookout with friends (Feb. 17, 2014)
  5. Presidents' Day (Feb. 17, 2014)
  6. See our friends' house for the first time
  7. Playing Catchphrase (Feb. 17, 2014)
  8. Meeting and petting our friends cat, named Android
  9. Watching part of the final season of M*A*S*H with my wife
  10. Eye exam went well
  11. Watched the original version The Day the Earth Stood Still while waiting for my eyes to recover form being dilated.
  12. Interview at 6:10 am on KNBN to promote the Mines Myth Busters event (Feb. 18, 2014)
  13. Everyone woke up and arrived early enough for the interview
  14. Lunch with faculty candidate (Feb. 18, 2014)
  15. Faculty candidate gave a good colloquium
  16. She had a large audience (more people than seats)
  17. Full room for the Myth Busters event (Feb. 18, 2014)
  18. My wife brought in our smoke detector
  19. Liquid nitrogen in graham crackers
  20. Physics lunch at Red Lobster, and my wife was able to attend (Feb. 19, 2014)
  21. Made important decisions at a committee meeting (Feb. 20, 2014)
  22. Amazing performances by the Jazz Band and Master Chorale at an informal concert (Feb. 20, 2014)
  23. Faculty and grad. student social
  24. Faculty Wine & Cheese Party
  25. The President of the University thanked me for my part in the Myth Busters event.
  26. Multiple people have asked me about their Fiesta plates after the event
  27. Watching Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues with our small group at the Elks Theater (Feb. 20, 2014)
  28. Free popcorn on Thursdays at The Elks
  29. Good meeting with faculty candidate (Feb. 21, 2014)
  30. Safe drive to Black Hills State Univ. (BHSU) on Feb. 21, 2014
  31. Getting to know colleagues at BHSU
  32. Discussing potential collaboration with colleagues at BHSU
  33. Giving a colloquium in the Natural Science Lecture Series at BHSU
  34. Several instances of very positive feedback for my colloquium
  35. Dinner at Dough Traders with professors and students of BHSU
  36. One of my colleagues at SDSM&T has a daughter who works at BHSU, and I was able to meet her.
  37. Touring the BHSU genetics lab
  38. Safe drive back to Rapid City, despite snowy conditions
  39. Safe ride back home from SDSM&T
  40. I was granted key card access to the CBEC building, which means I can use the shower and locker room to change back into my biking gear even when I am on campus late.

Total: 861

15 February 2014

Gratitude, Part 26 (Feb. 8 - 14, 2014)

  1. Assembled our new bed (Feb. 8, 2014)
  2. We have both been sleeping comfortably in our new bed
  3. Civil and thought-provoking conversation about the Nye vs. Ham debate at lunch with Project Church members (Feb. 9, 2014)
  4. Interesting discussions about Sabbath at lunch with Project Church members (Feb. 9, 2014)
  5. Made chicken in a pot using local chicken (Feb. 9, 2014)
  6. Used cabbage that otherwise would have gone bad
  7. Our Crock Pot
  8. Late night chicken wing delivery
  9. My wife's eggplant and ground beef red curry
  10. Good physics lunch at Ixtapa
  11. Good discussions about idolatry at Beer & Bible
  12. Arranged the furniture in my lab space
  13. The defunct fume hood has been removed from my lab space
  14. The hole in the window left by the fume hood vent is now sealed
  15. Sent e-mails recruiting potential graduate students
  16. Rehearsed our Myth Busters event for E-week (Feb. 13, 2014)
  17. Emily, Yan, and Dani, and the other demonstrators have been very helpful in making this event possible
  18. We have located several items to use in our segment of the Myth Busters event
  19. Interesting discussion about the implementation of the metric system at our weekly faculty/student social
  20. Opportunity to host one of our faculty candidates for lunch next week
  21. Warm weather for the past two days (Feb. 13, 2014)
  22. The cute birds nesting near our garage
  23. My wife cleaned and successfully re-started our large humidifier
  24. Biked to eye exam (Feb. 14, 2014)
  25. Helped my wife cut her hair
  26. She helped me trim my sideburns

Total: 821

13 February 2014

Gratitude, Part 25 (Feb. 1 - 7, 2014)

  1. Visiting my wife's new office
  2. Faculty search process going well
  3. First regular meeting with my research students
  4. Listening to part of the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham
  5. Successfully found my way to retirement counseling session despite taking a wrong turn
  6. Good physics lunch at Minerva's
  7. My wife joined us for lunch
  8. Enjoyable conversation with Navy personnel at lunch
  9. Important decisions made at Physics staff meeting (Feb. 6, 2014)
  10. Good discussion of dark matter candidates in class (Feb. 6, 2014)
  11. Delivered my first colloquium at SDSM&T since being hired (Feb. 6, 2014)
  12. Received multiple complements on my colloquium
  13. Played "Wallace & Gromit Going Crackers" for the first time at small group (Feb. 6, 2014)
  14. Represented the Physics Dept. to a delegation from Casper College
  15. I was able to find answers to (or people to answer) all of the questions the professors from Casper asked
  16. Had good fun and good food at the Feb. Physics social event (Feb. 7, 2014)
  17. Played Clue: The Big Bang Theory edition for the first time at the social
  18. My wife had a wonderful time at the social
  19. Colleagues agreed to lead a session at the LBNE collaboration meeting because I did not attend
  20. My idea of a geeky T-shirt contest was used for the physics social
  21. I was one of the judges of the geeky T-shirt contest
  22. My wife was one of the judges of the geeky T-shirt contest

Total: 795

09 February 2014

Nunobiki Herb Gardens & Ropeway

Gratitude, Part 24 (Jan. 25 - 31, 2014)

  1. Recovered from the jet lag induced by my trip to Japan
  2. The very helpful NSF CAREER proposal development webinar
  3. Phone connection worked well for the webinar
  4. Internet connection worked well for the webinar
  5. Posting photos of my trip to Japan
  6. Returning to the friends and routine in Rapid City
  7. Installing a new light fixture in the kitchen with my wife
  8. Attending the physics lunch (Jan. 29, 2014)
  9. The first Faculty/Grad. Student social in the Physics Dept. (Jan. 30, 2014)
  10. Interesting Lunch and Learn event (Jan. 30, 2014)
  11. Being back in our small group (the Just Us League)
  12. Inspiring presentation by astronaut Col. Mike Fincke (Jan. 31, 2014)
  13. Talking with my friend Gary on Skype (Jan. 31, 2014)
  14. I was invited to give a colloquium at Black Hills State University
  15. 75% of the way to my goal for this list
  16. Enjoying being back in band
  17. Many of my postcards arrived at their destinations
  18. One my students was able to attend an important meeting while I was in Japan
  19. While I was able to keep in touch with colleagues while in Japan, I am grateful to be back so that I can communicate with them in person.
  20. Attended first faculty search committee meeting of the semester

Total: 773

Gratitude, Part 23 (Jan. 18 - 24, 2014)

  1. Lunch with my host at a sushi restaurant (Jan. 19, 2014)
  2. Since my host served as interpreter, I was able to order sushi without wasabi
  3. Edamame
  4. Finding rice flour to bring home to my wife
  5. My host translated the rice flour bag labels
  6. Finding stamps for the remainder of my postcards
  7. Having so many friends that I was able to write 22 postcards from Japan
  8. Attending the English-speaking church again (Jan. 12, 2014)
  9. Interesting conversations with several people at church http://www.kobeunionchurch.com/
  10. According to the scales at the onsen, I weigh between 66.5 and 66.8 kg
  11. Visting the Kamioka Mine, which is the host for multiple physics experiments
  12. Meeting my colleagues on shift in the Super-Kamiokande control room
  13. Seeing Super-Kamiokande in person http://www-sk.icrr.u-tokyo.ac.jp/sk/index-e.html
  14. Seeing the XMASS experiment in person http://www-sk.icrr.u-tokyo.ac.jp/xmass/index-e.html
  15. Seeing the Candles experiment in person http://wwwkm.phys.sci.osaka-u.ac.jp/info/syoukai/CANDLES_project.htm
  16. Seeing the CLIO experiment in person http://www-sk.icrr.u-tokyo.ac.jp/experiments-e.html
  17. Seeing the NEWAGE experiment in person http://ppwww.phys.sci.kobe-u.ac.jp/2013/english/newage/index.html
  18. Touring the tunnel for the future KAGRA experiment http://iopscience.iop.org/0264-9381/29/12/124007/article
  19. Amazing scenery at Mozumi, the town were I stayed while I was visiting the Kamioka Mine and experiments
  20. Being able to photograph the mountains, river and snow in Mozumi
  21. Being able to photograph the experiments and other sights in the mine
  22. Safe bus ride from Mozumi to the Toyama Airport
  23. Safe and punctual flight from Toyama to Tokyo Haneda with very little English spoken
  24. Successfully navigating Tokyo trains to Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari
  25. Helpful staff at a train station in Tokyo when the ticket machine confused me.
  26. Good food at Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari
  27. Figuring out my height in cm to get a proper fitting yukata at Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari
  28. Beatiful indoor "villiage" at Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari
  29. Foot bath at Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari
  30. The wonderfully relaxing onsen baths at Oedo-Onsen-Monogatari\
  31. My favorite pool was the one outdoors under and open sky and surrounded by rock walls.  I could cool off in the air or relax in the hot water
  32. A tourist guide helped me find the Sanrioworld store, which is the Hello Kitty world flagship store in the Tokyo Ginza
  33. Taking pictures and buying souvenirs for my wife at Saniroworld
  34. Finding the Tokyo train station in time for my train to Narita
  35. Safe and punctual train ride to Narita.
  36. Despite a power outage during the night, I was able to get a reasonable amount of sleep
  37. Safe and punctual flight from Narita to Minneapolis
  38. I saw the northern lights out of my widow during the flight
  39. Took pictures of the northern lights and the plane's contrails
  40. Free wireless internet and electrical sockets in at a business center in the Minneapolis airport
  41. Despite a delay in my flight to Rapid City, I made it in time for band rehearsal
  42. My wife picked me up at the airport in Rapid City
  43. New student joined my research group
  44. Started regular meeting for the students who are working with me
  45. Informal lunch with a visiting professor from Australia (Jan. 24, 2014)

Total: 753

Gratitdue, Part 22 (Jan. 11 - 17, 2014)

  1. Nabe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabemono)
  2. Nuki (raw beef tongue with egg)
  3. The blog http://www.survivingnjapan.com/
  4. Hiking along Nunobiki Falls
  5. Good weather for hiking
  6. An object of natural beauty within walking distance of a major train station
  7. Kobe beef
  8. Arima cats
  9. Arima Gin-no-yu (public onsen)
  10. Arima Kin-no-yu (public onsen)
  11. Wrote a bunch of postcards to friends and family back in the US
  12. Bought the stamps for postcards using only Japanese
  13. Lots of delicious noodles
  14. Japanese root dish: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konjac
  15. A fried noodle dish http://katnsatoshiinjapan.blogspot.jp/2008/10/bokkake-modanyaki.html  http://hyogo-tourism-en.blogspot.jp/2011/12/sobameshi-bokkake.html
  16.  Being able to match the characters on the menu pictures to the characters on the ticket machine to order.
  17.  The cultural experience of eating at a restaurant by making my selection on a ticket machine
  18. Toyama Black Ramen http://homepage2.nifty.com/tamura-shigeru/sub7sub2.htm (Jan. 17, 2013)
  19. After catching the wrong train, my wife helped me to get in contact with my host to warn him I would be late.
  20. Helpful employee at the train station where I got off after catching the wrong train.  Between a few words of English and drawings, she was able to get me back to the right train.
  21. Found a seat on the right train (JR Thunderbird)
  22. My host waited for me at the train station in Toyama for two hours
  23. Safe ride in the smallest train I have ever seen (only one car)  from Toyama to Inotani Station
  24. A colleague who picked us up at Inotani Station and drove us to the Kamioka Observatory Kenkyutou, the office building in Mozumi for the observatory.
  25. Despite the two hour wait to get on the right train, I was able to give my seminar only 10 minutes late.

Total: 708

26 January 2014


I visited the city of Arima, which is near Kobe, primarily to enjoy the onsen there.  Since one does not wear clothes in the onsen, I have not pictures from there.  However, the city, especially the river, was also quite beautiful.

Nunobiki Falls

Under the train tracks of Shin-Kobe station, where the "bullet train" stops in Kobe, is a tunnel. It looks like any underpass in an industrialized city, but it leads to a scene of beauty amazing in itself and because you can walk to it from this station: Nunobiki Falls.

13 January 2014

Kobe Beef

Cats in Arima!

12 January 2014

Adventures in Japan: Flying There

When we took off from Minneapolis, the sun was in the afternoon sky. Since we were heading west, we were essentially chasing the sunset. We flew north over Alaska and the Bering Sea. As we went north, I think the sun appeared to sink lower and the land looked like it was facing a sunset ahead of us. As we came south again, it looked like morning was breaking as the sun rose higher.

We flew over the Canadian rockies. Hugh white mountains passed beneath us. Some of them formed valleys that looked like they were full of clouds. Sometimes, the snow was pink with the light of the sunset. Over the sea, we saw plates of ice with dark water slivers between them. Some of the views out the window were echoes of scenes in The Great Divorce, which I was listenting to as an audio book.

10 January 2014

Gratitude, Part 21 (Jan. 4-10, 2014)

  1. Beautiful mountains poking through the clouds
  2. The device I came here to commission is now working, and I am getting useful data
  3. Keeping in touch with Kelly via internet text and voice
  4. Riding a cable car
  5. The Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens http://www.japan-ryokan.net/kobeherb/en/index1.html
  6. Hot foot bath overlooking Kobe at the Herb Gardens
  7. Watching Thor, which was surprisingly good, on the plane to Japan
  8. Being invited to dinner to celebrate one of the students at Kobe submitting his doctoral thesis
  9. Eating, drinking, and conversing with my colleagues
  10. The frequent, punctual, and effective bus system in Kobe.
  11. The frequent, punctual, and effective train systems in Kobe
  12. Finding a good dinner, chocolate, and apple cider vinegar in a Japanese grocery store
  13. Finding laundry detergent in a convenience store (Family Mart).
  14. Giving a seminar on NOvA at Kobe University
  15. Being the guest of honor at dinner after my seminar
  16. Yakitori
  17. The hotel has a coin washer and dryer so I can do laundry
  18. The hotel staff quickly resolved a misunderstanding about whether breakfast was included in my room charge
  19. Attending an English-speaking church on my first Sunday in Kobe (Jan. 5, 2014)
  20. A comfortable and functional temporary desk at the university
  21. Hands-on experience with the radon monitor I am here to study
  22. My computer coding skills
  23. My English is easy for my Japanese colleagues to understand
  24. Lunches at the Kobe University cafeteria
  25. After getting off the bus on my first trip to Kobe University, I was able to follow a group of students to the university.
  26. Since the University is at the top of a steep hill, I am still getting exercise in Japan
  27. After begin lost due to getting off the bus at the wrong stop on my second trip to Kobe University, I managed to find me way (via the same bus) to my destination.
  28. Help from one of my colleagues with buying a prepaid bus card
  29. Buying a prepaid bus card
  30. Though some of my clothes were still wet after drying them last night, I was able to finish drying them this morning (Jan. 9, 2014).
  31. The ATM two blocks from my hotel that accepts my US ATM card
  32. My hotel is very affordable.
  33. Successfully riding the bus back from the university (Jan. 9, 2014). Previous return trips were by train
  34. Finding Thang Cafe on my second try
  35. Free hot spring role from Thang Cafe.
  36. The food at Thang was as good as the reviews suggested
  37. Listening to SDPB online all the way from Japan
  38. Time to rest and think for the first time since Sunday evening (Jan. 9, 2014)
  39. Six convenience stores (2 x Lawson Station, 2 x Family Mart, 2 x 7-11) within walking distance of my hotel
  40. Two train stations (Sannomiya and Shin-Kobe) within walking distance of my hotel
  41. A grocery story (Ikari) within walking distance of my hotel
  42. I remembered to pack the electrical connector that also works as a 3 to 2-prong adapter
  43. The ability to walk from the subway station through two shopping malls without ever going above ground
  44. The invaluable help of Google Maps in navigating here
  45. Sharing Royal Mints with my colleagues
  46. Photographing the experimental apparatus here
  47. Comfortable bed in the hotel
  48. Good water pressure in the shower

08 January 2014

Gratitude, Part 20 (Dec. 28, 2013 - Jan. 3, 2014)

  1. Productive and fun meeting about outreach at SDSM&T
  2. Helped my wife finish installing new light fixture in the basement
  3. Playing Settlers of Catan with new friends
  4. Starting the new year with my wife in our new home
  5. My wife turned in the official paperwork to accept her new job
  6. My wife took me to the airport (Jan. 2, 2014)
  7. Arrived on time for my flight
  8. Safe flight from Rapid City to MSP
  9. No need to go through security again at MSP
  10. Safe and punctual flight from MSP to Tokyo (Jan. 2-3, 2014)
  11. The Canadian rockies were beautiful scenery outside of the plane window
  12. I had a window seat
  13. Listening to the audio book of The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
  14. Finishing reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
  15. Cleared immigration and customs in Japan without trouble
  16. People at the tourist information stand at Narita who told me where to buy tickets from Narita to Tokyo
  17. Safe, punctual and efficient travel from Narita to Tokyo Shinagawa station
  18. Navigating Shinagawa
  19. Riding the Shinkansen (a.k.a. the bullet train)
  20. The view of Mt. Fuji from the Shinkansen
  21. Safe, punctual and efficient travel from Tokto to Kobe
  22. Successfully finding my hotel in Kobe
  23. Friendly staff at the hotel
  24. My room has everything I need
  25. Despite the extremely small bathroom, I fit in the shower with about 2 inches to spare


03 January 2014

Gratitude, Part 19 (Dec. 21 - 27, 2013)

  1. Safely arriving at our anniversary getaway (Dec. 21, 2013)
  2. Friendly owner of our anniversary getaway cabin
  3. The roads outside of the city are actually plowed!
  4. Gas fireplace to keep us warm in the cabin
  5. Reading Little House on The Prairie in an actual log cabin
  6. Cooking spaghetti and meatballs with my wife
  7. Old-fashiond claw-foot bathtub in the cabin
  8. Christmas cards from friends and family
  9. Strawberry Moscato wine
  10. Finishing Season 9 and starting Season 10 of M*A*S*H
  11. Reading Don't be Such a Scientist.
  12. New mobile phones, which work well so far
  13. Our new phones have infa-red transmitters, so they can be used as universal remotes
  14. Seeing deer in the snowy meadow out our cabin's front window.
  15. Beautiful stars and moon in a clear sky one night of our stay
  16. The silver-blue light of the moon on the snow.
  17. The financial blessings necessary for a getaway like this
  18. The time and trust for honest conversations with my wife
  19. Finished watching all of our Futurama DVDs
  20. My wife receiving a letter back from Sen. John Thune about human trafficking
  21. Our phones allow us to access the internet without a wireless internet connection
  22. Our laptop allows us to watch DVDs without a television in the cabin
  23. Beautiful snow outside our cabin window
  24. Safe and beautiful trip home from our cabin getaway
  25. Finding useful bus stops near our home
  26. Weather warm enough to start melting the ice from the roads and sidewalks
  27. Walking to the library and dinner together
  28. Finding good books at the library
  29. Walking to dinner (Dec. 26, 2013)
  30. Helping a stranger in need by calling his mother on my cell phone
  31. 33 years of life (as of Dec. 20, 2013)
  32. Christmas presents from family
  33. Delicious birthday cake my wife made me
  34. The amazing love of God whose incarnation we celebrate at Christmas
  35. I am not the only person who thinks the Gregorian calendar could use reform

Total: 610