From the Desk of The God Emperor - V7N1

by John Johnson
Reprinted from V7N1, June 1994

April 11, 1994

The mountains are shrouded in mist, it's the middle of April 1994 and we just had our second snow storm of the week. More are expected. It seemed the winter wouldn't begin and now it hangs on and won't end. When I left for work this morning the tree branches were doloped with snow, as if someone piled the snow so carefully that it actually defied gravity.

It is a week before the Spring APS meeting and I don't think I'll finish the newsletter. At least I finally started. I can blame it on Raman or Ray, or the fact that I couldn't track down Chuck Luckey, but the fact of the matter is I just didn't feel like it. When I was a grad student (last we spoke) it was easy to spend time that I didn't have and money that I only had because of my latest student loan to publish the PPSA Newsletter (a.k.a. Magazine). This last year I've had an almost real job as a postdoc at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and I've been too bored to actually start writing. I've sent out notices asking for articles and photos, and most of you have ignored them. I think you'll find there are more than enough contributions for a good issue though!

What made me start writing? In part it was the hounding that Raman gave me. In part it was the guilt that I wouldn't have it done in time for the APS meeting. In part it was feeling organized enough in my thoughts after a year of introspection to gather the beast in my mind and spew forth on paper. I hate feeling that I have just thrown the newsletter together to meet a deadline; I hope I've done more than that.

My life, in the city of dweebs, has been fairly uneventful. As I said, I have a lab postdoc at LANL. I hope to convert to a full-time staff member soon. The pay increase should help cover all those nasty student loan payments that I have so rightly earned. It looks like I'll owe Uncle Sam several hundred this year. You should know that moving expenses can be taxed. A lesson learned is a... well it sucks, but they'll get the money when I have it.

Let me run through some of the events since the last issue (many of which are covered in this issue). The last issue was handed out and mailed at the Fall Division of Nuclear Physics meeting in Santa Fe in October 1992. Raman stayed at my slum-pad on Ninth Street and spent time seeing New Mexico in my car. Meanwhile I wrote my thesis, clocked in at just under a month of actual writing. In November I defended my thesis and graduated. November 30th I started my postdoc. I am sure that if I hadn't graduated when I did I would have had to default on a few of my monthly payments.

Christmas came and went and I moved into a condo with a friend. I got the upstairs loft and he took the master bedroom. We had a fireplace that worked well with fake logs, and we had dreams of parties by the pool in the summer. Little did we know that we had moved into a complex that was run by anal retentive old people. Well we should have suspected that, as I have discussed in previous issues this town has more than its share of anal retentives. After several months of testing the rules we knew our boundaries and they knew theirs.

My housemate Scott Garner starting a fire in our fireplace.

The first road trip of 1993 was to Michigan Tech with Raman. We had a memorable time, but you can read about that later in this issue. That was also when I opened an account with the Bank of Raman, but that's a whole different story.

After Michigan Tech I spent a lot of time developing some projects for work. I think that I was feeling a little depressed and lonely. As you surely know, Los Alamos is not the best place to meet women. Which is so strange, since it is such an ideal place for workaholics and people who grow beards, wear hats and talk to themselves when they walk. I kind of missed not having Tim to pick on too. His dad was having some kind of mid-life crisis or a Nam flashback and decided that I was to blame for Tim becoming a teenager -- so he decided Tim couldn't see me. Not that I would have wanted to hang out with old people when I was a teenager either.

Well, I found other friends to spend time with-Rex Ivie for one. You may not know of Oedipal Rex, but he moved in that summer and it made life interesting for sure. Rex is a perpetual grad student from Penn who works for Terry Fortune. He was planning on taking thesis data at TRIUMF this year, before becoming an astronaut... but that's a really different story, better left to a different type of periodical.

My little sister Kathy, who is now old enough to drink and do most other adult things (like getting engaged to be married this Fall!), came to visit in the Spring of '93. I helped her set up her new Mac Performa 600. It worked out that she had much of the same software as I did... what a coincidence.

In the Fall of '93 I took a trip to Monterey, California to give a paper at the Fall DNP meeting. My presentation was brief, but Raman and I enjoyed the boondoggle immensely. We toured the coast, saw redwoods and did a little San Francisco. This was a precursor to the IEEE meeting I had the next week in San Francisco. All-in-all, the two weeks in California proved to be a great if not tiring paid vacation.

Christmas was spent at the Johnson's in Michigan. I used my free TWA ticket to fly to Detroit, and, like I'm bound to do, I got bumped and got another free ticket on the trip. Raman came up for a couple days and we enjoyed the special blizzard that Santa brought. Later in the week I got a ride down to East Lansing with my sister Kathy, and I helped set up for the New Year's Eve party at Raman and Carl's. It was a disco theme and you'll find a lovely pictorial of it later in this issue.

Since Christmas I have a new housemate, Mary Neu. She's promised to introduce me to women she meets at work, but so far she likes all her friends and hasn't brought any of them home.

In all seriousness, things are going fine here. I've spent a lot of extra time at work, trying to catch up and secure a job. I've got a couple of new projects I'm working on, and I have a late-night talk to give next week at the APS meeting in Crystal City. In May I am flying back to Michigan for some quality time with little Raman and to attend a symposium for work.

I've kept up on some of my hobbies (time and fundage permitting), such as Mac'ing off (i.e. working on my Mac, although that's been cut back since I sold my IIsi to my sister Jenny.) I've been playing RPG games when time permits with some neighbors. And I've done some paintballing, when I have the air and the balls.

That's my life story... neat huh? Well, write me and let me know that I'm not the only bored and confused person, ok? Let me know that you're lives didn't quite turn out like you thought they would when you were in High School. (See Raman's H.S. Retrospective.)

Are you ready for something scary? Compare these two pictures. John and Raman in 1988 at Eric Hoffman's wedding, and John caught in the Pacific ocean last fall.

I'm trying to finish up the newsletter today. It's May and we haven't had any snow for a while. The trip to DC was quite eventful and will be included in the next issue. Please contribute material as soon as you can! Since I'm stuck in Los Alamos; bored, old and lonely, I hope to work on Volume 7 Number 2 this summer.

Now it's the middle of June! But I'm close to finishing! Still no job on the horizon. The one I felt I deserved fell through, but I hope to find something this summer!

I have to get back to work on the disco story! Don't miss it!

Oh yeah, if you are going to be in the Southwest stop by and visit, the bed is made in the guest room and the first pitcher of marguritas is on me.

Last Updated 04/14/95.© 1996 PPSA