Phew. All of this fruitmonster.com stuff has been hard work, and I have to say that I have been neglecting this blog for the past few weeks. But it was well worth it, all that food stuff needed to get thrown up (poor word choice?) somewhere else in the internet-information-overload-machine, and get the hell out of this blog space. I never meant to turn theeloquentscientist into a freaky-fruit-a-thon, but what can I say? I’m a passionate person, and when I find something that I believe matters, I run with it. Yes, even if its sharp like scissors.
For those of you who know me personally, you are likely aware that I have recently made a pretty strong shift (think “big” life moment) in my life’s course of events. At least a shift away from what most of us expected it to be! (Then again, viewing it that way will prevent us from embracing it). Let’s snip to the rundown: I’m headed to Australia come the end of this June! Off to Oz. Dippin Down Under. Pursuing a Ph.D. position researching the applications of meteorological forecasts to solar energy production from a wide variety of solar power production devices. I guess my blog name would be a complete misnomer if I didn’t delve into some science-y stuff every once in awhile, but never fear, I won’t dabble there long.
But back to Australia, to Canberra in fact, changing my hemispheric orientation completely and headed off to ‘roo country. The adventures that await will be beyond any scope of imagination I could manage to muster, and before any of you start to get too jealous, please be made aware that the total-bitch-slap that is skipping summer and going straight back into winter is cruel enough to re-think it all for a moment (albeit a very short moment ). Yeah, what is it outside? 10 degrees F, I just checked, still frickin’ cold as old man winter’s pinky toe. So I really need my summer here man! Oh, and that weather report is meteorologically produced and guaranteed by yours truly, and, if you really think about it, available thanks to the Oklahoma Mesonet; check it out, it’s pretty awesome…
So awesome in fact that it has provided me with the resource I needed to do my research work. Wait Nick, hold up. A meso-what? Ohhh that’s right, my meteorological jargon does have a limited audience. Sometimes I forget this. In a school with 130 meteorology graduate students freaking out about whether the white stuff outside my window is really snowflakes or sleet (I’ll tell you what it is! Its cold, wet and freaking sucks to ride your bike in, and that’s all the more people care about! For those of you in Norman, just look for me tomorrow on Jenkins Ave, I’ll be the one on the black and white bike soaked, freezing and trying to be buddhist about it.), its easy to get carried away by all that weather crap.
Anyway, yes, the mesonet thingie. That’s pronounced “meh-zo-net” and basically means that there is at least one weather station in each of the 77 counties in Oklahoma, totaling around 120 stations. At those stations, solar radiation observations have been taken every five minutes for the past 17 years! It is in an incredible research resource, and I have been using those solar radiation observations and a photovoltaic array simulation model to establish how much power a 2kW rooftop sized solar array would produce at any given location in Oklahoma. The goal: encourage solar installations in Oklahoma at the residential, commercial and hopefully even at the policy level! Really cool stuff that I am really excited about presenting and putting out publications on (I never thought I would EVER say that… I guess I’ve finally found my calling?)
So what’s the point of typing all of this when my fingers are so damn cold? (Did I mention the low tonight is 0 degrees F (yeah as in zero!)? Well it is, and you can’t really every make an Oklahoman house feel warm when it’s zero outside). Anyway, the reason I mention all that solar energy hippie crap, is because without this thesis project, I would have never landed this Australia gig anyway. I can trace this all back to a moment last June when I was in the car with my good friend Owen cruising through Colorado mountains, venting for the thousandth time about my frustrations with my (then) current advisor and thesis project. It was in that moment that I realized “Hey, I could totally change my thesis project over to a solar energy focus and bust my thesis project out in one year.” I was literally writing emails that night to my now current advisor about my project idea, and “wazaam-zip-flash-foward” I’m here at this moment, headed off to Australia.
Well, not so fast. Why had I arrived at that moment, in that car and at that moment? Well for one thing, mountains have always cleared my head and my buddy Owen and I have always had great conversations about “life things”, so perhaps I should credit the mountains and Owen as well… but what about the reason I was in Colorado in the first place? Well that was because I was out on Vortex2 with Howie Bluestein, serving as his chase partner (read “chauffeur” by my Vortex2 companions). So surely I should credit him as well. But then that could follow back to the point where I decided to take his class, and then back to the point where I had chosen to come to Oklahoma for school, and then on to the first thunderstorm I ever saw when I was a child and thought “wow, that’s cool”, and well geez this thing really could make a guy’s head hurt. It seems like we could connect all these things back to the moment I was a twinkle in my father’s eye then couldn’t we? And then further back through all the twinkles ever in every eye ever, and then on and on into that big bang thing the funny lookin’ guy in the wheel chair rockin the robot sounding auto-tuner always talks about.
This is precisely the type of thinking that I found myself working into when I thought: “Wow, I have been so profoundly blessed by so many people to be at this moment in my life” (focus on such thoughts is a great way to be content in life). ”I really need to be grateful to everyone who got me here.” So who do I start with? Well, the organization that awarded me a scholarship, my advisor for taking on this project with me, to my fiance for supporting me in it, to my parents for their love over the years… those seem obvious right?
Well really that chain keeps going, into strange and unexpected places. I guess if you really analyze it, I should also be thankful to my previous advisor, with whom I had not had an enjoyable time and who “caused” my decision to jump over to the solar-junkie-green-energy field. That stuff sure didn’t seem great at the time, I was not very happy in those days, but each of those moments lead me to the present moment just a little bit didn’t it? Without one, you don’t have some of the others and so and so forth until a life is “completely different” than it would have been. So I guess I should be “grateful” for all of those moments too, and on and on through all the things that have seemed “bad” “hard” or “negative” in my life. So were those times really “bad/hard/negative” or did I just decide they were that way? Because now those things are “good”, because they allowed me to be here too… so was it really flawed perception the entire time? Did I create what was “bad” or “good”? Because when they are boiled down, these ideas don’t seem fixed, nor do they seems separate. A good thing seems to blur into a bad thing over time, or vice versa. I’m not attempting the negation the ideas of good and bad, I’m just offering that our perception of it is likely a very strong influence, and that the old chinese proverb defined about luck, “Who Knows?. , seems very applicable.
Well this is the mental path I found myself treacherously traversing, and as long as I am venturing on into it, I would like to thank all of you ever that have ever had direct contact with me in some way no matter how big or small because you brought me here. And then I need to thank all the people who have ever affected those people who affected me, and then … egad! Again it is on and on into madness! Gratitude begins to seem pretty strange when you think about it this way.
I think the Buddha would call this “madness” a part of ”The Triple Emptiness” concept: No Giver, No Receiver, No Gift. As with all such deeper concepts, I’m still wrapping my head around it (literally, I do yoga son!). I think this is my most profound understanding of it to date, so thanks Australia! Oh shit… there I go again.