Thursday, April 10, 2008

Things I've learned in the last few days

  1. There's one in every crowd
    Okay, so this really isn't something new I've learned; but the truth in this statement was driven home again yesterday. You see, Euphrony has been at another one of his conferences and I presented a paper yesterday afternoon. There is a certain guy whom I always see at this conference who can be counted on for a few things. First, after a paper is presented he will ask a question. Second, the question will be some off-the-wall, make me look smart and the presenter look dumb question. Third, I - as a general policy - ignore him. As the first two were proved out many times before my paper, I was reassured of my assumptions as he stepped to the microphone when I asked for questions. Since he followed the same pattern, I decided to stay with mine and just ignored him.

    Like I said, there's one in every crowd. He happened to be in this one, and I've seen many others in the past. Whenever you try to answer their question you just get nowhere. They are like black holes for information - it sinks in, but what happens after that is a mystery. For example, after speaking for 20 minutes on the relevance of rheology to drilling fluids a few years ago, I had a gentleman stand up ask ask me "So, why is rheology relevant to drilling fluids?" Either I did an extremely poor job in the presentation, or the problem is on the other end of the line (if you know what I mean . . .).
  2. My rheological tests have a monetary value
    I won't say how much, but I found out today what we were planning on charging a customer for me to do some very basic rheological tests (the kind that takes little effort and only an hour or so of my time). Were I ambitious, I could use such information to set up my own independent rheology test company. The first year would be pretty lean, but if I had some business I could be doing pretty well by the second or third year. I mean, vacation home well, like those commercials you see on T.V. But it seems like too much trouble, so . . .
  3. There is an opposite to germaphobia
    And it is embodied in my daughter. I got a note from my sister-in-law about their little girl having to get stitches on her chin after a fall a few days ago. They wrapped her up tightly in a blanket, like a mummy, so they could sew the stitches. If that were Lil'E, we would have had to tranquilize her just to get her to the car. You remember the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail? "Black Knight: 'Tis but a scratch! King Arthur: A scratch? Your arm's off!" That's Lil'E. She goes into hysterics if you try to put a band aid on her, and she could be bleeding profusely and insist that she's just fine. She hates and fears being doctored, with a passion.
  4. I have the sweetest little girl in the whole, wide world
    But while I'm talking about Lil'E, let me tell you what a sweetie she really is. While attending this conference I found myself in the unenviable position of being sick at the same time. So, as I got home at night I was just plain too tired to do much of anything - much less play with the kids or do my normal bedtime routines with them. Lil'E was so understanding. On Monday night, she came down after I sent her up to bed and handed me a picture she had colored. She told me "I drew this to help you feel better daddy. I love you." Oh, how sweet it is.

So, have you ever been hit by a drive-by question? How did you handle it - I'm always looking for better (professional) ways to do this. And do you know any germaphobes?

1 comment:

NatCh said...

Germaphobes? Yeah, I think I do know one or two. ;D Only the one germaphile, apparently.

I don't recall a hit and run question like you're describing, but I *have* had someone ask me a question and then turn to his neighbor and talk through the whole answer.

He was sitting, literally, right at the front of the room (about 4 feet away from me), in a group of about 15 people, at a presentation their group had specifically *requested* that we give them, so it was just a teensy bit obvious.

For your hit and runner, I think I'd've been extremely tempted to respond with something like, "Do we have any questions that *don't* require a complete repetition of the entire presentation I just gave?" I'm not sure that would qualify as better or more professional, however. (shrug)

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