Thursday, August 14, 2008

Continued rambling about last week (or, another peek in my journal)

When we last heard from Euphrony he was battling his way through short courses on rheology and suffering through the 70°F weather of Monterey, California. We pick up as the conference actually begins . . .

Day 4: The conference begins full-pace today. Over the next five days I will attend something like 60 talks, out of a possible 250, and examine another 200 or so posters. But, undaunted, I am enthused as the sessions begin. Except for the fact that all the morning talks on the first day do not appeal to me - but it picks up in the afternoon. At night, the "social program" continues as the conference attendees and their accompanying families go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This special event is held after hours, so we are the only people there - much less crowded that way. It is a surreal experience - watching people dine on prime rib, sipping fine California wines, and strolling around observing the beautiful jellyfish, otters, penguins, sharks, tuna, and other features of the aquarium. Part of the time, though, I spend on the phone with Mrs. E - helping her prepare for the impending strike of Tropical Storm Edouard (which, thankfully, was a minimal impact).

Day 5: My day. My presentation is this afternoon, and I am presenting a poster at the poster session this evening, as well. Really, I'm a pretty relaxed speaker - confident about what I talk about, unfazed by goof ball questions, and keeping the talk within the alloted time - so I'm not worried. Some good talks today - interesting and informative. The morning keynote speaker is one of the best talks I've ever heard, with a great balance of science, innovative work, and real-world application. I stay in at lunch to go over my talk, then park in the room for my session. The talk went well, and many people told me they found it interesting and well done. And, they told me how good a job I did about being circumspect about issues that would give problems for intellectual property or corporate secrets (a big difference between me and most of them, who are in academia). The poster session is well-fueled with wine and beer, but the food is impossible to get at - who thought of only having one line to serve 1000 people? Silly. So, it's 9:00 before I eat. I chat with my old adviser for more than an hour; great to catch up with him. I don't see him much since he went to Cornell.

Day 6: Ahhh, no more pressure. My active part is done, now I can relax and just absorb knowledge. Mrs. E is flying in this afternoon, and the conference is half-day sessions and half-day excursions. The morning talks are so-so, but the afternoon is great. I take a bus tour down the Big Sur coastline. We get some great views, stop at a couple of places before spending 90 minutes at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The scenery is amazing, as is viewing the damage from this summer's fires. (Note, one of the places we stopped for coastal views was a restaurant across from a hotel and spa. Three days after we were there, a kitchen fire burned the hotel to the ground - even after it had survived the forest fires.)
When I return I find Mrs. E sleeping in the room. That evening there is a beach party (more of the social program). Alas, we did not stay long enough for the karaoke - Mrs. E had sprained her ankle a few days before (toys on the stairs) and walking on the sand was just not good. We instead went back to the room and watched P.S. I Love You. Query: Why does Hilary Swank spend the first 5 minutes wearing just a bra? Answer: To keep the guys involved in a chick-flick. Further query: Why do we later see Jeffrey Dean Morgan's fully nude butt? Answer: Payback for the ladies whose dates just got to see Hilary Swank spend the first 5 minutes wearing just a bra.

Stay tuned. More to follow . . .

Tags: , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment. Be nice, and it'll stay. Be mean, and it'll go.