Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ramblings of a rheologicaly inclined mind

So, for those of you who haven't noticed, I've been a little out of pocket the last two weeks. Well, I've spent a good deal of that time having my mind scrambled and then trying to recover. I'll attempt to share a few of the random thoughts from my personal journal from the previous fortnight. And, yes, I just used the word "fortnight" in a sentence of modern context.

Day 1: Flying to San Jose, California, then catching a shuttle to Monterey. Got bumped from my normal seat and placed in the back, between two people. They tell me it was just because; I think it's because I got bumped to 1st class on my last flight to Tulsa. Karma, right - 1st class on a 90-minute flight and squished on a 4-hour flight. At least my row-mates were well-suited to crunch together. Nice lady sat on my left, and on my right was a man my dad would call an IBM (itty-bitty Mexican, very un-PC, I know). bed in Portola Hotel, Monterey, CASidebar: The San Jose airport still rolls up stairs to the side of the plane and you walk down the tarmac to get between the plane and terminal. Interesting. At least the weather is a relief from Houston in August. I'm wondering about that long pillow the hotel puts on my bed - no good for sleeping, I'm thinking.

Day 2: Begin the first of two one-day short coursed I will take before the conference. This one is on the rheology of suspensions and colloids. Good teachers - well informed and respected on the subject. Had lunch with a guy who works for my companies biggest competitor (and is also going to be the session chair introducing my paper). Ate at Fisherman's Wharf - fish and chips sitting on the harbor, watching seals play and getting a sunburn. Finish reading The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde over dinner.

Day 3: It's my anniversary, and I'm 1600 miles from my wife. Bummed. Short course #2 starts - surfactant rheology. Learn a few new things in this one, and get some really good ideas for work I need to do regarding my current research. Each of these two short courses is essentially a one-semester college course packed into a day. I'm tired. There is an evening reception to officially kick off the conference - it's packed. Normally, only ~300 people attend the annual Society of Rheology conference; this year is different, an International Congress on rheology held every 4 years. More than 1000 rheologists and students in attendance, plus many family members. Were a disaster to strike Monterey this week, the world would quite nearly lose all practitioners of this arcane discipline. Sobering thought. More sobering thought: how long would it take for the world to start missing us? To that question: I've had people ask me (seeing the above logo for the conference) if rheology is the study of butterflies. No, that would be a lepidopterist, not a rheologist. Time to go to bed before my head explodes from short course knowledge, even before the conference begins, or anyone else chooses to deflate my ego more.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are crazy busy!

That is so nice that you got to spend some time on Fisherman's warf. It's an "interesting" place isn't it? Fun to sit and watch the seals and eat some fish. (Try some clam chowder in a bread bowl, it's the best there. )

euphrony said...

Ohhhh, that clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl is the best!

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