Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bullets of conferencing

  • There is a conference on campus.
  • I am attending said conference.
  • Free coffee is lovely in the morning and throughout the day.
    • Cookies would be nice.
    • Or Brownies.
    • Muffins?
    • Cupcakes?
    • Pecan squares! Lemon bars!
    • I enjoy sweets.
  • I prefer tables with my chairs when attending sessions. The smaller workshops I've attended have sometimes utilized tables and I find I'm more comfortable and focused when I have something on which to lean.
    • There were no tables at this conference.
    • This made me sad.
    • And I was already reeling from the lack of cookies.
  • I sat shoulder to shoulder with Boss and a stranger.
    • I was sometimes squished.
    • I was often uncomfortable.
    • When either of them would shift or lean, I would have to compensate with my own movement, often to a less comfortable position.
    • I didn't like this.
  • If - as a speaker - you are allowed 30 minutes, please take no more than 35.
    • 40 tries my patience.
    • 45 pisses me off.
    • 50 makes me fidget, glare and internally call you a whore. If your talk is that awesome - and some of them were incredibly good - let the organizers know you require more time so some is scheduled.
  • If - as an attendee - you need to leave during a session, please be courteous.
    • I will be jealous when I see you go.
    • Since I'm sitting next to Boss and other senior people in my department, I can't go.
    • Therefore, perhaps you could not let the door slam behind you.
    • Or not return with precious soda which I cannot obtain until the speaker who is 20 minutes over his scheduled time finally shuts up and I can run to the refreshment area to find drinks, but no snacks.
  • My campus does free lunch well. Most noon seminars offer food and it's often excellent. Therefore, I was expecting to be impressed by the catered box lunch.
    • I've had pizza and Thai and any number of awesome sandwiches.
    • At a Matlab seminar, I had this great wrap with these super-thick tortilla chips.
      • It was like they took the extra parts of the wrap and made them into crispy chips.
      • Which must have required frying, but they weren't greasy at all!
      • They were paired with this really nice, fresh, chunky salsa.
      • I loved those chips and will forever regret that I didn't at least remember the name of the restaurant on the box.
      • I wanted those chips again.
    • I was sad when I saw lunch contained bags of Lays.
      • Not that I don't like Lays, but I wanted the homemade tortilla chips.
      • I also wanted something more special than a sandwich.
      • But the bread was very good (it was wheat with some wonderful crunchy yet chewy inclusions) and the flavored mayo was delightful.
      • And I finally got a cookie, which pleased me.
    • I have this futile hope that tomorrow there will be piles of baked goods and the special tortilla chips.
  • Joe got up once to ask a question, realized someone was almost at the microphone, then nearly fell down in his hurry to return to his seat.
    • I was sort of pleased because Chris was coming to sit with me and Joe demanded Chris come up front without inviting me. So maybe he deserved to fall.
    • But I also wondered if he was trying hard to make a good impression and got overly nervous, and felt sort of badly for him.
  • I'm very tired - I think I'm a bad scientist and just can't tolerate such long days of information.
    • I'll test this again tomorrow.
    • Because I'm usually pretty tired.
    • Maybe I need to take vitamins or some extra 'not be so tired' supplements.
    • Or get more exercise.
    • Or strengthen my core muscles so I'm not so uncomfortable sitting without a table on which to lean.
  • I talked to Mom and she sounds much better tonight. The prayers seem to have helped and she seems nervous, but prepared.
    • She called on the way home from dinner with Dad and sounded stable.
    • The thought of losing her makes me nearly hysterical. So I try to calm down and tell myself that it's not time yet. Everything will be fine.
    • She's due at the hospital at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon. Surgery takes 3 hours, then 2 hours in recovery. If you wouldn't mind thinking good thoughts or offering prayers, I'd continue to be grateful.


Phdladybug said...

All the best for you and for your mom. Everything will go well.

Best thoughts

Kate said...

Mmm, lemon bars.

ScienceWoman said...

For some reason, I find your bullets hilarious. I too love the sweets at conferences.

Lots and lots of good thoughts going your way.

Amelie said...

All the best for your mom. And maybe there will even be sweets tomorrow at the conference, who knows :)

EA said...

Hey, those tortilla chips... they may be like the ones I learned to make from a friend... if so, they're REALLY easy to do... you cut up pita's into triangles, spray them with that spray on cooking oil stuff, and put them under the broiler until they are golden brown... great with hummus too!

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