N'awlins

Feb. 19th, 2009 12:14 pm
logisticslad: (Default)
I'm having a bout of synchronicity regarding New Orleans:

1) Top Chef just had part one of the finale in Nw Orleans and showed lots of footage of places that I recognized, plus Emeril was the guest judge.

2) I'm currently reading Dragon's Wild by Robert Asprin, and the characters just went to live in the French Quarter.

3) The cafeteria just offered their version of a Chicken Po'Boy for lunch today, which I just ate (it was only reminiscent of an actual po'boy but I was definitely in the mood for it).

I've really enjoyed my visits there and I haven't been back since the disaster. My annual Neuroscience conference hasn't been there for awhile, but is scheduled to return in 2012. Hmm, can I wait that long...?

SFN

Nov. 17th, 2008 09:31 pm
logisticslad: (Default)
It's been being a tiring but productive Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in DC. There are over 31,000 attendees this year. My first student and my two collaborators had very successful posters and presentations. In fact, my collaborator who gave a presentation gave one of the best talks that I have ever heard her give. She was very nervous, because as an engineer, she doesn't really feel comfortable speaking to a group of biological scientists, but she did great. She also handled questions very well and even solicited my input on one of them. Several folks thought she was my student because of that, but I set them straight and it was all ok :-)

I had dinner and drinks with my old college friend Murray and some of his friends and that was fun. I had lunch with my old college roommate Will, who is a journalist and was covering the meeting. Several people who used to work with me stopped by to say hi (including Kyle who worked for me to six summers and Mark who worked for me before him) and it was great to catch up. There was a Drexel alumni social (to celebrate that it's been 10 years since the bankruptcy and that things really have recovered) and a Spinal Cord social, so I had to miss the LGBT Neuroscientist social which was scheduled against one of them this year. It's been nice being recognized by a number of spinal cord researchers whom I've been seeing at meetings for the last several years. I'm now high enough on the food chain that they seek out me and my work because they're interested in what I'm doing (just like I do for some of the bigwigs in the field).

My new shoes have been holding up well and my feet are not even too sore from breaking them in. I'm liking my new Ecco's!

I haven't really eaten at any place that has been exceptional on this trip. The food options have been ok, but not particularly memorable. Of course, having to eat dinner at 8:30 or later has been rough, but this year it's been more about the networking than the food.

Tomorrow is going to be very intense. Three of my students are presenting posters in the morning session, along with a number of my colleagues. There is also a busy afternoon session, including a talk by Brenda Milner, one of the people who worked with the famous amnesiac H.M. Actually, the large talks have been pretty good this year - I particularly enjoyed the one on Birdsong, by the woman whose 50 page review I use to teach that topic in one of my graduate course. However after tomorrow, I'm pretty much done so I've decided to take the train back tomorrow evening and miss the last day of events.
logisticslad: (Default)
So in the midst of the convention, I realized that there was something wrong with one of my shoes. It turned out that the glue holding the heel together had dissolved in the rain and the heel had essentially collapsed. Fortunately, I was still able to walk on it for the rest of the day, but it was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. When I got back to the hotel, the concierge suggested several places to go to find a new pair of dress shoes on a Saturday night. First, I tried a nearby Filene's Basement, but didn't find anything I liked in my size (despite the sale prices). Then I tried Comfort One Shoes in Dupont Circle. They also didn't have anything in my size, but suggested that I try the Ecco shoe store across the street. Ecco is a Danish shoe brand, that I had at least heard of. There I found several comfy shoes that I liked, and one was even in my size! It turns out I wear a 41C in the European size scale, which apparently is one of the smallest sizes they make. At this point, I was grateful to find something that fit, so I bought them to wear for the rest of the conference.
logisticslad: (Default)
Spent Wed morning at the conference and had to lug my bag to my student's poster since the line to the baggage check was way long. After seeing the state of my luggage, my students offered to take up a collection for me to get a new one. Since I don't travel all that much, it hasn't been a big priority, but I'll put it on the list of things to do once I get promoted. The high point of my morning session was finding my grad school closetmate D at her poster. She and I shared an attic office with a sloped ceiling and just enough room for two desks side by side. We both have many fond memories of that space (each of us having been caught by Security doing things there that we oughtn't :-) It was great to catch up with her a bit. The rest of the day was spent traveling. My plane was delayed in its arrival and then after we were on the plane it was delayed again while they overcame a technical problem about refueling the left tank. We finally arrived in Philly at 6:30 and after rescuing my luggage from baggage claim and my car from longterm parking I arrived home at 8:00. My cats were thrilled to see me! PURRS galore! They both cheek marked my suitcase and then spent hours laying on top of me or beside me and purring their little hearts out. This was a much different reception than when I was away camping last month, although they were still working on integrating with each other then. They seem much more bonded now and that's wonderful! I am filled with Kitty Love!
logisticslad: (Default)
So as I had said, I got up with the dawn and went to the conference only to discover that the main hall did not open until 1:00pm. So I sorted out my itinerary with the staff there and then went for a walk in Olympic Park and found my way to the Georgia Aquarium. That turned out to be a fun way to spend a few hours. One must pass through metal detectors in order to enter the Aquarium, which made me wonder what had gone on there to inspire such a level of security. Among the sights were sea dragons, jellies, sea otters, giant groupers, whale sharks and beluga whales! They had an unusual layout, with six different exhibits that branched off of the big open main space and funnelled you through a path to see the various tanks. Each exhibit was organized around a theme and if it hadn't been so crowded, it would have been much more enjoyable. As it was, I did get to see everything, but there were a lot of people jostling each other to get close. I could have watched the two sea otters all day! They are much bigger than river otters, but still incredibly cute. There were five beluga whales there as part of a breeding program (one was actually in the medical tank being treated for an illness) and they were very cool to see. The attendant warned us that since it was a breeding program that we might see some (ahem) breeding displays. None occurred while I was watching, except that the male had his nose against a rock and was casually flapping his tail to stay in place while the females all ignored him. It looked like typical human bar behavior and made me laugh.

I went back to the convention center and began looking at posters and running into people I knew (despite their being over 30,000 people here). I was glad to see one of our grad students who had defended yesterday and successfully passed (it was a close thing)! After several hours of hard core science, I took the shuttle bus back to the hotel to rest for a bit and then returned for my evening meeting. That was fun as we gave an award to the Editor in Chief of Science magazine for his efforts in promoting Neuroscience education. So now if I ever am successful enough to submit a paper there, he knows who I am! I then spoke to my three grad students to make plans for dinner. Well, it turned ou that their plane had been delayed and that they were very tired, so we agreed to fend for ourselves and I came back to my hotel. There had been enough of a spread at my evening event to count as dinner, so I got some dessert and here I am. So it's 8:30 on a Saturday night in a city I've never been to, and I'm going to soak my tired feet, read a book, and go to bed. The strange thing is - I'm actually happy with this decision, since I am pretty worn out from my busy day and it's all on again tomorrow.
logisticslad: (Default)
Why does traveling make one so tired? All I did yesterday was spend a few hours in a car and on a plane and a lot of waiting around. But after a short walk from the hotel to the Peachtree mall food court for a quick meal, I came back and crashed out for the night. I was asleep by 10:30 (which is unheard of for me). I'm now up with the dawn (another rare event). It could be that I am unconsciously resting up in anticipation of the exhaustion that is to come. Well, the conference starts at 8:00am and goes until 5:00pm today, after which I have to attend a meeting of the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs until 7:30pm.

I spent an hour last night creating my itinerary from the searchable database only to discover at the end that my computer does not have the software to convert it to a printable format. Sigh. I'm hoping that they will have some way to do this at the convention center, else I'll simply wander around until I see something interesting. And with several thousand posters and talks each session, plus exhibits, there is likely to be something to see.

Ok, time to go to work...
logisticslad: (Default)
I'm here in my fancy hotel, the Marriot Marquis in Atlanta for the Neuroscience conference, Travel was basically uneventful and it was fun to ride with some of my students. I've got my complimentary internet connection working and am going to explore the Downtown area in search of dinner in a little bit. It's sunny and low 70's here and the room looks nice, although the hotel pool is down for renovations :-(
logisticslad: (marge)
I had a morning of meetings today followed by a short trip to Temple University for the Philly Society for Neuroscience meeting. Actually, it turned out to be a slightly longer trip than expected as I got a bit lost hunting down the building that housed the event. I served as a judge for the poster session. Two of my students entered and did very well (tying for second - a bit of a shame since we only gave out one prize for first). I told them that I was very proud of them and better yet, my Dept Chair had come and got to see how well they compared to students from other local programs. He and I had a nice talk about having the Dept financially support one of my students which would be fantastic for her and a solid endorsement of my mentoring capacity! We stayed for the guest speaker and the fun presentation of how Brain Awareness Week at the Franklin Institute went this year. That's when neuroscientists and students do demonstrations about the brain and the senses for 6-12 year olds. It looked like it was a blast this year. I had done it awhile ago and I have to remember that I would love to volunteer for that again. It was a very energizing meeting and it is always fun to see what people around the area are doing.

This evening was my SF book club meeting at Borders in Bryn Mawr. We discussed Octavia Butler's novel Wild Seed as a tribute to her recent passing. Since the facilitator couldn't make it, I ran the meeting (still in my suit from the afternoon conference, so I looked very professorial). We talked about how Butler specifically made her characters Black, which was novel for 1980, when it was originally published. It's about a pair of immortal psychics with very different value systems and it explores the theme (which is present in many of her works) of how someone can willingly submit to enslavement and control by someone else. It is heavy on character interplay and thematic discussion, but low on plot. I liked it a lot and most of the group enjoyed it, too. It is still in print and has something to say about how things are today.

I got home and vegged by watching American Idol. They were singing the American standards, which they did very well and I had perfect vegging complete with purring cat. Then I checked my email and discovered that the paper that had been rejected by one journal as being not that interesting to them was enthusiastically and rapidly accepted by the second journal with only minor edits (we had resubmitted it only three weeks ago). This is an important paper for both my student, who is trying to graduate, and myself as it will help establish me as a researcher in this particular field which should help with the grants. What a difference the choice of journal can make!

Thanks to [profile] puzzld1 for the new icon!!!

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