Well, classes have ended. My GSIs graded the final exam, and I turned in final grades. I am done with class! I have to say that I was too generous with the students. When someone comes to you and says that they are basically an idiot and can you have mercy on their soul (i.e., don't fail them - just give them something higher than a D....), what do you say? Laugh at them and say "NO! Ha! Ha! Ha!"
I really thought that life would slow down a bit after class ended, but so far, not so much.
I went to Boulder on Wednesday night of last week. Was there all day Thursday, then flew back to MI on Friday. I gave a talk there and it was well received, which is good. This was a meeting that I go to every year, but it ends up being the same meeting every year, with the same speakers saying the same thing. It is a very political meeting, but very little science is done there. The only real reason that I go is to (a) do political stuff, (b) see people that I haven't seen in a couple of months, and (c) get away from the office, so I can actually do some work. Typically, in order to get some work done, I need to be gone for more that 1 day, so the meeting this year did not accomplish that. But, I got to talk to some people that I don't get to talk to very often, which was good.
Over the weekend we went kayaking, which was nice. There were issues with kids wanting to do their own kayak, but not having enough muscle power to actually paddle against the wind. Crab Boy did a lot of "Let me do it on my own!" complaining, and we tried to be patient, while Crab Girl was going all over the place with her kayak. We made a few mistakes, that we will be able to compensate for next time. For example, Crab Mama and I went in a single kayak. It would have been better to go in separate kayaks, with one of us chasing after Crab Girl and the other one taking a nap near Crab Boy. Then, rope would have been nice. So, when Crab Boy gave up the ghost, we could have just dragged him back to shore. We ended up swapping him for Crab Mama about 1/2 way through the event. Live and learn. Overall, I would say that it was a beautiful day. It wasn't too hot or too cold. We had a relatively good time paddling around the lake for a while. No one was drowned. Positive.
Early this week, I don't remember what I did..... Ahhh... I made a todo list and tried to accomplish things on the list. That is basically my life now - make a list and cross stuff off it. It almost doesn't matter what it is, just do it. Write a letter of support. Done. Get Y to install Wiki software so other people can start doing web page management. Done. Start runs on machine Z. Done. Blah Blah Blah.
Now I am in New Jersey sitting in an airport waiting to go home. I went to this meeting on Wednesday afternoon. I wanted to go a little early, so I could go to New York, but the plane was delayed and we got in a couple of hours late. I am also a lazy sack of crap, so I just walked to a restaurant and had a very crappy dinner in Newark. I had a talk to give on Thursday, so I should have been working on it. I didn't. I worked on crossing more stuff off my list. Respond to e-mail P. Send an e-mail to person Q. Blah Blah Blah. On Thursday I went to the meeting. It was interesting, but I really don't have any idea whether it was actually worth coming to. I spent about 20 minutes putting together a talk from talks that I have given in the last couple of months. It was a fine talk. Lots of questions with interest (as opposed to hostile questions). We went out to dinner as a group, which means that we spent 3 hours there. I am a relatively social person, so this is sort of ok, except that you start to feel like you need to call home and talk to the kids and such. It is hard to do this while being at a restaurant with 25 people who you marginally know.
One of my main problems that I have while at meetings is that I feel like I am always the wet blanket. I don't do a lot of hanging around with people until 3 AM, only to be bright and chipper at 8 AM. I have to say that if don't get something like 7-8 hours of sleep, I am a real dick. I also like to have a few minutes by myself before I go to bed, to read and just be. So, I think that a lot of people at meetings don't think that I like them, because I don't go to the bar and stay out late. There were a couple people at this meeting who I think really thought that I didn't like them because of this. So, I sat with them at dinner. I feel like we are all pretty ok friends now. But, I didn't go out to the bar with them later. Oh well.
When we had to buy tickets for the meeting that I am at, we didn't know what the schedule was. So, I got a flight home at 5:30, assuming that the meeting would take most of today. Well, when the schedule came out, I say that it pretty much ended at 11:00. But, instead of changing my flight, I just decided to go standby. Last night NWA wouldn't let me get on the standby list. So, when I got to the airport at 11:30, I got on standby for a 12:30 flight. There were basically no seats available. But, someone didn't show up, so I got the last seat. I went on board, and found my seat, but there was a kid sitting there. Hmmm... We it turns out that the parents didn't get the kid's boarding pass scanned. So, she was on board, and not delayed somewhere. So, I got off the airplane. I called NWA and asked them if there was another flight that I could get on, instead of sitting here for 5 hours. The person said, "what do you mean earlier flight. You are on the flight that is departing right now." I told her, that I obviously wasn't on board that flight, since I was looking out the window at the airplane pulling away right now. I explained what happened. She said that I was confirmed on that flight and that I would probably have to pay a change fee to get on the original flight. WTF??? She put me on hold. 15 minutes later, she comes on and says that she is going to talk to her supervisor. 5 minutes later, the person at the next gate over calls my name. Huh? So I go over there and she asks me what is going on. I tell her and she tells me to hang up. I do. She gives me my original flight back and puts me on the stand-by list for the earlier flight. 2 minutes. No supervisor. I just don't understand. Maybe they didn't want me to take the survey at the end of my call....
So, here I sit in the Newark NJ airport. Blogging.
Who knows. Maybe I will get more work done at the airport than at work. Stranger things have happened.
10 months ago