Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Weekend

I finished the talks. I don't think that either one was that great, but, they existed. There was no standing ovation.

I talked to a lot of people out at the Air Force Research Lab. They are working on some pretty interesting things. I am actually quite biased against scientists who work in labs like this, since I see them as basically not contributing to science hardly at all. It seems like many of them get jobs, then are beaten down by the government regulations or whatever, and end up just in in-office retirement.

For example, I was trying to give the person who invited me to come and give the talk my power point presentation. He asked me to mail it to him. I couldn't, since I have movies and stuff that are larger than the 50 MB that our mail server can handle. (Note - don't send 50 MB mail attachments. They really suck down your mail program.) I then suggested a USB thumb drive. No - the government won't let them put USB drives in their computers. (What???) Next, put it on a web page. Well, I can't actually connect to the internet because my computer may explode the Air Force base (or something). So the solution we came up with (he came up with - having gone through this once or twice before) was for me to burn a CD with my talk on it. Then he takes the CD and puts it in his computer and copies it to his hard drive. We then throw away the CD, which fulfilled its destiny in 30 second.

Ah, viruses. I think that the terrorists have won this battle.

Imagine living everyday with this type of logic at work in your life.

"Can I do this?"



"Because we have determined that if you do that, something bad could happen and that would be bad."

"But, by not allowing me and everyone else working for the US government to not do it, you are cause untold amount of lost time and inefficiency."

"Yes, but if we get a virus, we could be down for a day."

"But, if you add up all of the time that is wasted to circumvent this illogical madness, it is MUCH longer than the down time if the worst probable thing happened."

"Follow the rules."


"Follow the rules!"

I think that after a few years of this crap, I would probably join the in-office retirement community of our great nation.

Moving on.

For my talk in Boston, there were a bunch of people out of town. It was a real shame, since there are a large number of people there that I would like to talk to. This was all caused by my moving the day that I was supposed to come and give a talk from the middle of April (during classes) to the middle of May (during summer). I was traveling too much, so I asked if I could move it, and they agreed. But, many people were out of town and a significant amount of the discussion that I could have had with people was cut. Oh well, such is life.

I then climbed on an airplane and flew to an undisclosed location in a state that begins with the letter P and hopped into the minivan to drive to another state that begins with the letter V. The wife and kids and dogs all met me at the airport (she arrived within 15 minutes of my flight arriving, even though she had to drive 5+ hours to get there - how is that for timing?) This all happened at 11 PM. We had to find a hotel that would take dogs. It turns out that in the great state of P, it is difficult to find a hotel that (a) takes dogs or (b) is not completely booked by Halliburton workers. Seriously, the entire Comfort Inn was taken over by Halliburton workers. It was a little scary. We finally found a hotel after asking 11 of them if they let dogs stay. It was crappy, but I had spent the previous night in a bed and breakfast in downtown Boston (I would have to say at least $250/night) and the night before that in a Marriott (about the same price), so pretty much anything would look like a Hell Hole. Hey, there was only one bug that I saw, and it was in the bathroom, so it wasn't all bad.

In the AM, we slogged into a Bob Evan's and ate some good old food for breakfast. I realized, once again, why we never go out for breakfast. Crab Girl eats about 438,625 pieces of french toast. At home this isn't too prices (just ~20,000 loaves of bread), while at a restaurant, it is about $2/piece, which ends up being a fair bit. And it doesn't come with eggs, so you have to order that extra. And juice costs $5/ounce. So, a breakfast that would have cost you about $5-$10 at home costs about $35-$40 at Bob's. Oh well. After we left, I vowed to get a hot plate, a skillet and some pancake mix.

Am I a bitter old man or what?

We decided to take the shorter, yet more scenic route to Aunt Crabby #4's house. This meant traveling through the mountains on a two-lane road. It must have been the breakfast, because I almost hurled. Up and down and round and round. I was even driving. It seems like the mountains in Colorado were up and up and up and then down and down and down. These were up and down and up and down and up and down and ... Ralph. Oh sorry.

We arrived at Aunt Crabby's house where we had a doggy love fest - four dogs in < 1000 square feet. It was all dog, all the time. It is funny, because I remember one of Aunt Crabby's dogs being very big, but compared to Lilly, he was tiny. Lilly is now a gigantic moron dog (not just a little moron dog!)

Aunt Crabby put us all to work on little gifts for all of the attendees of the wedding. They were very well thought out and nice gifts. She spent a lot of time and energy making things that she thought people would really like. So, we helped finish some stuff up and put bows and stuff and other things.

The next day we got to do more running around and going to rehearsals and going to rehearsal party and such. Fun times. I really wasn't involved at all, but Crab Mama was the Maid of Honor, while Crab Girl was the Junior Maid of Honor, and Crab Boy was a flower boy or something (he got to throw flowers while looking embarrassed). We met up with Grandpa and Grandma (divorced, one remarried, the other bitter... awkward!) at the party, and hung out for a while.

It was quite humorous, since people put a movie on for the kids to watch, and after about 30 minutes, the groom and the best man made their way over to the couch and sat and watched the movie, while the rest of the people talked. It was at the groom's house, and 75% of the people their were his family. I should have been the one on the couch! I have no relationship with these people at all (well, ok, I married in the deranged family, but you get the point) and HE is the one sitting there watching the stupid kid's movie, while I talk up the wife's father. Grrrr....

The next day was the wedding, which didn't start until 6:30. So, we had the day to kill. I took the kids to see "Night at the Museum 2" (sucks monkey balls). And arrived back to a freaked out bride. I am not really sure why she was freaked out, but, after a little bit, she calmed down and she and Crab Mama packed up and left for the wedding place. I took Crab Girl to the store to print some pictures for Crab Auntie, while Crab Boy stayed with Grandma. We ended up getting prints and then going to Bed, Bath and Beyond, since I realized that we hadn't actually bought them a present yet (oops!) Then, it was off to the wedding!

It was a very small wedding. I actually felt much better about our wedding, since we had a ton of friends there, while Crab Aunt didn't have many friends there at all. Considering that it was he second wedding and she is about 10 years older than we were when we got married, maybe it is to be expected. The reception was fun. We danced a fair bit. I know that there is some crazy video of me dancing to Come On Eileen, which was the fastest/most modern song the DJ played. Since I now have tenure, I don't have to worry about these types of things anymore (right?)

We drove home on Monday. It was a very nice day for driving. I drove like a bat out of Hades through V, WV, and P. As soon as we got into O, Crab Mama took over and there were Police Officers EVERYWHERE. We didn't see any until this time, but once she took over, they were spaced about every 10 miles on the interstate. She drives much ... better ... than I do, so there was nothing to worry about.

Never, ever, get a burrito from anyplace associated with Hardee's.

It took us about 10 hours to finally make it home. Home Sweet Home.

My next trip is in three weeks. I don't know whether to be happy that I have three weeks, or to be frustrated that I only have three weeks.

Bed time!

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