Sunday, October 14, 2007

Conference Time

Over the weekend, both Rob and I had conferences to attend. Rob’s was a computer conference here in town; mine was a regional primate conference about 3-1/2 hours to the south. I left on Friday afternoon with a bunch of other grad students from my program—some of whom were genuinely interested in primatology, and some of whom were more interested in a change of scenery.

In years past, this Mid-West primate conference has been awe-inspiring and fabulous, but this year I just felt kind of … meh. Maybe its because Carbondale is about the least vegetarian-friendly place I’ve ever been (and I’ve visited Texas), and it was just that I was hungry the whole time. Or maybe it was because our supposedly “non-smoking” hotel room in fact smelled like it had been inhabited by chain smokers for the last 30 years and all of us were up coughing all night long because the stench was so bad. It was probably more of the latter—I couldn’t breathe well and slept poorly on Friday night, so all day on Saturday at the conference my face was puffy and no amount of weak coffee and Lorna Doone cookies could wake me up.

One of the highlights of the conference was talking to my friend Liz, who I met on Ometepe while she was there for a few weeks collecting data for her master’s thesis. It was good to see her and reminisce about Uno and Funny Nose and baby Patti of the South Group. I was presenting a poster on the case study of the dog attack I observed on Ometepe. I actually didn’t get a whole lot of feedback from people on it, but during the poster presentation, I was too groggy and puffy to care. Oh well, at least nobody told me it was stupid, so that is a plus.

It turns out Rob’s weekend was far more entertaining and action-packed than mine. Apparently he was giving a talk at his conference, even though he’d never so much as mentioned it to me before-hand. He sent me an email all about it, but of course I didn’t read it until after I got home and talked to him. I think his own words really describe it the best. Here’s what he said in the message he wrote to me:

"My conference presentation went about as badly as any presentation could go. The previous session went long so I was short on time. My computer crashed when I plugged in the projector. The lapel microphone didn't work well so I had to either shout or hold it up to my lips. After rebooting Mathematica didn't start. It started the second time but my first example didn't work. After quitting and restarting Mathematica it started working better. All of my examples took longer to run since I no longer had any of the external applications already running. Spotlight (one of my examples) just didn't work. The time ran out just as I reached the part I wanted to spend the most time on. I got through about 60% of my material. I had to talk so fast I'm not sure anyone could understand what I was saying anyway. Phew. I guess it can only get better from here. I hope all is well with you."

Poor Rob, better luck next time. I think it did get better from there on out though. On Saturday there was a state-wide high school marching band competition here in town, and while Rob was riding his bike to his conference, he saw my old friend Jason, who is a band director back where it all began. Talk about random--that’s so Dunlap Love.

Sunday morning I slept in longer than I thought was possible and then didn’t even go running. Instead, Rob and I went to a big clearance sale at Champaign Surplus, and I bought a new coat. I haven’t had a new coat in about 7 years, and the coat I’ve been wearing all this time is not going to be good for riding my bike or walking to school this winter. Rob took a picture of me trying on the coat; I don’t think it is interesting in the least but Rob thought I should blog it, so why not.

Later in the afternoon, I avoided work by raking leaves in our yard, and Rob took some photos of the absolutely fantastic marigolds and mums by the front of our house.

Rob is still in a lot of pain from the bike accident; he’s recently upped the ante with some powerful painkillers, and he’s going to have to go to the doctor this week because something in his shoulder is definitely not right. We’ll keep you updated.

The latest word from Ometepe is that one of the guys who worked at the Hacienda is now going to be a daddy, and they’ve emailed me to ask me to pick out a name for the baby. This is interesting. Nicaraguans tend to be very clever with the names they give their children, and I always wondered how they came up with some of these names. I guess maybe this is how—by soliciting the advice of people from all over the world. I’ll have to think about it for a while. At any rate, I’d better sign off for now. Thanks for reading!


amypfan said...

Sounds like the conferences where not so much fun for either of you. Glad to you got to enjoy Sunday more. I'm very intrigued to hear what you come up with for this baby's name. As I have mentioned before, I was shocked at the amount of responses I received when I solicited names for Baby #2. Let me know how it goes!

foxymomma said...

What A weekend you two had!!!!!!!! Poor Rob, sounds like the MENEHUNES got into his COMPUTER and messed everything up......... One of those segments in your life , you prefer to wish never happened, for sure=== and to think/ we all thought, he had been through enough this past week, just trying to make it thru, after his harrowing experience on last Monday!!!!!!! I'm sure your presentation. was A-ok, as you are your WORST CRITIC!!!! On a happier thought,, the FLOWERS are incredibly GORGEOUS.. you should send the photo to some HOME AND GARDEN 'magazine!!!!!! Just wait until the IRIS 'bloom'!!!!!!!! Have you come up with a NAME yet for the NIC.people????? I bet I know WHAT IT WON'T be !!!!!! -:) GOOD LUCK to Rob, at the Dr.s. Let's hope they have some answers to his pain situation, and can FIX it ( W/O DRUGS)... hugs to you both

Anonymous said...

.....Tell Rob - when you up the ante on your pain killers, it's probably better if you don't go to a big conference and give a big presentation... Poor Rob.
......The good news is, things can only get better.