Pitt Stop - I

You can't be a grad student and claim to have never spent a wonderful spring evening in lab hunched in front of a computer eating ramen noodles. With conference deadlines looming that's how it goes. The dirty secret is that you do research not to advance science but merely go to new places. In many ways, you don't get much vacation (that you spend entire days in lab surfing the net is besides the point) - conferences ARE your vacations. If you have not got much sleep in the preceeding weeks don't count on getting any during the conference week. The day is for the talks and poster sessions and the nights till the wee hours of the morning are simply for hanging out and schmoozing. Of course, staying awake till 4 am working on a poster feels rather unfair but staying awake till 4 am in the local watering-hole feels great!

This time we ensured we were well-prepared (as well prepared as two Boy Scouts could be) to make sure that this 'vacation' would be a great one. Tim and I hired a station-wagon and packed it with two bikes, a guitar (with a Johnny Cash song-book), a digital camera, a 24-pack of beer, maps, an I-pod, two laptops and books to read in case the speakers were boring. We really felt that we were all set for the weekend workshop/conference in Pittsburgh. Yeah, we almost forgot the poster-tube. It's happened before!
We turned on the radio and On the Road Again was playing. Cool! This was going to be some trip. Thanks to the crazy rain - we were still in Ann Arbor stuck on US 23 S a few minutes into the song. It's a real dampener to embark on a road trip and find yourself 'just a little' south of town 45 minutes later. I look forward to road trips for another reason. It has become a personal rule to eat fast-food on the highway. Why? I don't eat it otherwise and I think that eating it a couple of times a year is good for the soul. Tim advised against ordering the triple-whopper with cheese since it has 2000 calories. Jeez!

Garbage In Garbage Out: How can somebody not enter the destination address correctly? Somehow, I always manage to do it. Of course, we followed the directions meticulously and we found ourselves in Pittsburgh, but downtown Pittsburgh staring into the main office of the Mellon corporation. It was raining and late at night. We had no clue where the hotel was. Tim took a random right and then went straight on led by me saying, "This seems like a good general direction". A few minutes later, we found ourselves miraculously on the very road that the hotel is located - Forbes Avenue. I told Tim, "Dude, what you worried about?" in case he had doubts about the natural GPS that I purport to have in my head.

The first thing I do in a hotel room the moment I check in is look for the remote. I don't have cable so the hotel is where I indulge in one of the top 5 favorite activities of males around the world - channel surfing. It is so empowering to have absolute control. It's great to live a posh lifestyle for a few days. All your meals are cooked for you, the pillows are super-soft and someone ELSE makes your bed! A few bowls of ramen now and then go a long way.

4 comments:

Javed said...

Channel surfing - you're right that's one. What about the other four =)

Anand said...

Javed-We'll call that an estimation !

H: I call it a change when I cook my own meal ( plan to start that in AD 2134 )& when I make my own bed etc .
Posters ? As in those whacky colourful paper thingies you paste on boards ?I hope I am quite wrong !

Ashutosh said...

Alluding to the principles enumerated in phdcomics.org, you must have done Ctrl C Ctrl V quite a few times ;)

How was the conference?

Hirak said...

Ashutosh: At least I changed the title!! The conference was great. A lot of new ideas which translates to lot more work.