I flew in on the Saturday before because I wanted at least some time to visit people and because I have concluded that I much prefer scheduling flights such that I don't have to rush around early in the morning or late at night to get where I'm going. My flight was around lunchtime and I dithered over whether to take the bus that would get me to the airport 1.5 hours early, which is possibly cutting it uncomfortably close if there's traffic or if it's a busy travel day (which I thought it might be, but it wasn't), or the bus that would get me there 2.5 hours early, which is definitely more time than is needed, and then I thought A-ha! I'll check the airline's website for delays, since I knew there was a Pineapple Express event (aka atmospheric river) hitting the Bay Area that had delayed things earlier in the week, and when I checked there weren't actually any delays, a little surprisingly, so I went ahead and took the early bus and then, half an hour after I got to the gate, they delayed the flight for two hours.
So that was kinda lame.
But I had free airport wifi and an outlet splitter for my laptop power cord and my trusty purchased-the-night-before Chipotle burrito for lunch, so really, it was fine. And when I got there, Spider came and picked me up at the airport so I didn't even have to deal with luggage on the train, and that was nice.
I spent Saturday night and Sunday morning at Spider & Eli's new place, which is AMAZING. It is the best house, I can't even tell you. It has lots of different levels and high ceilings and funky little cubbyholes and it's HUGE and there's a fireman's pole and ohmigod. I want to xerox it and have my own copy. It's also very obviously from the '80s, so I guess I know when my architectural preferences were laid down, because so many things about it just felt right. But anyway, I spent Saturday night there with Spider & Eli & their daughter Kayla and we, I dunno, hung out and talked a lot. And it was lovely.
On Sunday, they dropped me off at my hotel (on their way to a baby shower in SF), so once again I had no lugging of the luggage, which was pretty awesome. I stayed at the Intercontinental, in part because hotel selections were somewhat limited by the time I made my reservations, but I think I'm becoming a big fan. First, it's right next to Moscone, so you don't have to carry all your stuff around to have access to it; you can just go back to your room to grab something between sessions. Or go take a nap. And second, they let me check in at 1 pm, and gave me a south-east facing room that would get good morning light when I asked nicely. And they have a pool. And it's a very new hotel. So that's a pretty good setup.
I got myself settled into my room, and then got some food into me and did my prereg stuff. There is now a Target in the Metreon, which is pretty excellent. I picked up some non-carby breakfast stuff for the week (summer sausage, raw vegetables) and a pair of compression shorts. I wanted to see if they would prevent the chafing I tend to get walking all over the place, and boy, do they! I was very happy with them and bought another pair on Tuesday. Anyway, after my shopping, I concluded that I really should have gotten my hair cut before I left after all, because humidity make my hair curl, so I found a barber shop over on 2nd and Mission and came away with an excellent haircut. (I'm so much happier with the haircuts I get since I started going to barbers rather than hairdressers. Wish I'd known that 20 years ago...)
And after all that was dealt with, I gave Xris O. a call and we met up for dinner, which was, as always, a hoot. I gave her a videotape I got at a garage sale in Alaska that purported to explain the myteries of the internet. She gave me a duck-shaped micro-flashlight from her workplace and a Trader Joe's "chocolate passport", which is a box of small bars of single-origin dark chocolate in pretty wrappers. And we talked and stuff, and it was lovely.
Monday was my poster session, first thing in the morning. Joy. Though on the other hand, it was nice to have it over and done with. And I got a lot of interest. I have now had enough people ask me "so where is this published?" about this and last year's posters that I'm thinking, huh, guess I ought to write a paper. Soaking in the jacuzzi at the hotel (another plus for this hotel) made my feet and legs much happier after standing in bad shoes (professional-looking, but with lousy arch support) all morning. Monday evening was the MIT EAPS reception, where I met up with Quinzee. The spread and venue were much less impressive this year than last; I might give it a pass next time.
Tuesday was not quite as busy, conference-wise. For lunch I walked over to Instructables HQ and joined Death & Christy & Quinzee at a great little buffet place that had all kinds of tasty carbless options. Dinner that night was a group affair with the gAyGU group (LBGT geoscientists) at a Thai place over I think in the Mission district, or nearly so. I didn't particularly know anyone there (until some stragglers showed up), but my boss, who would have been there herself if not for a business meeting, had sent me the invite info, so I figured why not. Met some interesting new people, had tasty food. And on the way there I stopped at Rainbow Grocery and picked up some tofu misozuke, about which I shall post anon.
Wednesday morning there was an interesting global change session and then at lunch I met up with a colleague and spent the afternoon playing teddybear. Which is to say, Colleague owes me code, but Colleague has been very busy and hasn't had time to write the code. So we met up at AGU and that gave Colleague the impetus to actually write the code. My role was basically to sit there and be a reminder of the task at hand, and to listen to Colleague ask questions or explain problems, the answers to which would then become clear to Colleague. (This process is sometimes called "teddybear debugging".) That took up all afternoon, but "we" made good progress. And then we had a semi-celebratory project dinner at a fancy (ish) restaurant just off Market street. The food was good, but it's not the kind of place I would pick to plonk that much cash down.
Thursday I think I saw a bunch of poster sessions in the morning and then had a mostly free afternoon so I said to hell with it and went to a movie. (Skyfall, which I enjoyed.) Had a couple serendipitous encounters afterwards, then got myself dinner solo for the first time this trip. I thought about seeing another movie, but instead I went to SF-MOMA, which is open late on Thursdays and half price after 6 pm. I was unimpressed with an awful lot of what was there, but were a few things that made me very happy to have seen. In particular, a digital piece by Casey Reas had me smiling like a loon for several minutes. One conclusion of this trip: I am a lot more interested in pieces with detail than pieces with texture.
Friday morning there were a whole bunch of really interesting talks on informatics. Having fortified myself with an extra-hearty breakfast, I met with Colleague again and spent the entire afternoon teddybearing and it was exhausting but it was worth it because at the end of the day, I HAD CODE! And now I can post-process several terabytes of raw data into something useful and then throw away the originals. YES! Dinner was with a bunch of Xisters (me, Death, Quinzee, Droid, Thug, and two or three other youngsters whose names I didn't absorb) at a Vietnamese place called Mangosteen. Yelp said the dish to get was the cubed filet mignon and the garlic noodles, and it was not wrong. But it was a really nice dinner because, along with delightful conversation, we all ate a whole bunch of things family-style and then split the bill straight up and it was just a lot less fuss and bother than all the work dinners I'd had all week.
Saturday morning I BARTed back to SFO and flew back to the airport and Monkey picked me up yay! and we went home and freshened up and I pulled myself together and then we zipped up to Loveland for Chris and Todd's holiday party, which was jolly and festive and wow there was a lot of candy.
And then I was tired.
Oh, and the last-minute midnight run back to the office on Friday night before I left because I forgot to bring my poster tube home? Posters came in full-sized cardboard tubes this year, and I could have gotten by without it. >:-P