Sunday, 14 September 2008

of rain, iPhones, and Budgens

Am just back from yet another conference. This time, in Southampton. I’m sure Southampton has some redeeming features other than its university. Couldn’t find them, though... Mind you, it was hard to see anything through the incessant rain...

My last post, which detailed a bunch of significant life changes over the past 3 years, failed to mention my new iPhone 3G. I’ll forget my own children next... My mother, as it happens, did once forget me: Left me in my pram outside the local Budgens. Got all the way home (a few blocks away) before realizing. Needless to say, I have no recollection of that brief moment in which I was less memorable than a bag of shopping...

Not much else to say for myself... am looking forward to a couple of weeks’ stay in York before my next trip. A time to relax. And to manage the journal, and write reviews for NIH...

Sunday, 7 September 2008

the human condition

The human condition (well.... my condition) is not unlike the pond filter that I cleaned out today. You fill up with gunk, and the only way to really get rid of it is to dismantle the whole thing, clean out all the festering sludge, carefully re-assemble it, and watch patiently as it starts to function again. And whereas before, what came out of it was a kind of soupy mess, what comes out now is clean and pure, and able to support a habitat the occupants of which are oblivious to the great cleansing drama that has just taken place outside of their immediate experience.

Yeah right. But I have stopped eating biscuits and chocolate, and I did today manage to do up the top button on a pair of jeans into which I haven’t managed to fit for way too long. The great cleansing has begun...

Five weeks ago (my last post) I was about to go on holiday. Which I did. It was fantastic. I came back all charged up... and promptly got depressed the moment I stepped foot into the office. But a few weeks later, and life is good again. The journal isn’t spiralling out of control, the kids are back into their usual term-time routine, the conference season has started again, and now that the summer is almost over it can finally stop raining and the sun can come out.

I’m in fact just back from a conference in Cambridge (the UK one - not the Massachusetts one). These days, going to a conference is as much about meeting up with old friends as it is about learning about the latest research or getting feedback on one’s own. So it’s nice to realize that I have a life beyond (the website at which I manage the journal). And it’s nice to be reminded, as I write this, that there are a whole bunch of people out there, with whose lives my own occasionally makes contact, whom I wish I could thank... just for making that contact. Some of them, if they read this, would know who they are. But equally, some of them would have no idea that I include them also.

Two days ago was this blog’s third birthday. Looking back, it does astonish me how much my life has changed in these 3 years. The most significant of the changes, in no particular order, include:
  • the house
  • the pond (twice)
  • advancing through several grades at Karate
  • a new messenger bag, made from the finest Italian leather with the finest Italian craftmanship (but not a Jack Spade... so apparently I’m still not hip enough. But at $195, I’ll leave the Jack Spades to Brian...)
  • the journal
  • new friends (and some almost lost friends)
  • new students
  • new postdocs
  • new data
  • new publications
  • zillions of trips to Washington
  • and enough stress which, if harnessed, would power a small town...