March 4th, 2012

curse you

Like a Lion...

We finally got some real winter weather over the last two weekends, mixing snow and sleet and gale force winds at various times and in various combinations. And just to rub it in, both yesterday and today the sun popped out to give a taste of spring, but only once it was too late in the day to get a ride in. Sigh.

There was one good weekend for riding a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't take advantage because I was up in Boston for Boskone. Boskone was sort of up and down. I was able to find an reasonably interesting panel to attend most hours there, so that was good, but I didn't take a lot of notes, so I guess I didn't find much of it noteworthy. Still, there was a good panel on writing genius characters which included an observation by Charlie Stross that writing is a somewhat like doing stop-motion animation in it takes about an hour to write three minutes worth of reading material*. There were some other good panels and talks, including one by Guy Consolmagno, who works at the Vatican Observatory, on astronomers through the centuries who had the right data, but then leapt to totally wrong conclusions. Poor Schiaparelli did it on three separate occasions**.

* Or considerably longer if'n you're me.

** The most famous of these was his drawings showing the
canali on Mars, which Consolmagno attributed to the tendency of the human mind to apply an unsharp mask to blurry objects.

Anyway, I enjoyed myself there, and had a couple of great meals at Tennesee's BBQ in Braintree, so not a bad weekend.

The good news for the week is that it looks like I won't be going to Brazil after all, which is fine by me. This may yet change, because it has already changed several times a few times over the last few weeks, and we are now on victim designated traveler #3, but at present I am considered too indispensable on my current project to go anywhere but my office for the next month or so. Meanwhile, one of our other technical people is making arrangements for the awe-inspiring robust vaccination regimen required for the trip***. So it goes.

*** Which, like the whole visa situation, was not even thought about by the higher ups until designated traveler #2 happened to mention the trip to a friend, who, in turn, then mentioned the bit about all the needles...