In the smoke, in the mud and lead

I’m meant to be doing something else. As usual. In my defense, I do have WWI video tributes playing in the background. I’m trying to find an academic way to say “this is really messed up, but it’s important. Because we do this for war, but not disease. And maybe the reason has something to do with what we (as a species/group/whatever) consider to be important, and what we think we have the ability to control. And that—because I am all about the feedback—impacts what we actually choose to spend resources on.”

Nothing comes to mind, but inspiration better strike pretty damn soon, or else this is going to be the worst conference paper ever.

Anyway. Priya’s gotten the ball rolling, but I’ve got a longer wireless window. So here’s a quick list.

1. Waking up at 4:30 in the morning? Not a good time. Having a conversation with my father before dawn, on a day when NPR is rotating a story through about a suicide bombing and the Vice President? Even less of a good time.

2. I’ve already seen all those Michigan towns. They’re less entertaining when you grow up with them.

3. Interesting people met on the train:

Bob, who is eighty years old, a huge UW fan, and very talkative. He lost his keys in Boston last weekend, so if anybody sees them, please let me know.

He was entertaining, mostly.

Nameless track coach (well, I assume he *has* a name. I just didn’t catch it) whose star player won the US Indoor Track gold medal for the 60 meter dash. He and Bob got along famously. And loudly. For hours. At a very early time of the morning.

NTC is a guy who volunteers with the local high school team, sends money home to his family, and believes that these are both essential things to do. I liked him.

Later in the day, NTC spent rather a lot of time on the phone working out a sponsorship deal with a shoe manufacturer.

Angelina, who looked to be about four, was very cute, and sang the alphabet song approximately 83 times. Bob encouraged her. I imagine it might have been more entertaining without the splitting headache.

4. Why is it that Union Station never has any seven day visitor passes in stock? It’s very annoying to buy a $5 day pass.

One of these days, I’ll remember to pick one up on my way out of town, and avoid this issue. Of course, I’ll then forget to bring it along, and have to buy a day pass anyway.

At least my brain is predictably unpredictable.

5. My fantastic new hairstyle did not survive the trip.

5a. What are the chances of my running into a member of my committee in the five minutes that I’m downstairs, dressed in my inappropriate travel outfit of uniform pants, t-shirt, and shitkickers?

Yeah. Wouldn’t think it would be that high, would you?

5b. What are the chances of my having to talk about my lack of progress on the diss before I even get a chance to open my suitcase?

Yep. It’s going to be one of those weeks.

6. Pay wireless. Who picks these stupid hotels?

7. I’m not hungry enough to go back outside and find somewhere to eat. Nor am I worried enough to really get started on the revisions my remaining papers need.

I lose at being an academic.


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