Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This week the SAMPE (Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering) conference is in town. This is very convenient, but somewhat less fun than when I get free trips to other cities for conferences. Some observations in chronological order:

1. The best way to kill time at a conference is to list observations to blog about.

2. The man running the round-table discussion I attended was wearing a crocheted tie. By the end, I was fairly certain it was not handmade. It was also red and shiny. I'm all about fiber arts, but the ties are just proof of love, not something that should be a standard fashion choice. Why on earth would he pick that up and think "This is the tie for me. I shall buy it and wear it to meet all the important faces in my field."

3. He was also just one example from the many engineering conferences that I have attended that while all men age, they may never mature. This man was leading an official event for industry experts (and roughly 57 years of age), but could not stop playing with the damn laser pointer they gave all the speakers. He kept trying to signal people he knew as they walked by the door on the other side of the room.

4. I have become much more emotionally invested in my work than I realized. It turns out that "Why don't you just use a plain fastened joint? We've been doing them for years, why bother with bonding?" when asked in an even remotely challenging voice is just plain fightin' words. Nor was I the only one. Everyone at the table tensed and got ready to spring.

5. I would like a little coffee with my cream, thank you. (Man that was wretched coffee, but at least salvageable. Nothing could save the iced tea.)

6. One of the very best feelings in the world is to see a very important person (who you desperately hope will hire you some day but are pretty sure they think you are a flake) one day have their eyes light up and the words "that's a very good point I never thought of!" begin flashing in a thought bubble over their head as you are giving the presentation you previously thought was old and lame.

7. If you want to see a room full of engineers spontaneously don tutus and begin a very complicated ballet (and have an hour to debate what falls under your proprietary information contract), suggest that representatives from three different companies have a discussion with a university research group.

8. The curly mustache is not just the provence of Halloween costumes... sadly.

9. Sometimes being way behind (weeks late on reading two very important papers that would take me about 15 min if I would just sit down and do it) can make you look very on top of things ("Was that data included in the paper? Why just let me check, as I am so prepared that I have that paper right here." and "I believe that this group right here did that work. Would you like to copy down the reference?")

10. I always assume that when everyone else is writing, they are writing important and relevant things. But isn't that what I'm looking like too? How many other grocery lists are being made here today?

11. Apparently, the fact that Seattle has moved completely into winter weather has permeated into my subconscious. I looked down at my doodling to discover this:

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It's very sad that even living in two different states this year, I probably won't see snow.

12. Snowflakes are really hard to draw.

13. I like drawing things based on circles (such as that snowman I'm very proud of). Stuffed bears are really easy to draw this way. I can't wait to start the two Bobbi Bears I'm planning for Christmas gifts. One is going to be out of Ksar, yummmm. Who knew camels were so soft? And machine washable, to boot.

14. I'm doodling very girly things. If anyone notices me, it probably won't help me be taken seriously in the world of old white m--engineers. I should draw some manly to balance it out.

15. I suck at drawing hammers.

16. Do tigers' stripes run around their bodies long- or latitudinally?

It all kind of devolved from there. By that point it was 6:30 and I'd been in a "half hour/45-min meeting" since four. It was a very productive meeting, and I didn't feel I had wasted my time, I was just getting a bit punchy by that point. Speaking of conferences, I'd better get back over there.


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