Getting to LPSC

Part of the reason I’m able to attend the LPSC meeting in Houston is its convenient location in time. Its mid-March date span landed exactly on my Spring Break. For some reason, however, this knowledge hadn’t triggered a flag in my brain to warn me that it is also spring break for probably 25% of the colleges and many K-12 schools in America. This has an amazing impact on flying. My last flights loading and unloading was frustrated by a group of college girls on their way to their spring break hot spot. These women clearly hadn’t worked through the math on “If I pack 40lbs in my roller bag, then I have to lift 40lbs into the overhead compartment.” No big deal, and mostly just funny, but the business men and women partook in much sighing and rolling of eyes. This made me think of the wonderful paper on airplane passenger loading theory. Sadly, I don’t think it will ever get put into effect.

I started writing this entry on my flight from Dallas to Houston (and am finishing it in my hotel room). Watching people board I started to play the mental “Are they also going to LPSC?” passenger game. Several folks that have the look of grad students and who are carrying the academic badge of an Academic Poster Tube have boarded the aircraft. The person next to me (with poster tube) is going to LPSC (I cheated and asked him), so at least one of my guesses was correct.

I actually feel a bit naked – I have no poster tube! I can’t remember the last time I traveled without a 36″ tube making me a danger to everyone in sight. This time I have camera bags instead (which I guess makes me a danger to anyone trying to get through security quickly). I packed two video cameras, so Rebecca and I should be able to get you lots of coverage in all media this time around.

Sunday will be a day of meetings before the meeting. There is an educational workshop (which I’m attending), and there will be grant writing programs going on as well. Tomorrow night is the opening reception and than things kick into full swing Monday morning.

For now I need to get to bed. Meetings start at 8:30am, which thanks to day light (not) savings time, it will feel like 7:30 am (and no matter what time it feels like, it’s going to hurt because it is 6.5 hours from now!)

It will be a good day though, if for no other reason then where I am. While I went to graduate school in Austin I keep horses at a stable about 5 minutes drive from this conference. My cousin Zach (whose like a brother) lived on the farm, and I stayed down here a lot in the summer and spent most of my holidays down here. He and I did stupid things like ride our horses bareback in the moonlight in muddy, and somehow we both survived to be “grownup” professionals. He and I got dinner tonight and anyone who comes to the Tuesday night meet-up will get to admire the utter lack of physical resemblance but will here the total geek resemblance. Hope to see you there! (San Lorenzo’s, Tuesday 8pm – see this map)

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