Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Friday-Saturday, AGU 2009

Friday was my big AGU day, the day of my poster session. One of my group's collaborators had a talk first thing in the morning, so we all got up early for that. It was quite good--one of the best I saw at AGU. We left a few talks later to pick up my poster from Kinko's. Along the way, we picked up some caffeine and breakfast from Peet's Coffee. I highly recommend the California Raisin Roll. It's like a honey bun filled with some creamy filling and raisins, then glazed. After all my (mock) worrying, the poster turned out fine. Huge, but fine. Like a good little group of lemmings, we all trooped back to Moscone South to put up my poster. The advisor had a lunch meeting planned and invited me and my lab mate to join them. My lab mate went along, but I declined. I wouldn't have as much chance to look at the posters in the afternoon as they would. That set me up for another solo lunch outing.

I wandered back to the hotel, checking menus posted in windows along the way to see if anything appealed to me. Cafe Mason seemed like a good option, so I grabbed my laptop and headed back there on my way to the afternoon poster session. I ordered a turkey club sandwich with fries. Not exciting in itself, but it was really well done. Thin sourdough toast, tomato, lettuce, turkey, and crispy bacon for the sandwich and light, non-greasy fries on the side. Perfect for a pre-poster session meal.

The poster session technically started a few minutes before I got back to Moscone South. This was my second poster presentation ever and I was late. Oh well. I met several scientists I knew only by name about my research. All of them gave positive feedback. If I told them my plans for wrapping up this work, they said they look forward to the publication. If they made suggestions before asking me about future work, it was already on my to-do list. In other words, I didn't get much new feedbck on my research, but the reassurance that someone values my work outside of my little research group was valuable, especially with my recent motivation issues. One of the scientists commented that my poster looked very nice, too (someday he'd learn to make a nice poster :P). If nothing else, I got to meet other people in my subfield and they got to associate my name with my work. I'd say the poster session was a success.

My group left the poster session an hour or so early since we had dinner planned in Berkeley. Most of the attendees were in the free beer line anyhow. We caught the BART to Berkeley and found Beckett's Irish Pub for dinner. I ordered a fish fry, which was again excellent. (I'm fairly certain this area does not know how to make bad food.) I didn't intend to order a drink unless something sounded particularly interesting. Of course, my lab mate found a something that fit that description a few minutes after we ordered our food: hot apple cider with brandy. How could I pass that up? It was tasty! I was stuffed and happy by the time we left the pub. We had a bit of time before we needed to catch the BART back to San Francisco, so we wandered the Berkeley campus. Beautiful campus, at least in the dark.

We'd hoped to fit Muir Woods in somewhere, but our flight was too early in the day to make it on Saturday. My advisor suggested a self-guided bike tour of the city instead. Sure, why not? San Francisco only has a few hills. Eight miles later, we'd toured a good chunk of the city between our hotel and the Golden Gate bridge. We ran out of time to cross the bridge. My advisor was sore the day after the long bike ride. I was fine :).

After returning the bikes and retrieving our luggage from the hotel, we made it to the airport with just enough time to grab a bite to eat and board our plane. The San Francisco adventure wound down with a 15-minute delay on the tarmac for air traffic control delays at our destination and a quiet flight back.

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