November 5th, 2009

the only earth?

oh, hello

What have I been doing?
A while ago I was in Hawaii for a big science conference. We stayed at a fairly cheesy old hotel called the Outrigger, which had the main benefit of being on the beach and in the middle of the Waikiki strip of luxury shopping opportunities. It also featured a bar where performers sang bad cover versions of classic songs with extra island flare. On the beach, a boat left every couple hours for sightseers. In between voyages, a tooth-deprived man stood on the shore yelling "one dollar beer, one dollar Mai Tai" to drum up customers while his miserable-looking dachshund ran up and down the beach digging and urinating on sand castles. The weather was hot and humid. My room had a tiny deck with a hint of a view of the ocean through skyscrapers. The conference had a weird early morning, sometimes late afternoon schedule, which allowed for guilt-free visits to the beach for sunning and ocean swimming. On the first night of the conference, a company that has gotten very rich off the stimulus grant threw a party at another beachside establishment, complete with fire spinners, food, scientists dancing, and dangerously tasty tropical beverages. Our classier hotel neighbors had more tranquil bars with quieter music and blank eyed dancers at sunset. We discovered a japanese restaurant that served a dessert called "honey toast", which is exactly as good as it sounds. All in all, with the heat, weird sleep schedule, the mix between listening to talks and sitting on the beach, the advantage of being three time zones west of usual, the whole trip was as relaxing as having a temporary voluntary partial lobotomy.

After only a couple of days back in Seattle, there was another meeting in Washington DC, which was an antidote to the blissful carefree numbing of the mid-Pacific. Not bad, just highly over scheduled. Meetings, giving talks, listening to talks, meetings, new tasklists. And coordinating a pub crawl, guiding people around the always-pretty national monuments at night, and long flights.

Because of this, I mainly hibernated on the Halloweekend, venturing out for the usual brunch and ice cream ritual and going to see the new Andrew Bujalski movie at the film forum on Sunday night. I think that I "liked" Beeswax even though it was twelve minutes too long, had almost no plot, and I didn't really sympathize with any of the characters. It's no Mutual Appreciation, for sure.

Yesterday I went to see the Dirty Projectors with everyone else in Seattle and even some friends from New York. Remember how when Neumo's opened they were going to fix their awful ventilation situation? Haha. Anyway, the show was super.

And tomorrow, we're heading off to Orcas Island to cozy into two little cabins during a frightening weather event. But boats, islands, beaches, pals, board games, and all of that!