Thursday, October 14, 2010

SVP 2010: Personal Highlights

The annual meeting for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists is always a strange meeting for me. On the one hand, it's not even close to being my favorite meeting. On the other hand, it's good to present my research and see old friends and colleagues. On the other hand again, seeing people I really don't care to see (ever) puts a huge damper on the meeting, and by the last or second to last day, I'm sick and tired of the meeting and usually want to go home. This last part is so unfair, but life is unfair. My friend Denny told me at the onset of the meeting that it isn't my fault that other people are jerks. And she's 100% right. Maybe someday I'll be able to fully ignore the people who fully deserve to be ignored, and I'll finally have a satisfying meeting experience.

It bothers me when I have strong negative feelings toward people. I feel like I should be a better, bigger, nicer person than that. But Fred, my friend and new partner in small mammal paleoecology mayhem, has told me that nice is about how you act, not how you think. Maybe. My Catholic senses start tingling when I have unpleasant thoughts, but maybe I should stop feeling bad about feeling bad, and continue trying to act like the person I want to be.

Despite my apprehension about the last night of the meeting, the after party, and feeling the need to socialize, it went well and I ended up having a good time. Here are some of my highlights from the meeting, the stuff that I liked.

Cave field trips!

Mixer at the Carnegie.

Dinner in a dive of a Chinese take-out place with Russ and company. All 7 of us.

Chris Shaw (of the Page Museum) retirement party at the Sharp Edge. Expensive beer, but good beer.

Drinks with the former adviser, Alex (Sloth), and the ETSU folks.

Mammal talks. By far the most statistically sound science at the meeting. Also the least cocky of the talks.

My talk. I got up, did it, hid my nerves pretty well, spoke well, and got sincere compliments from some very important people: Russ, Liz, Ernie, and Larissa to name a few.

Dinner with the new adviser and lab mate. Good food, good drink. Thanks Felisa!

The auction: a rough caricature of Ernie Lundelius went for $300. Paul Sereno's went for about $40. Hilarious.

Ran into Roger Cuffey, my first paleo instructor EVER. Never got coffee with him and the PSU crew, but I did get to talk to him for a while. He's looking better than I've ever seen him before: no cane at the meeting!

Jennifer Nestler. We can commiserate on so many levels, and there are plans to maybe room together in Vegas at next year's meeting.

Really random bar downtown with an over abundance of Halloween decor. Bad karaoke, also hilarious, but we got there kind of late so no singing for me.

I also picked up some interesting looking books for excellent prices. It pays to wait until the last day of the meeting, when the vendors are getting desperate.

Alrighty, I need to make sure I'm ready to go when the Super Shuttle gets here to bring me back to the airport. I miss Matt and New Mexico.

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