Well, I really got to say Boston is a fantastic city. I was amazed at how clean it was. Yeah, maybe that is a weird way to start out a post about the center of the known universe (or so I’m told), but hey, it’s true. The city is remarkably clean, like in a white glove kinda way. It was almost eerie.
So I guess you want pictures, stories, you know…content. Well happy to oblige.
I ended up having the same flights and hotel as Bruce did, so I guess he probably felt like I was stalking him. I tried not to talk about my work with him, figuring it was the last thing he cared to hear in an airport, but surprisingly he offer to look at some of the turbulence data I have been crunching. Only to tell me I was doing one small thing wrong, which I spent the remainder of flight time failing to correct…ah, grad school. We we arrived, Bruce and I took the ‘T’ to the Arlington and walked to the Radisson. I’ve have got to give some props to hotwire for this one. I paid $130 a night for this hotel, and it was kick ass, and only about half a miles walk to the conference hotel at Copley Place. Things were going well so far.
Now, if you haven’t bee to an academic conference, here’s the rub. The first day is useless, hence my arrival on day two (I’ve learned that lesson). Knowing this, and the typical geographer’s talent for tardiness, the keynote speaker Jeffery Sachs was scheduled for the evening slot. He was young, especially given his political/economic influence in world affairs. I haven’t read his new book, but strangely like the previous ‘honorary geographer’, Jared Diamond, the theme of Jeff’s talk smacked of environmental determinism, which while his points were true in my opinion, geography as a discipline is scared to death of repeating is past, almost to the point of hysteric. Actually, it was entertaining to watch the human geographers in the crowd squirm at talk relating human action to perception of the natural world influences surrounding a community. Highly entertaining.
Wednesday I went to several talks, including my own. It went well, though I am dreadfully tired of the topic I presented on (The San Antonio River work from my masters). It is surreal to see from whence I came. The whole ontological framework defining the goals and methods of my thesis work is wrong in my view today. I should have never even attempted it, at least not in the way I went about it. The work I guess had a purpose, after all, I did get my Masters, and somehow ended up in the amazing place I am in today, but I can’t believe I ever thought there was truth to the previous work. I guess, you could say I’m being a bit critical of my own work, but it is true! Luckily, I am growing here at Illinois, and have a much better take on the ontological framework in which I work, so hopefully I will not make the same mistakes so easily.
Also on Wednesday, I went to the Wiley Blackwell Lecture on Geomorphology and Society which was given by Denise Reed from the University of New Orleans. Her talk was earth moving;y amazing. She, and her colleagues have found a way to improve the Mississippi River Delta (birdfoot) in a way that is both viable for keeping cities like New Orleans, as well as saving the natural ecosystem on the delta, which is currently being destroyed due to massive sediment loss and subsidence. Basically, a plan to divert the river flow away from the bird’s foot delta, which currently lets alot the sediment carried by the river get washed into the deep Mississippi Holocene River Trench. Very interesting stuff, well at least to me.
After that was all said and done, I took off for a jaunt around Fenway park. I opted out of the $12 tour, which according to friend is a quick 5 minute walk up the bleachers. Given that this was a waste of money, I just walked around it:
There was a middle school immediately adjacent to the park, which of course let out right as I was walking around, or else I would have taken a picture of the awesome baseball card spit-balled to the wall. I couldn’t even read it, the only discernalble feature among the dried saliva was a Yankee’s helmet. Classic.
Went to a few good eats for dinner including O’Connors, an Irish Pub right outside the hotel that had a wicked curry? Yeah, I thought it strange also. What can you do. At least they had Harp and Guinness. We also went to a kick ass Malaysian joint in chinatown (more like block) called Penang, who strangely, also had good curry. Go figure I like curry huh? I wish we could have hit up more seafood joints. There was a Legal Seafood right across from the hotel, but the wait was never less that an hour and a half, not to mention it was pricey. Maybe next time I guess.
Parts two and three, along with many more pics and even some video forthcoming.