Baltimore, Dec 2003

Part of my work time is dedicated to the Engineering Research Center for Computer Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology at Johns Hopkins. I went to Baltimore for the retreat organised to prepare for the NIH site visit. I was updating my palm pilot entry through out the day, so excuse some of the tense changes.

Mon Dec 8

Set my alarm for 4am. Ate cereal while checking flight information online - we had a blizzard over the weekend, with about 2 feet of snow, and I was half hoping the flight would be canceled, but the snow stopped on Sunday afternoon. It was delayed from 6:30-7:45am. Cris dropped me in Harvard Sq, the temperature had dropped over night, his car door was almost frozen shut. The barrier to the station went up as I got there @ 5, no fee to ride as there were no ticket takers present. Long wait for 1st train, 20min? 2 out of service trains @ Park were frustrating me, but the I got an immediate connection to the blue line and then the airport shuttle. Checked in @ 6:15, others were stressing but line short. Got chai & muffin, waved sleepily to Polina in line in front of me, then went through security, combats boots taken off, and went to wait in the gate area. Xmas music (keeps dropping out) + cells & alarms about to drive me to kill.

7:45 - flight attendants just got here. No music in bathroom, tempted to hide there...

Flight was called soon after, Polina one row ahead of me after I got into my correct set (banged my head twice too, but insisted on moving as my row had a window for the window seat). Slept lots, though had OJ when offered. Lost P in the BWI terminal, got my rental car from Enterprise. The drive was okay, if a bit sleepy, until hit major traffic in build up to 83. 83 southbound was fine, got off on right exit, but missed next turn and ended up back on 83 . Backtracked on Falls Rd and found the Mount Washington conference center okay after that. Parked, checked in and was in my room around 11:30am. Unpacked, washed face, then down for last of the breakout. Things had started at 10am but were running late (as usual).

It was good that I got there, I was the only BWH person. To lunch, P sat with me, which was nice, as I was feeling isolated. Then more meetings, good I was there to do Slicer input. Skipped out on the cocktail hour, watched Mission Impossible instead (got totally sucked in, had meant to go to the gym - but it had a lot of shots in Prague!). Called cris and then went down for dinner at 8. No vegetarian main entree, had brocoli and wild rice and bread. More cheesecake for dessert and fruit to balance it. Katy told a story of hiking up a mountain in deep snow in Albequrque NM to get to a restaraunt, then hiking down in the dark, though Polina and I were phasing out during the retelling, it was good that someone else was willing to talk. The dining room cleared out abruptly at 9, so left, and found that they don't have ssh on their business center computers. Got fitness room pass from front desk (other table partner was there at the same time, and the Georgetown guy was getting a video). Back to room to change into workout gear, then across to other building and down to gym. Nice gym, lots of free weights, machines, and resistaballs. Did a pretty full workout, then updated LJ on the business centre computers and went back to my room for a shower. The campus is pretty under the snow, the octagon is all lit up, and there's a pretty fountain out on the smoking terrace - they got about 15 inches of snow to our 2feet. 10:46pm, no idea why still awake. G'night.

Tue Dec 9

I was tired still @ 7am when my travel alarm jarred me awake so I snoozed a bit, then up, packed up backpack and put it in closet. Down to Cafeteria for breakfast, scrambied eggs w/rye toast & grapefruit pieces. Sun broke through clouds over mountain, peeked throuqh trees, over highway + lit up building w/gold. Simon got in last niqht. Joined me. Gave him a summary of the previous day, then off to get ready for meetings. Tea sort of helps, tired though. May go standby tonight.

Amusing out of context quotes from Gabor during his summary speech:

My tummy is a bit upset, I grabbed some yoghurt - yoplait cone has warning to crush before disposal, what a stupid design, not to mention that they cut out a bit of product.

Hotel is ~$210/night but get free water, 800 calls, scope, gym, movies, laundry room, internet, faxes. No charge on my card for the room, apparently they're charing it direct to the grant. They'd started cleaning my room already when I went up to get my stuff. Used bathroom and finished packing - grabbed map - check out took 3 seconds. Ran to car w/pack, coats & boots, lungs not happy, still.

Will go to Fells point + shop after done for the day, just after lunch.

Hah, decided, after leisurly lunch and being packed up around, that I would stay and meet with Gabor and Simon, then head to airport. Left Mount Washington at 2:15 or so, gave Simon and Polina a ride. Circled around the airport, retracing Steve and my steps from the last time, looking for gas. Finally remembered where the station was, stupid wrong initial turn. Returned car, hiked across moving walkways through the parking structure, and finally got to the terminal. Managed to get actual seats on the 4:05pm flight at 3:20, quick pass through security and to our gate with time to spare (my original flight was at 8:45pm). Left message on Cris' cell, and then read the AirTran magazine on the flight - tried to do the crossword and failed miserably, too many movie questions. As we were banking into Boston, the moon was peeking just between a layer of clouds, and shining a golden column down on the sea. Very very beautiful. The flight was pretty empty, behind me there were a few single people, in front were people in aisle and window seats.

Back in Logan, I left another message on Cris' cell, then finally called his office number and got him. Took the T to Lechemere and met him at the office, then went over to Helmand for dinner - much nicer to do it in Boston with him than to fight my way into downtown Baltimore to the Helmand there. We had to climb over a few snow banks to get there, but it was worth it. Mmm, pumpkin and spinach and peppers and chese, and spicy ice cream for dessert.


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