Sunday, August 30, 2009

Final Report: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

So, I failed to come up with a coherent, convincing argument for staying in Afghanistan, although I do think that leaving unilaterally a la Canada is a bad idea.

I think I can make a stronger argument that my summer rocked [disclaimer: I did, indeed, spend most of the summer working, so the title of this post is mostly in jest].
  1. Three weeks in Europe (Paris, Berlin, London--see my June and early July blogs) were both professionally and personally fantastic. I managed to interview a large number of military officers, government officials, members of parliament and experts about a very interesting topic that is very much in motion. The conversations were always fascinating, and I learned a great deal. In my spare time, I was able to see a lot of sites, go to a bunch of museums, eat all kinds of excellent food, and even see a couple of shows in London.
  2. While my body regrets it, I had a great time playing ultimate 3-4 nights a week, including the weekly game with my daughter's Junior team, which got better and better as they played in an adult league. I will definitely have to cut back next summer to 2 nights or so, and maybe an occasional third night. Who am I kidding? More ultimate is more ultimate!! And I just have to count on medical technology and insurance to provide me with a new elbow, new knee and two new ankles.
  3. Made up for my three weeks away with heaps of fun father-daughter time at La Ronde (Montreal's Six Flags), a high ropes course, basketball and softball practice, beach time, movies, and much teasing (she gives as good as she gets).
  4. Despite yesterday's bad movie experience (which was so good because it was so bad), it was a great summer for movies. Didn't see as many due to the travel and such. The summer movies varied in depth and meaning, but were entertaining even when mindless, from the start with Star Trek and Wolverine to Night at the Museum 2 to Harry Potter and District 9, with the wildly profane (Bruno, Hangover) in the middle. I regret missing The Hurt Locker and Up, but I don't mind missing Terminator Salvation, Angels & Demons, or Land of the Lost.
  5. I made a big splash in the Globe and Mail with a widely reviled op-ed piece that led to my new nicknames--servant of the illuminati and servile academic minion.
  6. And the summer essentially ended with the family beach trip to Delaware. As usual, we had lots of good food, but this time, the waves were a bit dangerous rather than too tame. The trip was interrupted as I took a detour to meet with my co-author, but this was a most productive conversation, so that the summer's research is going to pay off in a variety of ways, we hope.
So, it was a well-spent summer, even if I didn't make any progress on my probability experiments. School starts Wednesday, and it should be an interesting term between my huge intro class and the advanced IR workshop with speaker series. And the APSA also starts Wednesday with a post later today or tomorrow about why I am a conference guy.

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