Sunday, September 6, 2009

What Did I Learn at the APSA?

It has been a very productive semi-week here in Toronto, and, before I leave, I would like to enumerate some of the things that I have learned:
  • The bagels in Toronto are just as lame as those in Montreal.
  • All of the whiners who complained about the location of this year's APSA were off target--despite the bagels, this was an excellent location with amazing weather, nice people, heaps of cheap restaurants nearby (underground food courts), cheap and easily accessible tickets to major league baseball around the corner, and even free massages next to the book area of the convention center sponsored by the Toronto tourist board.
  • I prefer the less painful kind of massage to the pinch-the-muscle kind.
  • I know more people than I thought. I amazed a McGill grad student with whom I was chatting in a hallway of the convention center, and was saying hi to many folks as they walked to and from the Tim Horton's (talk about a strategic location!). It was fun to see this through her eyes, although I did caution her of her observation bias--she didn't notice all of the folks who walked by whom I didn't know nor those who were avoiding me.
  • Graduate students are all the same--one of the papers I discussed was written by a student who edited and slimmed it down--AFTER sending me the longer draft. My students have the same nasty tendency to edit after I get a longer, less polished version.
  • My poker skills have indeed gotten much better since I started playing in graduate school, not much of a feat.
  • I need to blog more about ultimate apparently (or so says my 2nd-bff).
  • I am still a ditz (left the key card in the room once).
  • I am not the only one obsessively seeking external validation (multiple observations).
I was also reminded of many things that I already know, including that:
  • I love my job as a political science professor.
  • My current project, (with Dave A.) on the challenges of operating multilaterally in violent places like Afghanistan, is inherently interesting and is hard for me to screw up the presentation. A Tale of Three Omelets, indeed!!!
  • Despite my complaints about McGill and the differential burden-sharing problem, I am incredibly lucky to have a very good position--a Canada Research Chair with great students and some terrific colleagues in a pretty desirable location--despite the challenges of living in a political unit (Quebec) that is run both poorly and expensively.
  • I have managed to pick up some great friends over the years in grad school, past jobs, previous conferences, and wherever else I have wandered.
  • As I get older (and I am now solidly middle-aged, like many of my friends [Sorry]), I think I appreciate stuff more. Or at least my recent blogs would suggest that I do.
Oh, and I made a certain friend laugh almost out of her chair when she realized how apt it was that I described myself as a narcissist. Apparently, she, among others, does not read the sidebar of this blog.

1 comment:

Steve Greene said...

I feel pretty special for making the photo portion of this blog post. And no, you don't need to blog more about ultimate.