Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mile high, milestones

This afternoon, I successfully defended my dissertation prospectus. It was, in fact, a rather nice process, with suggestions ranging from the specific/technical to the broader implications. This is, in a strange way, exciting. Let's see how many pages this excitement lasts through.

Some of the excitement is also residual from SAM. SAM was my first conference, and it's still my favorite. It's surprisingly accessible, friendly, inclusive, and thought-provoking. The papers all-around were excellent (it makes getting rejected better), and I had ample time to catch up with friends, make some new ones, and even had a few substantive academic moments (like interviewing Wayne SHirley, who turned out to be in the original production of Mass! Crazy!) Add to that incredible weather, a mostly well-designed downtown (excellent transit, lots of places to go, walkable, but the dumbest idea for a city plan: a grid for the downtown pasted on another grid that runs 45-derees to the central grid), and finishing my grading on the flight over, and it's a perfect time. I even had some time to meet up with a high school friend for lunch in Boulder (mountains are amazing!) after the conference and check out the art museum before it. The museum has a marvelous collection of native American art, a rather small and uninspiring assortment of western art (save some good modern stuff, but the layout is unflattering and pointlessly categorized by type), and I simply ran out of energy to look at more paintings of the American West. It turns out that every painting of the prairies and canyons looks like every other painting of the prairies and canyons. Also, they had iPods at one point, but they weren't in any way connected to the exhibit. I'm baffled by this. What, you just incorporate something new and technologically savvy, and pretend that its presence is enough to merit praise?

In summation: success.


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