Silico-Paleontology: The Minnebar 16 talk that wasn’t

I was all scheduled to give a talk at tomorrow’s Minnebar 16 entitled “Silico-Paleontology: Using graph databases to analyze evolved programs”. Than, last night, my left knee cap decided to slide off to places it didn’t belong, and I ended up in the ER where I received a very stylish knee brace/immobilizer. I’m fine, and will be hopefully be back to normal in a week, but for now the idea of driving the 3ish hours each way to the Cities, the walking and standing and walking, etc., etc., isn’t really an option. So I’ll be missing a meetup with Morris folks tonight and one of my favorite tech events tomorrow.

Even more annoying, I’d finally gotten around to scheduling a talk, and now that’s not happening either. I’ve thought pretty seriously about giving some sort of talk since I attended my first Minnebar in 2013, but the timing has always gotten in the way. Usually these things are in April, when the semester/school year is getting quite chaotic, and the best of intentions run up against the realities of the job, and the talk always losing.

This year, though, Minnebar is in the first week of June! So there was really no reason not to submit a talk, and I did. Several people had expressed interest on the website, and I was really looking forward to sharing some of the research work I’ve done with UMN Morris students over the years, meeting some new folks, etc., etc., etc.

My knee, however, had other thoughts.

And so when I would planning to be arriving in the Cities and checking into a hotel, I’m sitting here with my leg propped up babbling on the Internet. Sighz.

If there’s time maybe I’ll write up a short version of the talk here, and if folks would be interested in more we can go from there.

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I love my cool family!

It's a shame they don't get along :-)
It's a shame they don't get along :-)

Welcome to Valentine’s Day, that annoyingly commercialized annual reminder that we’re actually supposed to care about the special people in our life. As Cory nicely put it

Proving you really care about someone is an achievement that takes effort everyday. Chocolate and flowers on a single day won’t do.

All that said, I figured it wouldn’t be amiss to let my family know how fabulous they are, a non-commercial sort of way of course :-).

The photo up top is from 9 years ago while we were living in the UK during our first sabbatical; Tom was 7 at the time, and Susan hadn’t yet cut off most of her hair. The strip below is from our second UK sabbatical 7 years later; now he’s taller than her and looking suspiciously like a young man instead of a little boy. Both give a sense of how fun it is to live with these two — there’s no question that I’m a lucky, lucky man.

It's a shame they don't get along (7 years later)
It's a shame they don't get along (7 years later)

It was interesting to see how few photos I have of the two of them together outside of the sabbaticals. Those two years are documented in excruciating detail, while our day-to-day here in Morris is much more sparsely recorded. There are moments, like when Tom’s on stage, where I take a billion photos, but I end up with very few photos of the two of them together.

I think this helps illustrate the value of these years we’ve had away from home. There’s something about stepping out of your “normal” life, leaving most of your stuff behind, and making a life (even if for just a year) in a new place. It shaves off a lot of the distractions and, for us at least, meant we spent more and different time together. Some of that is in the form of being tourists together (which is where these photos come from), but it’s also in the form of walking together because we didn’t own a car, and being together because the apartment was too small for us to easily be apart.

(And I realize that having this sort of opportunity just oozes privilege; most people don’t have the flexibility or resources to do this sort of thing once, let alone twice. I’m lucky in many, many ways.)

Happy Valentine’s Day to Sue and Tom!

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