Yesterday we had a graduate student poster competition. These things are the bane of my existence. For those who have not experienced academic posters they are not what you might expect…the best word to describe them would be…boring. They tend to be full of charts and figures (mine included) with equations and all the junk without much frill or interest. But of course, the university determined that it would be great to get all the grad students together to show their research in one place…perfect. In my almost four years here, I’ve presented posters at 7 academic meetings…I don’t need this, but of course, its mandatory for the department. I oblige and explain my poster to computer science students who have no idea what I’m talking about and then some physicist can lecture me on the intricacies of field theory and the design of wi-fi receivers (while I contemplate what I might have for lunch). Its all really quite useful. To put things in perspective, the woman next to me studies mouse reproductive biology and a certain math PROFESSOR stopped her in the middle of her talk with the brutally insightful question… “Mice have EGGS?!?!?”
Yes sir they do…and so does your wife…just ask her. Anyways, in the process of all this, my department head showed up for a brief visit. He is somewhat akin to a used car salesman. In that you know he is lying to you and he is trying hard to hide the fact that as soon as you turn your back he will screw you over with a wink and a smile. All in all, a born leader that we are lucky to have…or not. He mentioned off hand that he heard my upcoming conference was in finland. I said yes and he asked if I was going anywhere else. I said I was planning on Amsterdam and elsewhere. The conversation that followed was (paraphrased for convenience and clarity…it might have been a little different in reality)
Department Head: Amsterdam eh…
Me: What are you Canadian??? I mean, yes…Amsterdam
DH: I’ve been there a few times (winks at me)
Me: Please don’t wink at me it freaks me out. Anyways, how did you like it.
DH: Oh, I liked it very much…you make sure you stop by my office before you go and I’ll show you a few things
Me: Are you a catholic priest in your spare time??? I mean, OK I’ll be sure to do that
DH: I think you’ll really like it if you know where to go
Me: Ummm, I’m not sure I know what that means but if you are referring to hookers or elicit drugs then I might need to go throw up
DH: Oh you know what I mean (winks again).
Me: Gotta go…I think I hear my goldfish calling
So yea, I have a new contender for the most awkward faculty award. I figure by the time I finish this degree I will have a good pool of data to draw on and determine a winner but I would say that the department head is now a close second to my advisor. Time will tell who wins this tight race. Patrick OUT!!!