I had a surreal moment in the airport on the way out Friday, when I got a call from a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor and spent half an hour talking about particle physics and physics funding and whatnot in the gate area. The guy sitting next to me was reading a magazine about NASCAR, and the guy across from me was reading Maxim, and they both kept giving me odd looks.
I didn't end up being quoted in the article (which is fine by me, what with not having tenure...), but it was a kick just to have a reporter contact me to ask questions about stuff I said on my blog.
Other observations from the weekend:
-- The party was at the Palms in Las Vegas, and was organized by a couple of high-rollers, so we had party suites, and hugely expensive dinner reservations, and all that sort of thing. The rooms we were staying in were $400/night.
This is the third or fourth time I've stayed in a $400/night hotel room, and as with the previous occasions, my conclusion is that the difference between a $400/night hotel and the $100/night hotels I usually stay in is almost entirely in the bathroom. The extra $300 gets you lots of hot water, a shower/ tub that I can fit in without having to hunch over, and plenty of towels of a size and texture that I would consider buying for myself.
This probably says something significant about the character of the nation, but I'm not sure what.
-- Speaking of the character of the nation, if you want to be convinced that there really is an obesity epidemic in America, Vegas isn't a bad place to look.
-- Not only does the Palms not have a 13th floor, they don't even have room numbers that end in 13-- the floor I was on had room 215 right next to room 211.
Of course, Sunday morning was a nice reminder of how easy it is for gambling to cause superstition. I sat down at a blackjack table planning to spend a couple hours gambling, then grab some lunch and head for the airport, and burned through $100 in half an hour with a dealer who kept drawing four cards to beat me by one. I decided to cut my losses, and sit by the pool reading instead (Charlie Huston's Six Bad Things, the climactic scenes of which take place in the seedier parts of Vegas...)
-- The stomach thing continues to mystify me. Maybe it's a stress issue, after all, but I really don't understand how five hours on an airplane could be enough to go from needing to watch ever single thing that I eat to boozing and overeating with apparent impunity. It hasn't cranked back up to the level it was at before the trip, but it's not as good since my return. We'll see if today's lab class sends me back into Heartburn Hell...
-- On a related note, I mentioned my dissatisfaction with the gastroenterologist to a friend who's a doctor, and he said, "I can tell you exactly what he was thinking when you walked in. He looks at you, early thirties, good health, no history of serious problems, and says 'This guy is going to be fine.' Then he tries to get you out of his office as fast as possible, because his next patient is seventy with stomach cancer, and that consult is going to need an hour."
There's some validitiy to that-- I do feel like a pathetic whiner complaining about my problems when the people I saw in the waiting room there were clearly in much worse shape. It doesn't make me happy about getting such an obvious brush-off, though.
Anyway, that's about enough of that. I need to shower and get to work so I can mess up my stomach running a lab on Faraday's Law...
My apartment building has "split" elevators, one side for the "odd" floors, one for "even". Not only is floor 13 skipped, so is floor 14. So if the elevators on my side are busy, I can get out on 12, go to the fire stairs, and walk up one flight to 15....
As far as the specialist, if he's only given you that "brush-off" once, you should discuss it with him the next time you meet him. If he's done it more than once, dump his ass, and find a doctor who's willing to listen and respond to your problem.