Friday, March 31, 2006
It Never Rains In California
But man it pours!!! Seriously, it was a record breakingly wet March in California, which was nice.

So Amanda and I are currently in Amsterdam, with a nother few hours to kill before our flight home. It may very well be 1pm here, but our bodies are tell us it's 3 am. I think we'll just collapse when we get back.

So I promise to post more about our wee trip, and particularly about the symposium soon. In summary, it was a good trip, and the symposium went very well, met a lot of interesting people, had a lot of interesting conversations, and heard about some very interesting work.

Until then'll just have to wait!

Saturday, March 25, 2006
The Hills Have Eyes
That may not necessarily be the case here in San Francisco, but it is fair to say that there are many hills. I know they only show hills in movies, particularly car chase ones, but when you drive into the city it doesn't seem that bad. But then you take a walk. At an given junction you may be facing a sheer drop or a steep climb.

Can I just say at this point Airbus 330s rule!! Normally when we come to the States its on a Boeing, and it is the usual movie, meal, cramped space deal. But not this time. Despite a delay which severely put our connection from Detroit at risk, the airline lovingly provided a plane with a mini screen in every seat, a list of movies to watch at your convenience, and all sorts of games and music. It was really good. Made the 8 hour flight fly by. Unlike the 5 hours flight after that, which was terrible. Arriving at what your body thinks is 6 am is never fun!

But so far SF has been pretty good to us. Good food, good shopping, good beer, it seems like a good little spite of the hills. Heading down to Palo Alto tomorrow in preparation for the symposium starting on Monday. I'm hoping it is a little flatter!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006
On The Road
Yes indeed, the time has finally come to depart on another Nowson adventure, although self-discovery and other tree-hugging hippy crap are not necessarily on the agenda. (Note my subtle blending of pop-culture references there.)

In the morning we make our way to the airport, having already checked in by the power of web, and begin our trip to San Francisco via Amsterdam and Detroit. Though the journey may be arduous, and hopefully not too perilous, we are both very much looking forward to it. My wife is particularly looking forward to showing me the greater range of dining experiences that San Francisco has to offer. I don't see any need to serve food later than 9pm, but apparently it's all the rage :-)

It promises to be a very enjoyable trip, and I shall endeavour to let you know how it goes.

Should Blogademics Blog?
I think this is an interesting question. Should those of us who study blogs also maintain a blog? Getting into the spirit of the medium so to speak. It is a question I tried to pose on the blog set up for participants of the symposium on blogs I am attending next week. The answer was that nobody responded. Now I know that some of the speakers do have blogs, but it also appears that many of them do not.

At first I thought that was a bit of a poor show. If you are going to study blogs, then you should have a blog, talk about your work. It just makes sense.

This is of course a very silly thing to think, for two reasons. The first concerns the content of the blog. A traditional blog is an online diary, and not everyone wants to publically publish details of their personal lives. Alternatively, a blog contains details of work, and acts as a repository for academic thoughts and musings, which again not everyone wants to share.

The second is a more general point that really concerns study of or indeed interest in any topic. We don't expect all literature types to be writers, and not everyone who likes art needs to be an artist. Just because I blog, doesn't mean that other blogademics should. After all, blogging is not for

Monday, March 13, 2006
West Coast Conference
So everything is pretty much in place for our trip to Stanford for the AAAI symposium. We've booked our accommodation and we're pretty close to the University. If anyone managed to wangle funding to stay at the penthouse suite of the Garden Court Hotel, be officially warned of your fellow attendees' jealousy.

The first draft of the schedule has been announced and it's really the first time I've had the chance to see who else will be attending. There are a number of interesting people who it will be good to be able to meet. Some very interesting looking talks.

Of course, as with our trip last summer, my wife and I are making more of a wee holiday out of it. Before we head down to Palo Alto, we are going to be in San Francisco for 4 days. Besides seeing the city we are plaaing on making a wine tasting trip up to Napa or Sonoma. Also, my wife is going to take me to my first theme park to take me on my first roller coaster. A scary proposition, but exciting and I'm very looking forward to the whole trip.

Thursday, March 02, 2006
Achieving Things

The theme of this post is talking about things that have been accomplished recently. Firstly, I finally completed the final draft of my application for funding from the Australian Research Council to do my post-doc at Macquarie next year. Obviously I can't tell you what the proposal concerned, since you might steal my idea and I wouldn't get funding. I can tell you though that it is a natural extension of my current work, taking into account new areas of interest.

Speaking of my current work, Jon and I just completed our submission for the big ACL/CoLing conference in Sydney in the summer. Again, I'm afraid I'm unable to give you too many details, because they are quite strict about reviewing work anonymously, and if say too much, I might compromise that. However, we are both very excited about the work in the paper, and I like the think that you might apply words such as unique and ground-breaking to it.

The final item on today's agenda is to say congratulations to Dr Tim Smith (AKA Continuity Boy) on a rather successful thesis defence. Welcome to the club. It is honour and a privelige to have such a good friend join us.

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