My family and I just had an 8-day vacation in Costa Rica. Great time: stayed in a deluxe treehouse, explored the rainforest, swam in the ocean, crossed the jungle on hanging bridges, floated down a river, saw an erupting volcano, met lovely people and ate great food. Then a “pure life” experience: my daughter was thrown from a runaway horse, and when we caught up with her she was in/out of consciousness. Drive to emergency hospital, life flight to bigger hospital, stitches, concussion, overnight observation. All very difficult, given language barriers and the complications and misfortunes of socialized medicine. But a happy end result: she is fine, things could have been much, much worse, and we are somewhat wiser for the experience.
We followed that trip directly with a trip to Chicago for some sightseeing, visiting with good friends (Bill, Diane, Rick, and cousin Karen), and the Central Division meetings of the APA. By lucky happenstance, we ended up one evening with a stretch limo ride, which may have eclipsed all of my children’s memories of the rainforest.
My paper’s presentation at the APA went well enough — though I still need to work on presentation skills. It could have been much clearer and more gripping. But the APAs generally seem to be going through a transformation: basically fewer and fewer people are attending sessions. My friend Bill suggests that this is due to blogging. By the time the convention comes around, the papers have already circulated and been made largely available through websites, and have become largely “old news” to all interested parties even before they have been presented. I think this is true, and the APA should start rethinking its format. Perhaps there should be fewer “presented papers” and more roundtable discussions.