Just to let y'all know - I'm back from vacation (10 days at the Unknown In-Laws in Connecticut). A good time was had by all - lots of cycling along the Connecticut shoreline, good seafood, and catching up with family and colleagues in the area.
Regularly scheduled blogging will continue tomorrow. I'm eager to get back in the swing of things, and to get back to my research. I have another two weeks before classes start, but unfortunately my school has a number of "ceremonial" activities I have to go to in the next fortnight (by "ceremonial", I mean events that serve no real purpose but to make the administration feel like they're doing something useful by putting them together). For example, there's a required two-day series of talks that all faculty on campus have to attend before classes start each year. Supposedly, it helps us all get on the same page on the "critical" topic of the year (I think this year's theme is "assessment"). Unfortunately, the page it puts us on is one where we make snide comments to each other about what a colossal waste of time the whole thing is - my experience is that a half day would be enough to cover the important stuff. The rest is just filler to stretch it out to two days.
After all, a longer meeting must be better, right?