Tomorrow I embark on the second of back-to-back research trips, this time to California. This one is different. Last week's trip was to work with a collaborator, flesh out the base of a grant and produce some more data by combining the techniques we each bring to the party. This week's trip is all me, and it's the first such trip for the lab. My grad student and I are heading across the country to get the preliminary data which will from the basis for me to be able to say "See, I told you I could do it" to the NSF reviewers who demanded more preliminary data (As a side note, I know that the current funding situation demands that reviewers find ways to not fund things, but complaining that someone might not be able to complete a technique only marginally different from the ones they have been doing for the last ten years is really weak). So, in a lot of ways, the results of this trip will largely determine the success of one of my January grants. If you don't think that has me wracking my brain to remember every last thing we need to bring and pretty much assuming I am going to remember a key item about halfway over Indiana, you would be very wrong. I have a pile of things in the middle of the lab and like Santa on meth, I've checked the list about 30 times, unable to trust the there won't be one undeserving child who found themselves on the "bad" list. I don't need a box full of coal from NSF next year. Alright, I have to stop listening to Christmas music.
Everything is good so far. We got some good work done right off the plane and worked things up until now, when we're both ready to crash. The only downside has been that there is some derranged Christmas train that keeps going slowly by where we are staying, as if mocking me for my earlier mentioned disdain for Christmas music. It's full of people badly singing Christmas carols to no one in particular and a Santa yelling HO HO HO. Did I mention that there is no one on the street watching, but that it goes by every hour? If it wakes me up in another hour I swear I'm derailing the fucker.