American Rhapsody
F.A.Q. | Contact | Liens | In English
Tuesday 20 October 2015
in Sweet Sister Mercy

Deep-Fried Smelly Old Socks

I have been invited to give a talk at a workshop in a scientific community that I don't know well (and that I would have described as only tangentially related to mine before discovering I knew two of the research groups that were present).

A number of things have irked me.

[+]

Thursday 14 May 2015
in Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax

The Three Things Your Pub Toilets Need

1. A variety of condom choices. P1020180a.JPG

2. A dementia-related ad. P1020182a.JPG

3. Carpet. P1020181a.JPG

Friday 24 April 2015
in I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One

Science and Music, More Than Ever

April means flowers blooming, days growing to a decent length, the sun shining and the fog of a depressing winter lifting at last. Massacres keep happening, migrants die by the hundreds on the wide Mediterranean sea, and French politics are getting maddeningly scary, but spring is in the air and in my steps. It's also in the steps of the World's Best Baby, who is starting to walk with these little gleeful toddler shouts that melt all your troubles away.

Music

I go to most excellent concerts.

I've seen Vladimir Ashkenazy conduct an orchestra of young musicians. I've heard the most beautiful Haydn. I've shivered hearing the song of a clarinet mix with the voice of a viola. I've savored comments from members of the audience, remarking afterwards on how beautiful an instrument the viola is (well, duh). I've marveled at Beethoven's violin sonatas, along with an audience who brought forth three encores and concluded with a well-deserved standing ovation.

Tomorrow I'll see the New York Philharmonic. The New York Philharmonic! All this thanks to a bunch of generous people from the Internet. I met three of them face-to-face for the first time a couple of weeks ago. They're even better in person.

I prepare concerts with my orchestra.

I make the time to practice and play my instrument more often, almost daily.

I hang out with people who make music as a pastime; I hang out with people who breathe music in every minute in their spare time; I hang out with people who make music for a living.

Science

Young people with much more impressive resumes than mine at the time I was completing my masters degree are applying to do their PhD with me, sometimes even being ready to forgo guaranteed funding to "give themselves the means to do what they really want" even though none of the funding plans we have for them is guaranteed. A professor I almost did my own PhD with now asks me to co-advise a PhD student with her.

Colleagues are letting me know how much they appreciate me, both as a scientist and as a person, through the regular application of blush-inducing compliments. Thankfully I recently noticed that it doesn't always show when I feel the heat rising to my cheeks, allowing me to appear to keep my cool.

I went to a very geeky one-day event, got my programming groove back on, and relished hearing people getting passionate about low-level architecture. Attending said event with a guy I used to study with more than ten years ago was the perfect icing on that nerdy cake. After that, I got to spend a very nice evening drinking too much wine with British guys who at some point actually argued about tweed. And plaid. And emacs vs vim, of course.

I do math and write code and think about genetics and I keep being amazed that people pay me to do so.

Music + Science (h/t)

I argue about jazz with my colleagues.

I make plans to play a concerto with a woman I first met over a shared interest for graph theory and statistics.

I wonder about the piano, viola, violin trios that I could play with two people with whom I'm equally likely to discuss convex optimization as German romantic composers.

And old friend writes me about music I made him discover years ago and smoothly transitions to HIV research in the following paragraph.

I go out to orchestra parties. There's sometimes food, often wine, and always laughter, singing, and math jokes. Occasionally there's also dancing and the opportunity to verify empirically the stereotype that bassoonists are good with their lips and tongue.

There's no better morning-after talk than music and science.

And traveling too (h/t)

A childhood friend slowly introduces me to the people he met in the fifteen years we haven't seen each other. Invariably, we talk about music, and science, and travels. (And, well, politics.)

I buy plane and train tickets. To other places in France, to the Netherlands, to Scotland, to Iceland.

And because you can never make everything fit in nicely design little boxes, one of my closest friends wrote a novel that looks like it's going to be published for real and I'm way too excited about this for my own good.

Tuesday 3 February 2015
in Dear Diary

The Proposal

It sometimes feels like most of my scientific career is made of "why the fuck did I accept to do this?" moments.

The only thing that changes is that now I know they're going to happen at the moment I agree.

This time was no exception. Five-year research plan, one point five million euros, nine percent chance of success, all on my own, deadline in a little under two months? Sign me in. Well a few people whose opinion in these matters I respect say I oughta try it so. Sure! Why not. Great opportunity. Will give me a first experience. Thinking about my five-year plan can't be a bad idea anyway. What, Christmas vacation? Oh well, who needs Christmas vacation anyway, as long as one can spare a couple days to hang out with family.

[+]

Wednesday 31 December 2014
in Travel Stories

2014: A Year in Travels

Winter.

Lens. From Greek antiques to Art Deco.

Amsterdam. A room full of girls on the top floor of a very narrow house. Rembrandt, Chagall and Constant. Canals shining under the sun. Hot mint.

Toulouse. So much rain. Giving a talk in my wet socks. Cake and tea. Books, books, books, so many books. The whirlwind of an evening from here to there, chatting freely with people I had just met, having fun. Breakfast in the sun.

Spring.

Germanland. A room that hasn't changed over the years. Work. Schubert on the piano. Aperol-Spritz on the main square. A long theater rehearsal. A party, me in my striped dress, stories, confessions, hugs, and love. Ice cream alongside the river. Feeling at home.

Southern France. I didn't know it, but this was to be the last time I saw my grandmother.

Germanland, again. More work. Feeling warm and loved as an old friend fusses around me, feeding me food, coffee, music and books. A ride on the river. An evening at the theater. Hugs.

Porto. Music, food, sunshine, a ride on the river, the decaying beauty of an old town, photos of that same town taken from behind windows. A crown of flowers on my head. Port. All of it in great company.

London. Canals, water, pubs, sunshine, Indian food with a Californian friend.

Cambridge. Beers near the water. The best little girl in the entire world. Photo shoots. Indian food with a lots of people I never met before and a few I've loved for what feels like forever. More sunshine, pubs and water.

Summer.

Southern France. Meeting the most fantastic puppy in the entire world. Swimming outside. Managing to neither melt nor burn in the sun. Thinking, fleetingly, about running away from it all and write absurd novels.

Picardie. Fires and shooting stars.

Stockholm. Science. Great science, awesome science, terrible science. Science in hallways, science at breakfast tables, science around beers, science in rooms where we sneaked in. Some of the best conversations around food and beer I've ever had. The fantastic Scandinavian light at sunset. Reindeer and sea lions. Telling stories.

Southern France. Two round trips in one week to see my grandmother die and bury her. A warm puppy licking the tears off my face. Hugging my cousin for the first time ever and wondering whether we'll ever let go.

Fall.

San Diego. Sunshine, water, good food and beers. And cool science and friends. I'm starting to see a theme here.

Tunisia. No Internet. No decisions to make. The Mediterranean, sunshine, desert sand, oases, palm trees, camels, Roman ruins, and dates. Probably what saved me from burning out.

Germanland. Curling up with my feet under myself, liters of tea, a few beers, theater, boardgames, and good friends wrapping me in their arms.

Southern France. Family, minus one. Mixing traditions from Provence, Morocco, and Germany. The sun on my face and a warm puppy on my belly.

You know, I could convince myself it was a good year.

Saturday 25 October 2014
in I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One

That Blurry Fog

How did it start? I couldn't say. Do these things ever have a clear way of starting? The first time I laid my eyes on him I didn't think much of it and that kept happening for quite a number of times, until... until... When did it start? During this week where we spent a lot of time just the two of us together, I suppose, although of course we'd set the ground before—how else would we have gotten to spend a lot of time just the two of us together?

I can't even say exactly what started. Something dancing on the edge of a friendship meant to last. Paying attention when his eyes are twinkling. My heart sometimes beating a bit faster when I see him. Being able to draw comfort from his presence only.

[+]

Monday 14 July 2014
in Dear Diary

Reasons I cried today

  1. My back was still hurting when I woke up.
  2. My back was hurting when I washed the dishes.
  3. I miss Germany.
  4. France celebrates its national day with a military parade. And fireworks and concerts and speeches. But mostly a military parade.
  5. My back hurt.
  6. Someone pushed me in the corridors of the metro even though I was limping my way through, feeling sorry for myself.
  7. Someone wrote on Twitter that Germans don't understand sarcasm. I miss my sarcastic German friends and their dry humour.
  8. I remembered that one time when my friend told me he was going to "leave science and become a lab administrator, or technician", and I enthusiastically told him this was great, that this wasn't leaving science at all, and that it made me happy to know he knew what he wanted to do after his PhD, and he told me I was the first person not to berate him for not wanting to become a professor.
  9. My back hurt and no one gave a shit.
  10. The war between Israel and Palestine.
  11. I still miss Tel Aviv even though I'm glad not to be there now.
  12. I can't configure Facebook to stop telling me about people's birthdays. It's written right here in the upper right corner, Facebook! I don't need an extra notification and I especially don't need to see all the meaningless messages other people left them. 12 people took 3.5 seconds each to type in "Happy Birthday!!" and 23 others only used one exclamation mark? Fascinating.
  13. I need Facebook like a fish needs a bicycle but I don't know how else to keep up with quite a few people I enjoy keeping up with.
  14. I'm tired and my. back. hurts.

Chronic (back) pain is emotionally exhausting, y'all.

Tuesday 1 July 2014
in Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax

Life's Alright: A List.

Fifty things I did in June. In alphabetical order.

[+]

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Of Small Contributions

You guys.

I've reviewed a paper recently.

In my review, I pointed out what I thought to be a major flaw in the approach proposed by the authors, and suggested a method that would circumvent that problem and probably not be much slower (it was important that this algorithm be real fast).

Normally, in that scenario, one of two things happen: either I misunderstood the approach, and the authors kindly point out that Reviewer 3 is out of her mind and shouldn't be allowed in a five-mile radius from science, or the paper ends up rejected, possibly after the authors devoted three-quarter of a page of their response to shabby arguments that try to justify why they won't try out any of the suggestions made by the reviewers.

I just got the response to the reviewers.

Something magical happened.

The authors took my comment seriously. They implemented the approach I was suggesting. They found out that it performed better than theirs (including in terms of runtime!). They admitted to it. They profusely thanked me for the suggestion. They removed their flaky algorithm from their paper and replaced it with mine.

It feels like seeing a unicorn pooping rainbows, or whichever Internet imagery you want to use.

Like, wow, science. As it should be done.

Cherry on top: it's an open access journal that also practices open peer review. While I was worried my comments would lead the authors to poison my beer at the next conference at which we meet, this actually mean that not only to they get a (slightly) better paper out of it, but I also still get some credit.

I contributed.

In the meanwhile, on FB, someone whose child has leukemia is blaming everyone from the government to researchers for the ordeal her little girl is going through.

I do what I can, okay.

Saturday 4 January 2014
in Dear Diary

2014

So. 2014, eh.

Well the bathroom at work still smells like vomit and the sink is still clogged and I do not like to give too much thought about the possible correlation between those two events. And someone (me?) should tell my French male coworkers that in other countries, men clean up their messes in common areas and their dicks didn't fall out. Yes, I checked personally on a few selected subjects.

To tell the truth I am more relieved that 2013 is over than excited about 2014. It has been an extremely rewarding year (hello Paris, hello dream job, hello great friendships, hello dance and music) but mostly I need a vacation. In the sun. Near water with nothing else to do than read, swim, eat grilled fish and fresh salads, dance, and drink cocktails with friends. Someone should take me to Greece asap. Instead of that I am working on two deadlines for the end of next week.

So this is what I'm dreaming of for the coming year. Sun, relaxation, peacefulness. Laughing with like-minded people who won't question my life choices, won't prefer politics to solid science, won't lie to me ever. Dancing near the water with my feet in the sand.

And clean bathrooms.

Have a sweet, happy, delightful, fabulous year, y'all.

Oh, and yeah. I've redone the paint around here.

Monday 25 November 2013
in Dear Diary

It Takes an Ocean not to Break

Today was the day nothing worked out. My phone / Internet access is a tangled mess of technical services that keep asking me whether I've plugged the yellow cable in the yellow plug (it's called an Ethernet cable, and yes it is plugged in the Ethernet port for goodness sake). I can't reach the people who're supposed to deliver my bedroom closet and they don't call me back. I didn't have all the necessary documents to purchase a public transportation card. I went to a hairdresser at random and ended up looking like I'm wearing a bad quality wig. Also, the product she used itches and stinks.

[+]

Tuesday 13 August 2013
in Blogging Matters

Happy 10, Dotclear!

Dotclear?

What is Dotclear?

Dotclear, the little blog engine that could, is an open source content management software. I've started playing with it a few years after I started blogging, fed up that I was with the lack of flexibility of the online platforms I'd been using until then, and I never went back—how could I? From its start, a little over four years ago, AmRhaps in English has been powered by Dotclear as well.

More than a tool, though, Dotclear is also a community of amazing people. I met them on the forums when trying to figure out how to make this thing here have that behavior there, on their blogs, on twitter, and then, for some of them, in real life. Year after year, Dotclear has been a growing part of my blogging experience... so when, last month, Kozlika sent a cry for help and called for contributions, I didn't hesitate before signing up. I'm now proud to be part of the team, however so modestly, as an occasional tester and, more reliably, one of the English voices of Dotclear, both on twitter and on the blog (where I even comment in my broken but cheerful German if needed).

Happy birthday, Dotclear, and here's to another ten years!

Monday 17 December 2012
in Sweet Sister Mercy

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

More than half the reactions to the I am Adam Lanza's mother piece I see are of the "Please help this woman get her child committed" variety.

It's fascinating how an article that I've seen shared by people claiming to advocate for better mental care and fighting the stigma against mental diseases actually ends up reinforcing the stereotype of mentally sick = violent = budding mass murderer / serial killer.

So, a few things.

(1) As far as I know, we have no idea what kind of mental troubles Adam Lanza had or didn't have.

(2) No, not every child that's prone to violent outbursts is going to become a mass murderer.

(3) Actually, most people with mental illness are more likely to be the victim than the perpetrator of violence. Tadaaa!

(4) I've never been violent myself, but boy am I glad that none of my parents thought it a good idea, back when I was thirteen, to write for the world to see about how horrible it was to deal with me and how I was going to become a violent killer.

(5) What does the kid think of all that? Who knows? Who cares? From this article, not his mother.

(6) P.S. Adam Lanza had a father.

Saturday 15 December 2012
in Travel Stories

Calivada

A long, if very incomplete, list of things that happened to me in the past two weeks. Suggested soundtrack: Surf Rock.

[+]

Tuesday 27 November 2012
in Travel Stories

California Bound

Boing, boing, boing, boing, boing!

November is almost over, and once I've survived the next 60 hours[1], I'll be in a plane to London, shortly followed by a plane to Los Angeles.

There will be sun, the ocean, great friends, and my favorite lady in all of America; then my favorite conference, set in a location I'm not sure I trust but as long as it features a beautiful lake and a hotel sauna and swimming pool, I'm pretty sure we'll be alright; and more sun, ocean, and my favorite physicists as a finale before flying back to Germanlandia. And yes, there's a reason "favorite" was featured three times in the same sentence.

Plock-plock, my dears, and fare thee well!

Notes

[1] Let's see... proofread a very important, 18-pages document; finish putting a research project together, and other shenanigans related to the first phase of my application to faculty positions in France; three meetings; three talks to attend; a goodbye dinner; an orchestra rehearsal; pack; clean the flat for some insurance visit; finish reviewing a 30-page paper; consolidate my code with that of a colleague who still hasn't send anything; ensure my poster is printed and in the appropriate poster tube; a gazillion administrative things; pick up a package at the post office; get my hair cut. Yeah, I'm almost there. Good thing I'm amped up.

Saturday 3 November 2012
in Dear Diary

It's Hard to Hold a Candle in the Cold November Rain

Last week it snowed. The city turned cold, wet, slippery and gloomy. With wind blowing packs of snow in our legs and faces, crossing the bridge, once a highlight of the way to the old town, became an ordeal. Not twenty-four hours later Daylight Saving Time kicked in, and the sun, or whatever was left of it, started to set in the middle of the afternoon. The temperature rose a little, and the sun started shining again a few hours a day; but thus so royally announced, November started.

I don't know if it's the family tradition, my Mediterranean, sun-thirsty roots, or a more generic light sensitivity seasonal autumn blues funk, but my brain is definitely not impressed. Darkness has descended upon us? Let's get in a dark mood then.

Every day that I don't cry is a victory. Every few hours that I don't feel like crying are a victory. They don't come easy. Most of the time, I feel lonely, abandoned, not good enough, hopeless, and fighting off those emotions is a constant, harrowing battle. I write todo lists and check off items with rage-fueled strikes. I force myself to go out for walks when the sun is out, to go swimming every few days, to play my viola, to fight the urge to hide under the covers and be social instead. I've even joined #digiwrimo, to help kicking my writing muscles into gear. But it seems that as soon as I let my guard down, the negative feelings creep back.

I accept every opportunity to go out, from concerts to talks and glasses of wine to dinners. In the course of a few days, I've order Lebanese food to go after work and huddled up with a friend in her small kitchen, where we downed it with liters of hot tea while talking about the future and its uncertainties; I've shared one of the best pizzas in town with a concerned American right after Sandy stormed through the East Coast—and a mere days away from the presidential election; I've participated in a Scandinavian quest to find good German red wine; I've been to the pool twice, and of course to one orchestra rehearsal. Still I've had two meltdowns, have snapped at a colleague I never snap at, and have spent quite an inordinate amount of time solely focusing on quieting down the little inner voice which insists that I am worthless.

Yesterday, I saw Berlin Telegram. It tells the story of a woman's fight to reconstruct her life after a heartbreak, and it is beautiful. A few minutes in I had forgotten that I ended up alone at the theater, and how hard it was not to let my heart sink when friend after friend apologized for not coming—a downside of last minute plans. I joined a few people for drinks afterwards. We raised our glasses to winter. "It will be long and cold," said our impromptu toast master. "And dark," I added. We clinked glasses on that. He and I drank and danced late in the night, talking about the grace of Greece's light, the bitterness of love, the protective barriers we erect, his now ablated cancerous tumor. So misery loves company, but it was oddly beautiful, this conversation half drowned in music, through his half-hearted smiles and my bitten back tears.

I am well surrounded, in fact, and even if it's not easy, I have the tools to fight. So hear that, November? You won't get me. And on your last day I'll be off to California, and I won't even care if six of the days I'll spend there will be in a skiing (and casinos...) resort.

Saturday 20 October 2012
in Sweet Sister Mercy

Hello! I'm Right in Front of You

I am sitting at dinner with researchers. To my right, a professor who collaborates with all of us to some extent. To his right, a guy from Northern Germany. Across from us, three Japanese men. Our host is from Eastern Europe. "I quite enjoy working with Japanese people," says the professor. 'In the future, I'm envisioning collaborating only with Japanese and Bavarian scientists."

I am having coffee with colleagues. "I always look at people's A levels before I hire them. I don't trust people with poor A levels to become researchers," says one of them. I slowly sip up my coffee, wondering whether I should remind him that my A levels were piss poor (but better than those of at least one of his students).

I am drinking beer with people from the department. "It's a pity most of the new female PhD students are so ugly," says one of them. "Although pretty girls have it so easy, everything falling in their open arms... until they turn 30," he adds while I choke on my Beck's. "Do you mean I'm ugly or do you mean I don't deserve being where I am?" I ask. He laughs it away. (But of course, this is an isolated incident and us women and feminists are getting our collective panties in a hysterical bunch over absolutely nothing instead of worrying about serious things such as war rape and world hunger.)

This thing you do, with your brain, that supposedly got you to where you are right now, a respected member of the scientific community, with a truckload of prestigious degrees and insightful publications to back you up? Would you really mind applying it to everyday conversation as well? Or is empathy so completely out of your range of skills that there's no hope you'll ever realize you're being offensive?

Sunday 9 September 2012
in Travel Stories

Back

I am back.

I am back in a place where the nights are chilly, the sky not really blue and sunscreen unnecessary.

Here no road smells like fig leaves, no cicadas nor crickets chirp so loudly that conversation is useless, no fields of olive trees adorn the flanks of otherwise bare mountains, no tree bends under the weight of lemons or oranges, no one uses donkeys to carry heavy loads.

No one has lunch at 2pm, no one sells watermelons from the back of an old truck, the fish does not come to the market still alive in large buckets of water, peaches are imported, pastry shops don't smell like honey and almonds and cinnamon and don't remind me of my great-grand-mother saying mange, c'est bon pour le mariage, ma fille.

There are neighborhood parties, where no one comes to with their own musical instrument, where nobody grills meat, where no one drinks coffee, and where the longest food line is always at the tried-and-tested wurst place.

Old men aren't playing cards or backgammon in the streets; old women don't gather on the benches in front of churches or mosques; men don't wear silver bracelets.

Cars are well maintained, the streets are clean and there are rules and schedules to follow, failing which someone will get red in the face and complain loudly.

Cats and dogs don't go far from their home and owners and none of them are strays. Nobody pets an animal that's not theirs before asking for permission first. The permission is not always granted.

Music never departs from the minor and major scales.

There are no impossibly blue waters, no palm trees, no bougainvillea, no pomegranates, no oleander, no pine trees. Little here reminds me of my hometown, of the Riviera backcountry, of the streets of Tel-Aviv or Casablanca, of the mountains of Andalusia, of the bazaars in Istanbul, of the sea shore in Tangier.

I am back from Greece, where I felt, through a concentrated exposure to a startling number of elements of what I consider my culture, more at home than in my hometown itself, and I weep.

Hydra

P.S. I'm actually much better today than I was a few days ago, when I was alternatively crying and positively fuming at being back in Germanland. I have, however, confirmed that one of the best answer I can give to the "Where are you from" question is "the Mediterranean".

Monday 11 June 2012
in Sweet Sister Mercy

In Which I Read a Women's Magazine

I went to get my hair cut and the stylist who welcomed me in had me sit at a table with nothing else to entertain myself than my reflection in the mirror, the radio blasting I Won't Give Up (and who's singing I don't wanna to be someone who walks away so easily I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can maaaaaake at the top of her voice now ?), and the April issue of Maxi.

So I started browsing through Maxi, my first German women's mag ever I think. By the time she was ready to butcher my hair, I had actually read most of that thing. So here's some of what I encountered today:

[+]

Saturday 5 May 2012
in Travel Stories

Exciting times

Many people, knowing me well (or having had a glimpse at my schedule the previous year), wished me "many travels" for 2012.

The year started a bit slow, with eight or so weeks in a row spent here in Germanland, fighting the cold and darkness with music, hot chocolate, and budding friendships. I enjoyed the homeliness of it, enjoyed anchoring myself in this place, making it mine as I had never taken the time to do it before.

Still, as early as mid-January, I was already starting to plan a few trips, and by the time the end of February came, with its few days in Paris and holiday in Rome, I was feeling antsy and more than ready to travel again.

Then somehow things precipitated.

At the end of March I was in London, via Paris once more. Two weeks later I was back in Paris, on a stopover to spending Easter with family in the South of France. Less than a week after I was back, I was out of the door again, heading this time to Munich, where I have spent the last three weeks (minus a weekend back here in the place I do laundry, cook dinner with and for friends, and can cast a vote in the French elections) visiting colleagues.

Munich was good, work-wise and after work. We had a few days of excellent weather that made the parks so much better; I got to see a friend who is living there for a year (and hang out with Brazilian law students at the same time), visit the zoo, see some modern art, walk around a city big enough to do so for hours without getting bored. I can't say I really love it, though, in spite of what the raging comments from my German lab mates, most of whom either grew up or studied there, could have let me expect. In spite of its long tradition of SPD mayors and high rate of inhabitants non affiliated with any religion, the capital of beer is also that of Bavaria, with its deeply ingrained conservatism, catholicism, and Bayrisch-speaking, Lederhose- or Dirndl-wearing patriotism; as a result it feels too clean, and the life that a hundred thousand students (walking in the path, for instance, of the White Rose movement) could give it just isn't... there.

I am back just long enough for a few loads of laundry, careful repacking, and a final say in the presidential run before boarding the plane that will take me back to America. This is a long awaited trip, one that I have imagined almost since the minute I left Los Angeles eighteen months ago, one that I have planned for months, and that I am so excited to take that I sometimes have a hard time falling asleep at night.

I will stay there three weeks, visiting first good old Southern California, then Boston, the Chicago area, D.C., and New York. (The traveling does not look optimal, especially the part where I head back West a thousand miles or so just a few days after flying from the West Coast to New England, but it had strong constraints. I don't think you could find a better solution.) I will see dear friends, good people, and places I have missed so much despite the unshakable confidence I have that they are not what I want for myself, long-term. I will do science, talk science, breathe science in great settings where to do so. I will mix the old and the new, as I discuss new projects, visit my current boss in the institute that is welcoming him for a few months, hang out with people I met in Germany, meet with collaborators I have gained since leaving the U.S. I will go to the beach, have a barbecue or three, go out dancing. I will walk the path down memory lane and make more memories as I so do, and I will love every single minute of it.

Then I'll be back, at the end of May, most likely with an aching smile on my face. And instead of cooling my heels off and incurring the risk of wallowing in the pain of leaving, once more, some amazing people thousands of miles behind me, I'll fly out to Barcelona for a week of friends, sun, and music at Primavera Sound.

I don't think it too daringly ambitious to claim that this is going to rock my socks.

I read

Mostly detective stories. Occassionally, weird fantasy, theater, or Chinese literature in Italian (I have fantastic friends), real well-written books.

I listen to

Mof Montreal, Caravan Palace, the Ditty Bops, Dango Reinhardt, the National, Minor Majority, Léo Ferré, Beethoven, Sonny Rollins, Laura Marling, Erlend Øye, Hjaltalin, Sufjan Stevens, Yuri Bashmet. And others.

I am

late, I'm late, I'm late for a very important date, delighted by Oscar Wilde (One should always be a little improbable), a little improbable, still very much of a bloody leftist, heathen atheist, and a woman scientist.

Deep Thought

'To leave is to die a little. But to die is to leave a lot' (translated from French)
[Alphonse Allais]

(Almost) Legal Mentions

(Dammit this one joke only works in French. You're missing out.)
Not recommended for children under 36 months.
Please handle carefully.
Beware of the kitty.
Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.*
 
* Strike out if inapplicable