Sunday, September 15, 2013

What Happens in Barcelona Stays in Barcelona

Well, I finally made it to Barcelona. I have been meaning to go for several years, and I even was planning to go to a conference here a few years ago (but I was only given a poster presentation and --- under the circumstances of the initial e-mail response to my abstract when I submitted it --- it felt like a bait-and-switch, so I declined it). Now I am here for the 2013 European Conference on Complex Systems and for its associated satellite meetings. I have never gone to this conference series before, though some of my collaborators have previously presented our joint work at ECCS conferences. I already ran into Alex Vespignani at the hotel check-in desk, so I know I'm in the right place!

I was tempted to introduce this post with a Crystallian (as in Billy) fake European accent as a nod to a certain oral report I did in 7th grade on the city of Barcelona. The school year was 1988-89, and we chose Barcelona as our city on which to report because of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games for a presentation in Andrea Ambler's class. I think it was my idea --- not too creative, I admit. In our oral presentation (and in other presentations on other European cities), every single person used the same fake European accent --- no matter which European city was covered in their report. It was kind of ridiculous. (Is it too late to apologize for this past transgression? Now that I have several European friends, I feel like I owe them a retrospective apology for that oral report.) And for those of you who don't know what that "European" accent sounds like, let's just say that it's simply marvelous. In summary: My group's 7th-grade report on a European city was on Barcelona, our collective notion of a European accent (for all countries) was Billy Crystal, and this series of oral reports must have been extremely painful to watch (and, especially, to listen to) for anybody in the room who had any knowledge at all about Europe. Those were the days.

Update (7/01/14): I think I forgot to post my pictures from Barcelona.

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