June 9, 2005

Wow, looks like I went a whole 'nother month without writing. Even the music log is being neglected these days--I still haven't written about the not one but two bands that I saw last week. But maybe all that will turn around now, because as of this week I have a student assistant at work for the whole summer!

And really, I can't stress to you enough how great that is! If you get the opportunity to have a college student do your work for you for free, I highly recommend it. OK, so he can't do everything yet. This was his first week. But he can do the really tedious, boring, stupid stuff that I hate and am always putting off, leaving me to do things like read and work on my talk for next week and take extra long lunches.

Being an undergraduate student, though, this guy is young. On his first day, I was introducing him around to the other people in the lab, and one guy is having his last day tomorrow and I was asking about plans for a lab outing in honor of his departure. "Of course you'll have to come, J." I said to my assistant. "But wait, are you 21?"

He cocked one eyebrow and said "I can be." Turns out he has a fake ID! A fake ID, so quaint!

When he came in on Monday, I asked him how his weekend had been. He's living with his parents this summer in the suburb where he grew up, and he said he'd been to a festival in that town and seen lots of his high school classmates. "When did you graduate from high school?" I asked. "2002," he replied. I laughed and told him the year that I graduated from high school. He misheard me: "1999?" he said. "No, 1989!" "Oh," he said. "Wow."

That evening, I told Iggy this story and he asked me, "how old was he in 1989?" I thought about it for a minute. "Well, I guess he would have been, um, four or five." And then I felt really old.

On an unrelated note, Iggy and I went on vacation over Memorial Day weekend to Colorado and Utah to visit his brother, his sister-in-law, and his young nephew and niece, ages two years and six months, respectively. We flew in to Denver, drove up to their house in the mountains, stayed overnight, and then headed to Moab, Utah, site of Arches National Park. Although this was my second trip to that part of Colorado this year, I'd never been to Utah before, and have never really spent any time in the Southwest, unless you count Las Vegas, which I don't think anyone does.

Anyway, Moab was amazing, the kids were amazing, and we had a great time. I love visiting places that look totally different from what I'm used to, and Southwest Utah definitely fit the bill. The motel where we stayed (which despite its lack of stylish decor was very clean and comfortable and a good value) was right next door to this amazing store that sold rocks and minerals and fossils, almost all of them local. The proprietor, who looked to me to be about 150 years old, rang us up himself. I kind of wish we'd bought more stuff there, but on the plus side, I did bring home an impossibly huge amount of desert sand in my shoes for free.

Coming home was definitely a letdown. We don't have any other travel planned for the rest of the year at the moment, although we're trying to plan some sort of grand East Coast Tour for the end of the summer. However, coordinating our schedules with each other and with the mostly non-overlapping hordes of friends and relatives we need to see while we're there, scheduling it all seems completely overwhelming. Maybe I'll put my summer student on the job.

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