Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Survey of the Seminar Reveals:

So I work in biology. In the subfield of bricklaying, which is under the general heading of architecture and construction, as it were. Let's say I specialize in historical analysis of decorative brick patterns. My lab is mainly made of plumbers and electricians, and my advisor specializes in pre-CAD architectural drawing. We also have an automobile mechanic, just for variety.

Therefore, we have to go to all seminars on plumbing, advances in electrical work, new computer-controlled car diagnostics, and so on. Some of them are thrilling. But. The last seminar speaker started with 25 minutes on bricklaying styles, with a complete history of the trowel. Please, my friends, when you are giving talks, spare us the trowel. Summarize.

Nonetheless, it's amusing to go to seminars for a variety of other reasons. For example, birdwatching. At the TrowelMania seminar, I observed:
  • 6 fine exemplars of the bearded turkey
  • 2 baldpate American widgeons
  • An entire row of young prarie hens trying to rewire the microphone
  • The fighting behaviors of the mocking-wren, the monkey-faced owl, and the pied wagtail
  • A bobsucker (also known as the woodcock) demonstrating its mating call while putting in a new alternator
  • A complete insufficiency of millet for the finches, and a distressing shortage of suet.
In other news: of all the cardinals recently invited to demonstrate their territorial behavior, ten were of the male (red) variety and only one female was seen. A newly-hatched kiwi proved, on inspection, to be mated to one of the older cardinals. (All together now: eeewwwww.)