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Roman in need of a holiday

 It's been a bit of time since I last posted; mostly lots of little things going on.

Work number one: I'm participating in three different proposals to NASA. None of them bring money to me directly, but all of them will pay the salaries of my collaborators and purchase equipment that they can use to make measures that I am interested in. We are hoping to get a gizmo to add to another gizmo already in hand at Boston College that will let us measure the heat capacity of meteorites; and we're hoping to get funding to continue our measurement of meteorite densities and porosities, concentrating on samples from the Moon and Mars. Since basically we're the only people funded by NASA doing this work, and it's pretty basic stuff that lots of people can use... and since we actually accomplished everything we said we would, in the previous proposal... I am cautiously optimistic. But in the current funding cycle, you can never tell.

Work number two: My collaborators are also busy finishing the work and preparing the posters for the next meeting we'll be attending, the annual meeting of the Meteoritical Society, which is being held in Greenwich, England in early August. The nearest Jesuit house for me to stay at is not very close, but it is at least on the Jubilee Line so getting there won't involve too many changes.

Work number three: I have another round of our book proposal ("Would You Baptize ET? and other commonly asked questions...") into our agent, who is a Very Busy Person (I would be suspicious of an agent who wasn't) but who will, we hope, decide it is now fit to send out to publishers. As I have learned, a writer only has to sell one copy of a book... to one publisher. The rest is their business.

Work number four: Foolishly I agreed to write a 6000 word article about cosmology and stuff, which wouldn't be due for months and months... but that was months and months ago when I agreed. Likewise, from July 25-29 I will be giving five talks at a thing run out of a Jesuit retreat house in Liverpool called Living Theology, which I had agreed to do nearly two years ago... those talks are now in three weeks, and I really ought to prepare something. If I had been clever I would have made the topic of one of the talks, the same as the topic of the 6000 word article. Maybe I can fake it.

Meanwhile, here in Rome, I have a younger Jesuit working with me this summer learning how to do some of the PR functions I normally do. Only when I started explaining it to him, did I appreciate just how complicated this job is; I have been doing it for so long that it seems obvious to me. (I recall going sailing once with a friend, who commented afterwards how impressed he was that I knew what all the ropes were for. All those ropes have such obvious functions that it never occurred to me that it might look confusing to someone else.)

I also have a student from Cambridge University here, helping me out in lots of curatorial work (photos and data entry... but it gets him the chance to handle meteorites, which is always fun). He's turned out to be a great help, far more than I expected. The only problem is, he expects to work regular hours, which means that I have to be here during regular hours, and work, too!

One bit of fun... I got invited to the US Embassy to the Holy See for their 4th of July party, a picnic with hot dogs and hamburgers. Everyone else there but me was in a suit and tie. (For a hot dog picnic? really?) I had a good time, anyway... but clearly I am not the embassy type.

Just now, overheard, I hear a helicopter coming in to the landing pad in the gardens. The Landlord has arrived to start his summer vacation.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
johnridley
Jul. 7th, 2011 05:04 pm (UTC)
Suit and tie with hot dogs is just wrong.

Having seen the documentary you were in a few weeks back, I'd guess your landlord probably works 10x harder when on vacation than almost anyone else would when on the clock.
brotherguy
Jul. 7th, 2011 05:21 pm (UTC)
Well, considering who his boss is... wouldn't you?
mabfan
Jul. 7th, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
"The Landlord has arrived to start his summer vacation."

Does that mean you don't get to use the gardens anymore?
brotherguy
Jul. 7th, 2011 05:23 pm (UTC)
It is not entirely off limits, but certainly much more restricted. No visitors, for instance. And certain hours of the day when we know he likes to use it, and have his privacy.
kevinnickerson
Jul. 7th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
I thought you moved your office and sleeping quarters away from his gardens.
brotherguy
Jul. 8th, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
Actually, we moved out of the palace, proper, and *into* the gardens. (Much quieter here...)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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