Missing Umlaut

by Carson Reynolds

Last weekend I spent twenty-six hours in a car, for the third year running. About the only thing that could motivate me to continually attempt that particular feat of endurance is the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (aka DEMF, aka Movement). This year didn’t disappoint with nice sets from Pole, Ectomorph, Vladislav Delay, Speedy J, and Akufen.

Detroit seems to be turning around a bit. The new building being constructed downtown last year was finished and looking reasonably occupied. Who knows, maybe Detroit is on the road to a comeback?

During the copious amounts of free time, I finished up James Watson’s The Double Helix which was really interesting but very sexist at points. The touching epilogue does make up a bit for a few of the randy boyish remarks about “popsies” but I found it sort of hard to ignore the most churlish sections. Sexism aside, the book made me feel a lot better about the setbacks and the disobedience that’s sometimes necessary to try to do good work. To learn that another researcher had decided to move to an environment he just found more stimulating against the wishes of many, made me feel better about choosing to stay in Dublin. To learn that Watson and Crick had been discouraged from working on DNA, but were resilient enough to fight to a solution, made me feel better about sticking stubbornly on topics about which I feel the most passionate. To learn that Watson was motivated by ambitious problems makes me feel more comfortable with my own motivations.

It was a good adventure all in all, but unfortunately it left me rather tired this week and with a cold. As a result I think I’ll have to postpone my plans to conduct a workshop in Cambridge and try to nurse my health and focus on the administrative details I have to knock out while I’m on this side of the Atlantic.

I’m really eager to return to Dublin though. Outside of the good (distraction-free) research environment, and the good rock climbing, I really miss the good people I know there now. Mostly, missing Joëlle makes the few remaining days seem much longer than they should.

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