My Busy Summer

When I think about the summer of 2013, I do not deny that the feeling that it “flew by” surfaces.  However, if I think about when I was in San Francisco, or when I taught my JBA course, it feels like a lifetime ago.  So perhaps it didn’t fly by.  I’m here in the now and summer is gone.  So yes, it did pass, but it passed at the same speed everything passes us by.

Independence Day Weekend
During a bonfire earlier in the year, I met friends of our friends, Jonathan and Sara.  They had us down to Macon for an evening by the fire drinking craft beer and talking philosophy with their Macon crew.  If not for that meeting, I would have felt a lot more awkward going down a day early for the float trip at the Gasconade Hills Resort.  Jonathan and Sara were at a wedding and I camped with their friends that Friday evening following Independence Day. 
The subject of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem came up.  This states that no system can be both complete and consistent.  Talking about it sparked a new love of mathematics in at least one other camper.  Even within a mathematical system, there are truths that cannot be proven.  Sitting in the middle of the canoe without a paddle between Jonathan and Sara the next day, I assumed those paddling would take me where I needed to go.  I could not assume a left or right turn, or that the ride would continue straight.  I could only sit back and choose to enjoy the ride or not.  I did.

CCAS Conference in Indianapolis
On July 1, I officially began my new role as Chair of the Statistics Department at Truman State University.  Earlier in the summer, when I was meeting with the Dean of the School of Science and Mathematics, under which my department is housed, it was encouraged (more close to enforced) that I attend a chair training conference in Indianapolis.

Erin decided to take work off and join me on the trip to Indy.  Steve took us out the first night we were in town to Scotty’s Brewhouse, The Rathskeller, and the Bru Burger Bar for an evening of great brew and delicious food.  The next night, I met up with my high school friend Jake, who took us to the Broad Ripple Brewpub, the Brugge Brasserie, and Twenty Tap for another fantastic night of amazing beer and exquisite bites.

Steve and Jason at Rathskeller
Jake and Jason at the Brugge Brasserie

On the Saturday of the conference, I finished my session and then Erin and I went to Steve and Katie’s place in Avon to visit and see the twins for the first time.  I tried to teach Michael all about beer.  Steve promised that he would fill in any gaps that I may have missed.  They cooked some burgers on the grill for us, had some cold Two Hearted Ales waiting, and sent us down to Bloomington in style.

Erin eating Big Red Wings at Yogi’s

We had a condensed visit to B-town, so we accelerated our stay by taking in Upland Brewing Company, Mother Bear’s Pizza, and a late night appetizer of Big Red wings at Yogi’s Bar and Grill.  We dined at the Uptown Cafe for breakfast Sunday morning before heading back to Kirksville.

Ragbrai 2013

This summer I spent the last full week of July biking across Iowa for the fifth time.  This time, it was the shortest and easiest ride that I have been on.  My father and his best friend Lonnie came back for redemption.  They had stopped after day 4 last year because of a rain soaked tent and 4 days of extreme heat.  They finished strong and happy this year.  Friends Jonathan and Sarah also went this year.  Jonathan rode with his sister Becca while Sarah was game for experiencing Ragbrai from the driver’s seat.

Mathfest in Hartford

A few days after returning from Ragbrai, I packed my bags again for a flight to Hartford, CT.  Earlier in the year at a conference in San Diego (see A Whale’s Vagina), my colleague Scott had heard that a panel was being put together entitled “A Mathematician Teaches Statistics: Story from the Front Lines,” and thought I would be great to serve on that panel.  I was invited, and decided to make the trip.

This was the first time I had visited Hartford, so I made sure to stay another day beyond just serving on my panel.  I visited several fun restaurants and breweries, and took in several sites.  In fact, I got too adventurous one day and took a bus ride to Willimantic to visit a brewery there.  What I neglected to do was check what times the bus would be coming back to Hartford.  I was on the last bus to Willimantic and the next bus back wasn’t leaving until the next morning.  In a panic, I found an Enterprise very close to the brewery I visited and rented a truck to ride back to Hartford.  What an expensive mistake that I won’t make again.  (If Erin had been with me, it would not have happened, so I blame her).

Great Taste of the Midwest

A week after I returned from Hartford, Erin and I packed for our third annual trip to Wisconsin.  Our friend Rob now lives in Dodgeville which splits the difference between his work in Madison and his wife’s work in Platteville.  We left Thursday, August 8th and drove from Kirksville to Rob’s place in Dodgeville.  My friend Brian left from Buffalo, NY for Rob’s place as well.  Erin and I pulled in to Rob’s place, Brian arrived from Buffalo, and Rob arrived home from work all within a time span of 2 minutes.  Nobody could have planned that better if they tried.

Thursday evening, we enjoyed some home brew that Brian brought from Buffalo and had some dinner at Bob’s Bitchin BBQ.  We enjoyed a Vertical Epic from Stone, a Wild Sour Ale from New Glarus, and a Dantalion Dark Wild Ale from Upland before watching an episode of Archer and going to bed.

Friday, we had breakfast at Cooks Room Cafe, then to Grumpy Troll in Mt Horeb, a stop at New Glarus Brewery in New Glarus.  After that morning and afternoon adventure, we drove on into Madison and checked into our hotel before getting a taxi down to the Capital since most of the pre-partying was happening down there.  There were many different beers drank before another taxi took us to another place in Madison where we ate at Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace, had another beer at the Alchemy, and yet another beer at One Barrel Brewing Company.  I think a game of chess broke out at One Barrel.  I lost.

When Saturday came around, Erin and I got up and around and ready for our shift of wrist banding! We worked from 11-2pm but only missed one hour of the festival since the gate didn’t open until 1pm.  The festival was amazing like always.  And, just like always, post festival activities seem to be a blur to me.  We ordered pizza in the room and went to bed early.  The next week I reported to Truman for duty.

Jason, Rob, Erin, Brian

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