TonMo Road Trip

OB

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Last year, I pretty much "spur of the moment" decided to celebrate New Year's Eve in San Francisco with my good friend Peter Binfield, who by chance also happens to be Managing Editor of the open access science journal PLoS ONE. Why is this worth mentioning? Well, because it published the online wonderpus catalogue last year; it's a small world, after all.... Pete, who is about to join our ranks, methinks, and is probably to be expected in Monterey this June (be Afraid, be very Afraid) joined me as I made my way to the Steinhart aquarium where I FINALLY had the opportunity to meet up with Thales (Richard Ross). I've always been a keen admirer of Richard's husbandry efforts (no pun intended) and was pleased to see him in action behind the scenes at the aquarium. You think you have filtration? Skimmer? Ha! Think again.... In any case, when it comes to running a tank the size of what they have at a big public aquarium, you simply add water, but by the description on the bucket, I'd say LOTS and LOTS of it :wink:

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Luckily for us, the resident GPO came out to play, which was as could be expected a lot of fun. She turned out somewhat camera shy, but I thought I'd post, regardless...

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At the end of our little tour, Richard and myself posed in front of the Steinhart's rare Alligator cephalopodomimicus, which contrary to "normal" gators shows a brilliant white startle reflex :smile:

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All in all it was a great experience.

I then took to the road for some much needed Californian wind through my hair along the curves of highway 1. This, to eventually end up in the beautiful little LA suburb that is Altadena, where I was met by Monty (Mark Montague) and his lovely wife Andrea for drinks, beef fondue and boardgames. For those in the know, Mark and Andrea own a collection of vintage Mustangs (two), allow an ancient firebird access to their drive and have a sensible hybrid to compensate for all of this gas guzzling potential.

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Please, find Mark with his one true love amongst the collection...

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We had a great time discussing all things neurophysiological in squid, with Mesonychoteuthis clearly on the agenda, but clearing the world of four possible pandemics, I would say, was our greatest effort of the night! Andrea's choice of wine turned out excellent, leading to an uneventful sleep and a fresh start the next day to head out towards Phoenix. Not, however, before thanking Mark and Andrea once more for their kind hospitality, obviously.

In Phoenix, I was able to hook up with Cthulhu77 (Greg Ewald), his wife Shanlyn and good friend Tom (aka OctopussyAZ in these parts). One terrific Slow Ribs session and way too much alcohol later, this barely focussed attempt lays bare our valiant efforts to appear sensible...

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Suffice to say we failed horrible, but not without having the most relaxed fun in ages as a consequence :smile:

Although the latter explicitely does NOT refer to the following picture, I needed to post it, regardless.... Give the gift of wood...

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Reluctant to leave Phoenix, if only for through circumstances having missed out on spending some additional time with Sorseress and Erich Orser, I set forth towards NYC. Here I managed to meet up with the lovely Melissa, who specifically vowed to return to our ranks after a relatively quiet period as off late, if only to be able to join us in Monterey. Unfortunately Angus wasn't able to join the fray, but our cliché lunch in Little Italy (can you say carbonara?) was just the deal for a happy reunion. I am not sure who the person in the background is, but the front two are Melissa and yours truly.

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So, my little improvised holiday turned into an extended nanocon of sorts, but given the quality of the company, that can only be described as absolutely wonderful. I always realise what an interesting and friendly lot us TonMo'ers turn out to be when we get the opportunity to meet up and discuss 42 in person. So looking forward to the con :smile: For now, I'll sign off, however, lest this post turn out to be longer than the allocated maximum length and all...
 

cthulhu77

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Ah, the whirlwind tour of OB through the US ! It was a really fun time for us, and now I know what to send you for Christmas ! :smile:
 

erich orser

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Man, really wish I could have come up to Gilbert to visit all y'all. Would have been swell! Oh, well, June slowly (for now) approaches...
 

OB

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The stars simply weren't right, no worries, I can see the constellations converging, slowly, indeed, but surely....
 
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Sigh....I loved having our friend Ron here from DC, although even after years of trying we haven't been able to infect him with the ceph virus, but I really hated not getting to join you up in Phoenix. Monterey beckons.
 

OB

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I am not sure what it is with nanocons and Orval, but the evidence of a certain causality appears to be piling up.... Rotterdam will never be the same again :smile:

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