LVC Day 5

The last day of the LVC. The last morning muffin of the LVC. Last night was a mistake. None the less, I got up, showered and dressed, and headed downstairs for the conference.

By this point, I had had it with muffins. I knew that I had to eat, but is bacon too much to ask for? I put on my best face, and went about mingling in the morning. These kinds fo conference are draining to all involved, not just those (like myself) who have too much fun. By the end of the week, attendance to the talks drops, and people are breaking off to work on their own, or go out and do other things.

One of these other things that was happening today was an impromptu look around the Caltech 40m prototype. Jess had gathered a little band together to go, but as it transpired, the party left without us.  So I went back in to the talks to watch the burst stuff.

Today, the last day of the conference, was the last of the data analysis sessions in the morning, and some diversity and equality, commissioning and Joint Run Planning Council (JRPC) talks in the afternoon.  Having already seen the CW talks rehearsed, I figured it wasn’t vitally important that I sit through them. In the break room, everybody was either deep into their work, or deep in what looked like an important conversation. There were a tonne of people missing compared to Monday’s breaks, either in the talks or away doing their own thing. I headed back to the hotel room for some quiet time. On the way, I ran into Vinny. We ended up in my room watching telly.

By mid day, we decided to trry again at the conference, heading down to look in at the talks. But before long, my hangover took over. I needed meat and grease. Jenne had been talking about this burger place, In n Out Burger, all week, and I needed some of that action. Unfortunately, In n Out was quite a way away. Solution: head out into Pasadena and look for a burger place. Vinny, Cao and I all went out together for an early lunch.

We ended up at a place called Umami Burger. It was very hipster. White walls, big prints of popular art. Every burger wasn’t a burger, but a gourmet experience. It was a little too much. When Vinny’s egg burger came out, the server told us “It’s a part of the presentation with this dish that I pierce it”. She took Vinny’s knife and jammed it hard into the burger to break the yolk. The food was nice, but the whole thing was unnecessary.

After a stop at the frozen yogurt place, we headed back towards the hotel. There was still a lot of the lunch break left over, so Vinny and I headed back up to my room to keep watching Sunny.

I felt guilty about missing the morning, and some of the commissioning talks and JRPC talks looked interesting, so I rejoined the plenaries for the final session. The commissioning talks made a lot more sense after having seen last years’, and having spent some time around commissioners at the site. The JRPC talk, which outlined the plans surrounding future engineering runs and observing runs also was interesting. It looks like I’ll be at Hanford during ER9 – a week long single detector practice run. Gaby spoke at the close out of the LVC, wrap up slides, summarising what had been. She had photos from Nutsinee, including one of my sick dancing (Tuesday’s featured image). And a forward look to this autumn’s LVC in Glasgow. And with that, this LVC was done.

Outside, in the break area, everybody was milling around, saying goodbyes and making plans for the remainder of their stay in Pasadena. Myself included. Some of us made plans to visit China Town for dinner, then head up to Griffith Observatory that evening. But the sessions ended early, so after half an hour of goodbyes and “Next time in Glasgow”s, I went back upstairs for an hour of downtime with the TV. Vinny joined me again. After about 30 minutes, Vinny had a phone call, so left. Daniel came in at that point. I was to head out with him in half an hour, so feeling refreshed after downtime, I joined Daniel down in the lobby and prepared to go out.

Daniel, Ansel and I  jumped on the metro into China Town, where we were to meet Terra and Nutsinee, who had managed to get lost in East Hollywood in their car. We poked around China Town for half an hour waiting for them. We met at the proposed dim sum restaurant, wherein the entertainment for the evening was a stage magiciam followed by a family celebration. As it tradition with chinese cuisine, we ordered enough food to feed an army, and got through not even half of it.

After the magician, a family took the stage to sing some really, very out of key karaoke. I mean as flat as a pancake. By this point, we were done eating and just hanging around waiting for the bill. Nutsinee particularly was very eager to get away from the din. When we did eventually leave, all 5 of us packed into Terra’s rental car and headed up to Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park. I had been tipped off that this was the place to see the Hollywood sign, and whilst that was true, it only works by day. By this point, we were pushing 9pm.

The observatory sits high over the city and is open now as a museum. During the day, you can tour the telescope, but the museum portion is open until 10pm. It was busy that night, I couldn’t tell you why, but we had to park ten minutes down the road and walk the last section. Daniel set up hit tripod for long exposure shots. Nutsinee, misunderstanding our earlier conversation about the Royal Society, shot off in search of Newton’s original mnuscript of Principia Mathematica. A fruitless effort, given that it lives in London. I headed to the observatory roof to get some nice views over the city. The whole thing seems like it would be excellent to do during the day, but wasn’t a waste of time at night either. Digital cameras, though, don’t tend to do so well at night.

Soon though, the park was closing, and we made a rush back to the car. We all, understandably, were tired, so it was back to the hotel for the evening. Daniel and I headed straight upstairs to cool down for ten minutes, before Daniel decided to look at city hall by night with his camera. I wasn’t ready to call it a night yet, so I went back down to the lobby to see who was about.

As Daniel left the hotel, Vinny entered. I had only heard from him briefly since his phone call, and it wasn’t good news. I took the chance to talk it through him. There had been trouble brewing for a while, apparently. We talked  until he went to bed 45 minutes later..

I went back to the lobby, where it seemed the Detcharians were having a cool gathering. Andy, Jess, TJ, Thomas, Marissa, Jennie and more. I joined in with them, talking of this and that, until it really was time to call it a night. It was just about the only time this week when I wasn’t the last in. Jennie, Daniel and I chatted for a little before silence and sleep fell.

And with that, the LVC was done. I had one last day in Pasadena, leaving Saturday afternoon. Stay tuned for that post, coming soon. Eventually. I promise.


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