River, idle chimneys, and the cradle of the Polish state
Saturday 02 July
I manage to use the ticket machines to get from Warsaw Airport to the Central Station and then to Poznan. Since I am sitting by the door of the compartment, people ask me questions. I shrug.
I plod through Poznan more-or-less in the right direction and manage to find the Ibis. I have to pay upfront, otherwise it is OK.
Ruth texts me to suggest a meeting. I go out to have some soup and dumplings. Then I find her fashionable expensive hotel in the rain. I toy with a beefburger. She pays. She appears daunted by the way people have not done what they said they were going to do.
Sunday 03 July
I go to the station and buy a ticket to Warsaw. It costs about 180 zl, as opposed to 80 zl to get here. I can see what they mean. I wander through the Old Town and think that the main square looks fake, as Ruth suggested.
I go over the bridge to the University of Technology. I need to go to the opening ceremony to justify the welcome barbecue, I think. The choral singing is good. I secure some food at the barbecue and wave at Ruth passing by.
Monday 04 July
Opera House in Poznan
In the first session, some guy mumbles on about the Rio Olympics. I ask him about counterfactuals. Then one Robyn Moore presents a toolkit for getting value from volunteers in NZ. This is jolly interesting. Then some guy mumbles on about ethics. I say that I have a Code, I do not need them.
The next session I go to is about MCDA. People are turned away at the door. We look at a picture of a cow that failed to jump over a fence. I send an email to Robyn Moore.
Then it’s something about education in a very large lecture theatre with very few people. A guy goes through a routine presentation about…something…in an incomprehensible Italian accent. Then an old Russian woman reads verbatim some elementary points about education. There are reinforced by some incomprehensible parallels from the theory of dynamical systems. Then the session chair (a young woman from Ukraine) has a few touristic slides about Ukraine and two background slides about her summer school before giving up. Then a survey of the performance of graduates of a university in the Philippines that would have failed as a GCSE Business Studies project. The most important thing was personal appearance…
Then I get to grips with my polycarbonate lunch. It is slightly better than I expected, and I can eat almost half of it.
After that, a very interesting session on Defence & Security, with an outstanding paper on what one can say about the (semi-) rationality of terrorist organisations. David Lane comes and sits next to me and then goes away again. There are also good papers on terror queues (aka resource allocation of secret agents), evacuation and police positioning.
Then a mildly interesting walking tour. Many buildings had been built by the Germans. So they looked German. I had noticed that. Also the people are very orderly and disciplined as well.
Tuesday 05 July
Animated crowds converge on conference dinner
I go to a techy session and the thing on text analysis for plagiarism is quite interesting. Then a thing on charitable orders comes down to putting some prices = 0. This makes it more difficult that the general problem. WTF.
A thing on implementation in plenary recommends greedy algorithms, since you are too confident in your view of the future. Like the cow jumping the gate.
I spend some time sitting in a room with Ana Isabel Barros in case someone wants to be mentored. They don’t, so she talks with her mates in Dutch.
There is no coffee.
A session on decision support. A Serb is cross-examined about skiing injuries. The session chair shows a picture of her car crash, which explains why there is not a lot in her paper. A guy gives an incomprehensible presentation on sepsis, followed by a DNA.
I manage to find my way to the conference dinner and even sit next to Sally Brailsford, who seems happy to see a familiar face. Then Brian Dangerfield joins us and we do not get drunk this time. The duck is nice. We find our way to the Ibis on the tram.
Wednesday 06 July
Polish retro-kitsch, with a touch of Cezanne
I wake at 0400 from a dream where I am taken captive by Islamic terrorists. I do some packing.
In our session, David Lane talks about norovirus and we have an interesting discussion about eliciting transmission parameters–I even defend him. I do my talk and have a little difficulty with the controls. Then a Turk seems to have provided volunteer support by a direct method, which is interesting.
Complex societal problems starts with a paper on food rescue, but it’s really routeing.
Then I attend respectfully as Ruth presents our workshop. We start with three people and end with ten or so, she does an excellent job.
I sit through various speeches, then I plod to the station. The other two guys in the compartment keep silent. In Warsaw, I manage to find the Chopin Boutique B&B through rain, wind and darkness. The Polish retro-kitsch room appeals to me.
Thursday 07 July
Warsaw Old Town, for those who like that kind of thing
I walk up Nowy Swiat and skirt the fuzz guarding the NATO summit. The Old Town does not appeal to me. On my way back I check out ulica Bronislawa Moniuszki, thinking that the -i looks like a feminine ending. A camera crew wants my opinion on something in Polish, and I have to disappoint them.
I have lunch at Dawne Smaki, which turns out to be very sensible in spite of being recommended in my guidebook.
In the evening I turn on the TV. I watch Germany lose 2-0 to France and feel no pleasure.
Friday 08 July
The other tourist attraction in Warsaw
I wake up and go to breakfast. A bloke identifies himself as our host. Neither of us is happy about Brexit. He says that Czech is very like Polish, but the countries are different.
I go outside. It is peaceful. I come back and try checking in online. Bastard Airways want to charge me for hold baggage,
I go outside with the idea of visiting museums. But I decide it is too much like effort and come back instead and put some stuff on Twitter.
Saturday 09 July
Numerous attempts to use the self check-in machine fail. I stand in a long line of people wanting to fly to our right little, tight little, shite little island. It does not move. After a long time, a young woman takes me to the machine again so that I can fail under supervision.
Now that I have failed under supervision I can join the other line. The clerk says I can put my bag in the hold without charged since the flight is full. Thank you, Shittish Airways.
But the flight is fine.
When I get home I see that the back garden is overgrown.