Monday 17 September 2012

NOTE: Let's Go to San Francisco #sasgf13

Every time I think of next year's SAS Global Forum I get the sound of The Flower Pot Men floating around my head - Let's Go To San Francisco. I may only have turned five years old during the 1967 "summer of love", but some of those wonderfully happy and carefree songs (from the likes of The Beach Boys, Beatles, Monkees, Small Faces, Mamas and Papas, Kinks, and Scott Mackenzie) have infiltrated my memories ever since and remain with me. I must make sure I pack some appropriate tracks on my music player before travelling next April.

I'm always full of grand plans for SAS Global Forum papers at this time of year. Sometimes I find the time and put the work in, other times I have to trim my ambitions. Right now I'm keen to rise to conference chair Rick Mitchell's challenge of accommodating 100 posters, so I'm thinking of submitting one full paper, one coders' corner paper, and a poster. Too much? Maybe, but I'm wondering if I can link them and set them around one theme. And then I need to weave some flower power references into them.

Overly ambitious? Maybe, but the deadline for contributed submission abstracts and working drafts of papers and posters is November 19, so I have a few weeks and months to be creative.

I always find the first word of the first paragraph to be the most difficult. And I also find, no matter how familiar the topic may already be to me, that I learn more about the topic whilst I'm writing. That's not to say that writing a paper is necessarily hard, it's just the simple fact that writing makes one think more comprehensively about the topic, and one becomes aware of small gaps in one's knowledge.

So, writing a paper helps me to solidify my own knowledge, and presenting my paper is of benefit to SAS Global Forum attendees (I hope!). It's mutually beneficial. Combined with the benefits of visiting San Francisco (cue the song in my head again!), I'm determined to attend next year's SAS Global Forum and get my papers and poster into the programme.

My comparative lack of hair means I won't have to worry about whether to follow the advice of the late Scott McKenzie and wear flowers in my hair. Phew, that's a relief!