When uttered on a Tuesday, what does "this weekend" mean? It's intriguingly ambiguous! With the help of verb tense, it's obvious in the case of the entry title that I'm referring to the weekend just past, June 20-21. But if I said, "I'm going to a reptile show this weekend," I would just as obviously be referring to the future weekend, June 27-28.
So we can all agree that verb tense clears up the ambiguity. Then we introduce the phrase "next weekend" and throw everyone for a loop. If "this weekend" refers to June 27-28 then "next weekend" must logically refer to July 4-5. Right? However, "next weekend" can also be used to mean "this weekend," and different people will use it that way on different days of the week.
Don't believe me? Bring it up with friends and family and brace yourself a really rousing quarrel! But wait, before you do, let me actually tell you where I wish I was this past weekend (note the clever addition of a modifier for extra clarity and verbosity!):
TONMOCON III. That is a conference about cephalopods. Need I say more? Okay, a little more: Tonmo.com is "committed to being the best resource available for all things cephalopod" and that is really all you need to know about it.
TONMOCON III was in my very own hometown, and my very own friends and co-workers were among those giving talks. But I, the cephalopodiatrist, was not in attendance. Shame! Sorrow! Regret! Instead, I was in San Diego, sorting plankton. And that is what I will continue to be doing for most of the summer. I am a plankton-sorting beast. Of which--more to come soon, in another blog post.
Anyway, I missed Tonmocon, and I have never been to a Tonmocon, and this year it was so close and yet so far, and next year it will probably be in some awful place like Chicago. (Just kidding! I love you Chicago! And your deadly temperature extremes!) So this is a lame post about how I am sad I wasn't there.
But, I also wanted to say that my labmate and sometime arch-nemesis did make an appearance; in fact he performed a Humboldt squid dissection. I can only imagine that this was the highlight of the whole weekend. Especially for the two kids who were there; one went home with the beak and the other with the pen and a cup full of ink. (The "pen" of a squid is a stiff internal rod that gives its body shape, unlike the amorphous blob that is an octopus. It is believed to be a vestigial shell. The ink, of course, is used by the squid for defense and by schoolchildren for awkwardly writing their names on "I Dissected A Squid" certificates.)
The dissection was supposed to be webcast live, which didn't work, but when they post it online, I'll try to remember to link it here.
Maybe next weekend.