Let me sum up: Me surprising my family with the news that I finished my PhD. In the geekiest way I could manage.
Let me splain: If you wanted proof of the genetic/behavioral modeling contributions to overactive lacrimal glands, here you go! My mom is adorable. She is crying in that last clip before we even hit Potterland because the Seuss section of the park had a store named after a character I played in "Seussical the Musical" a couple years ago. Such a fun weekend! The park is pretty awesome on its own, but if you ever get the chance to go with my fantastic family, I highly recommend it! Also, BIG thanks to my dad for what is clearly the best Geek Tears photo ever.
I also want to give an usual corporate shout out to Graduate Affairs. I knew I wasn't going to be walking at the graduation ceremony this December (because I'll be in CA with my family, and because what could top this Harry Potter celebration?) I contacted the makers of the official University of Iowa robes to see if there was any way to rent the UI gear a couple months early. After three weeks I got a response which essentially read "Did we ever respond to this? Yeah, we can't do that." I did a lot of searching and couldn't find anyone that offered affordable, customizable robes. I also got ripped-off on ebay (yay buyer protection) trying to by a velvet tam from a company that apparently went kaput. I'd pretty much reconciled myself to renting a set of all black robes. Then I found Graduate Affairs, which offers customized, souvenir-quality robes for the same price as the rentals I was planning to get. When I ordered, they got back to me immediately. Even classier, they noticed a silly mistake I'd made on the order form, which they promptly helped me fix. I received my customized, super-awesome robes IN THREE DAYS!!! I identify with Slytherin, Gryffindor, and Ravenclaw all in their own special way, but getting grief from park employees all day for being a Hawkeye/Hufflepuff was AMAZING. And probably the most school spirit I've shown in my life. It also got us a free trip through the fast line at "The Forbidden Journey." I will treasure these robes as a memory of one of the niftiest days of my life. Thanks, Graduate Affairs.
Dr. Geisel, at your service.