Sunday, October 07, 2007

Random bullets of conference and travel

  • Why is it more tiring to sit in a room all day and listen to presentations that to give a presentation, participate in a roundtable, etc.?
  • Why can't Starbucks have a "I'd just like a plain bagel" line so that people can get something like that without standing in the fancy coffee line? Why can't they especially do this at the airport?
  • Why do the flight attendants announce "We have a very full flight today, so try to step out of the aisle when putting your things in the overhead bin"? Have you been on any flight in the past 5-6 years that hasn't been "very full"? A few years ago, you could occasionally snag a whole row of seat and take a nap--ah, the golden age of travel.
  • I wish I had a recording memory chip in my brain for all the excellent conversations and good information I heard. I take notes when I can, but you don't want to whip out a Moleskine and start writing down what someone says when you're standing in a hall talking. I always think I'll remember it all, but I rarely do. Sometimes I write down "conference notes" after a conference, just to preserve the things that aren't in my notes already.
  • There is a demonstrable conference effect: let's call it Conference Brain Fog. You think you're listening, and all of a sudden you realize that you've been in a reverie for the past 10 minutes and have entirely lost the thread of the speaker's talk. Sometimes, of course, there IS no thread in the speaker's talk, which is what sets you off on the reverie in the first place. One sign of the reverie: counting the numbers of colors in the carpet.
  • It's nice to have a conference in a lovely location, but why does it always seem that the only sight you see is four walls, a speaker at a podium, and the back of the chair in front of you?
  • There's an odd dynamic when there are non-pseudonymous bloggers at a conference, most of whom are stars in the blog world, if you are better known IRL than in the blogworld but are a pseudonymous blogger.
    [Edited to add: I'm leaving for another conference shortly. I feel like Profgrrrl!]

    Sisyphus said...

    Aha! I wonder if I know you.

    Definitely some of those carpet patterns are both ugly and hypnotic; after a while you think you are receiving messages through them.

    And ditto on the weirdness of conference locations! Like when MLA was in New York but between the conference and developing the flu I never saw the outside. Very sad. If it's an interesting conference I'd almost prefer it be in a boring location so I'm not tempted to play hooky. This year MLA is Chicago, but I will be too nervous to do anything. And someone told me they crank the heat up inside everywhere and you're sweltering in your heavy suit if you're not careful.

    undine said...

    Maybe, but I hope I am mysteriously anonymous. I accidentally found out who one blogger is and had to stop reading the blog because it felt too weird.

    I'm with you on the boring location thing. And they do seem to crank the heat up, maybe for the contingent that complains if it's below 80. I'm not going to MLA this year, thank God, but do wear something light under that suit.