Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Random Bullets of MLA 2015

  • Nice weather!  Once the fog cleared, I realized that we were actually on the water, with breathtaking views of mountains across the bay.  Another plus: no ice on the streets.
  • Downtown Vancouver as you see it from the convention center was apparently dropped wholesale onto the planet, buildings and all, starting in 1975, so all the architecture you could see from the conference site is interesting and new. 
  • Hotels were close to the convention center and easy to find--big, distinctive, and with bright signs. If you've ever stood on a street corner at MLA wondering which way was which, having distinctive buildings is helpful. There were lots of good restaurants as well as a food court for quick meals. 
  • Wifi password was prominently displayed in the hotel, and, saints be praised, the conference center wifi didn't require you to log in. This was the best conference yet in terms of being connected. 
  • Also, and I don't recall this before: the convention center was loaded with smiling, helpful MLA people who could tell you which way to go to get to the room you wanted or the book exhibit.  A few years ago at one of the conferences, you entered the Convention Hall and the Twilight Zone simultaneously. You would see NO ONE as you walked down the dimly lighted hall toward what you hoped was a hall with rooms where the sessions were held, your heels echoing on the concrete floor.
  • The panels and papers I saw were really good, with spirited but courteous discussion.  People stayed within time limits.  Could it be that the famed Canadian politeness extended to the conference atmosphere?  Or was it the red and green sheets of paper for signalling the panelists to be quiet?  I could figure out that red meant stop, but I never did figure out the green one: did it mean "2 minutes"? At any rate, it's an eco-friendly alternative to the red and green lights of MLA 2006.
  • Here's a pro tip if you want to get your session accepted: call it "The ____ Turn." There were lots of sessions with that title. There also seemed to be numerous sessions on DH, on rhet/comp/writing, and on comics and games.  It's exciting to see the MLA opening up to these.
  • I was hoping the issue of Skype interviews instead of conference interviews (which I favor) would come up somewhere and could get an official MLA endorsement, but apparently it didn't.
  • If I were giving the MLA a granola bar ranking (granola bars being my go-to breakfast), I'd give this five out of five granola bars. 
Other MLA posts: 2014, 2013, 2012, 20112006


Flavia said...

I'm interested in this granola bar ranking (since at all-too-many MLAs all I eat between rising and an inevitably late dinner are endless granola bars). Is the ranking based on the quality of the granola bars, their ready availability, or. . . ?

Glad it was a good time! I'm not sorry to have had the days at home, but I really do miss MLA when I'm not there. Next year, in Austin.

undine said...

Flavia, I was trying to think of a way to rank the MLA (conference badges?), and granola bars seemed better than stars, somehow. I agree about missing the MLA: I like the days at home but feel as though I'm missing something if I don't go.

Flavia said...

Oops. Got it!