Thursday, June 26, 2008

Random things

I'm on a conference-hating kick. Ugh. Sometimes I just don't understand what the point is. Why I do this several times a year. This is coming right now because, I must admit, this conference is chummy-chummy, and I am quite an outsider in terms of the field. I also did not feel like these were my people, you know? You get a vibe from a conference group, even a big one. This vibe wasn't for me.

I did have a couple of insights that are useful for me, going forward - with my work, I mean. Still, though - coming all this way for a "couple of insights." If I weren't having a holiday, I would be sad about having come.

I did see an old friend of mine at this conference - someone I taught in a big course with ten years ago, and haven't seen for a good five years. She is a hilariously manic person who decided that we would be inseparable, as soon as she saw me. So I couldn't walk five feet without her frantic voice calling out to me. Also, she would constantly be gripping my arm tightly during presentations, reacting to what people were saying by hissing - seriously hissing - things like "Bullshit!" and "Why aren't they talking about poststructuralism??!!" I fought some irritation about all this manic behaviour, but in the end I'm so glad we re-connected and we had a lovely time. I went out for dinner last night with her and her husband and daughter, and we had such a delightful time!! They were so much fun...and the twelve-year-old daughter decided I was the bee's knees, and it was so cute....she wanted to tell me EVERYTHING about her life, in that way that only kids can do...but because she's the child of intellectuals, it also is cut with this sort of sense of irony that makes for a very funny combination. She was all, "When you're in Home City, you should come and visit us and the four of us will go to the Japanese restaurant and we can, you know, chat. [This word, "chat," said in a self-mocking voice.] It'll be awesome." She was adorable.

I still haven't been in the water - it's ridiculous. I hope to go for a dip this afternoon. I am switching hotels, from the conference hotel to a "You only have a 40th birthday once" hotel. After I check in there, and before R gets here, I must find my way into the ocean! Tomorrow - the actual 40th birthday - R has told me she wants to "see surfing, to really understand how it works." So we'll find somewhere to do that - I've rented a car for the day. It is too bad R has some water phobia, because what would be fun would be for her to actually try it. But anyway, it'll be great to see it. And do whatever else her heart desires.

On Saturday we are going to the Big Island, and I will have no Internet for over a week, so this is probably my last post for a while. Have good weeks, all of you!


Brigindo said...

I know what you mean about the conference-hating. I did four last year and even though some were good by the end I just kept thinking, why? So I refused to put in any abstracts and I'm conference-free for a year!

Have a great time with R, the fancy hotel, and the Big Island.

plam said...

For me, the point of conferences is publishing (vs. perishing), since our conferences sort of act like journals do in real science fields. Different conferences, of course, do have different vibes.

My PhD advisor surfs. Being remiss in his duties, though, he never taught us how to surf; how sad.

Have a good time with R for the rest of the week, and enjoy your vacation!

Psychgrad said...

I have yet to be at a conference that I've actually enjoyed and am already dreading the one I have in a few weeks.

Enjoy the rest of your time in Hawaii. I'm imagining that the "you only have a 40th birthday once" hotel is a little piece of heaven on earth.

Maude Lebowski said...

i'm so out of touch lately, i'm sorry. i'm so jealous that you're at the ocean, and the pacific at that! i'm totally afraid of the ocean, too, but i want to learn how to surf, so it doesn't really make any sense.

it sounds so lovely. is it R's 40th? happy birthday to her!!


squadratomagico said...

Happy Birthday to R! Relax and have fun!

dbm/gaa said...

Yeah, conferences. I love them or hate them, they are either really stimulating or boorrriinnng, the problem is it is difficult to tell which beforehand. I've seriously reduced my conference participation lately, I'm using the 'carbon footprint' excuse!

Happy birthday to R! She can give me some tips - I turn 40 next month.

JustMe said...

ooh, a conference where i think you are?! how exciting!! but yah, sorry that you are not having a good academic time at the conference, yay holiday!