May 8th, 2009

Fishy Circumstances

Kalamazoo Thursday

After a leisurely pre-crowd visit with J., the social whirl of K'zoo kicked in. I went off for dinner with easter, her P., the other P., a_d_medievalist, juniperus, and celandineb. Complications ensued, involving a glass of water, allergies (not mine), my first driving in two years, meeting someone I recognized solely from having FB recommend I add him, and various long waits. Eventually, I had dinner at Bilbo's. I do really like their salads and pizzookie.

Today, the conference began in earnest. I went to an excellent food history session, in which two of the four papers had been withdrawn, but we gained a really good, illicit* replacement. Lunch featured, among other lovely people, a reunion with pittenweem and a first meeting with toft_froggy.

Two of my own sessions were in the afternoon. I organized them and chaired the second. The Technologies of the Book panels went really well, with five good papers presented between the two of them. They were on Villard de Honnecourt, visual mapping of thematic ideas, Arabic and Roman numbers, and bookmarks as fabrics and as plants. The AVISTA brochure was available in a pretty array of colors, a book may happen from the sessions, and I gave my first autograph. (!)

After a lovely hour spent with relentlesstoil's parents (!), I had a brief reunion with ellid (not seen since Smith days!) and a first meeting with her extraordinary quilt. Then off to dinner with forthright and curtana, in which a large festival, in honor of someone who has been voted off American Idol, scuppered our plans for eating at Food Dance.

Finally, I didn't go the York reception because I was at the Toronto one instead. Cruel choice! And there were many more reunions and meetings.

* Replacements are not generally illicit, but this one was given by the moderator, often a recipe for disaster, and so discouraged. Fortunately, it was good, and beautifully kept to time.
Fishy Circumstances

Kalamazoo Friday

After breakfast with celandineb, we wandered over for the blogger's breakfast meet. It was well-attended - 25+ people over its duration - with old friends and interesting people whom I'd at most heard of.

10 o'clock brought with it the best session-hopping I am ever likely to achieve, with four good papers in two different sessions, fortunately both in the same building: knights' equestrian styles, timing cooking with the Paternoster, a creative and insightful application of embroidery work to the meaning of the zodiac on the west portal of Chartres, and the use of geometric illustrations in fifteenth century manuscripts and artwork. Lunch with a_d_medievalist and A. featured Taco Johns, my first encounter with cinnamon twists in at least two years.

The early afternoon Digital Medievalist session may have been fascinating, but it hadn't achieved that yet for me when I left the roundtable after the speakers' initial presentations; it didn't help I was hampered by fatigue. The most memorable moment of that half-hour, however, warrants its own post. Thanks to C., I attended a Lydgate session in the later afternoon, and lucked out with four excellent papers: undead priests, undead kings, Mary as antidote to poison, and the meanings of aureation in his life of the pearl saint, Margaret. The panelists were as interested in asking questions of each other as the audience was.

I had far too little time at the AVISTA reception before meeting cliosfolly, who intrepidly organized dinner downtown, featuring a ladybird97, among others. Finally, pittenweem and I caught up with C.M. - who's moving to Hawaii.

Tonight, the moon is full and the air is sweet with blossoms.