I've gone to a few good panels. Thanks to my fatigue on Friday, most of the virtues of the sessions were lost on me as I struggled to pay continuous attention. I liked the idea of the book printing demonstration on one of Massey College's collection of letter presses. I learned a few things, particularly from the land of trivia. I have a pretty good idea of how the basic printing process works though. My mother's a printmaker. I had a nice chat about this very thing with a lovely local woman I'd not met before when I answered her question on how it'd take the ink to dry. It was charming: she thought I was quite young still and she finds she more and more enjoys activities and pursuits she once associated with her parents when she was younger. That evening was Donald's birthday part. One of the nicest things about the day was that Donald took it off to attend the conference for a day and enjoyed it quite a bit. I like it when different aspects of my life overlap.
Speaking of Friday, I briefly swung by UTARPA, which had messed up my membership last month. They couldn't do a refund, not a problem. They extended my membership card by the year for which I paid and had a few of them sign as witnesses to the change since they didn't give me a new card. But - you see - I then noticed they'd changed the wrong card. They should have added a year to my card expiring in Feb '03, not the one expiring in Sept. '03. But they couldn't be bothered changing it again and just gave me all the extra months. My membership now expires in Sept. '04, at the very very end of my degree. Handy, especially if I don't lose it! I bet mine's now valid for FAR longer than anyone else's. Most people buy 3 months at a time.
Today, the morning session was a real highlight. I'd started out at the graduate student's breakfast (7:30 am!) but didn't meet enough new people for that to be as exciting as the first session, which was a work in progress one, all very polished papers which were part of peoples' dissertations. It included the only paper in the entire weekend on a Medieval subject, on watermills. I have a copy of the paper and hope to keep in touch with the guy who wrote it. Thus far in my academic career, of the graduate students I've met, Adam's is as close to mine as anyone gets. It was such a pleasure to talk to someone who shared so many basic texts with me. Halfway through the morning, I realized I'd left so fast in the morning that my socks didn't match. Oops.
So I bought a few books, met lots of people, lost out on sleep, and caught up with people I'd not seen for a while. Among the highlights of running into authors whose work I knew or had read or rely daily upon: Pamela O. Long, an early Modernist whose work is very relevant; Ruth Schwartz Cowan, who was a fabulously good and efficient moderator; and, of course, Thomas Hughes and Joel Mokyr as I mentioned earlier. I ran into faculty who remembered me from Munich, two years ago. That was gratifying.
Over lunchtime today, there was a session on academic dealing well with the media. It was a good session - and they did use my 5 minutes from the Discovery Channel! It turns out that that was the first time much of my department, including my advisor had seen it. I had many happy compliments afterwards.
I still have to write much of my conference paper for next week.