S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Kalamazoo Saturday

Those of you who do not habitually follow Kalamazoo-related events may not have heard of the Pseudo Society, usually one of the highlights of the conference. It's a session of papers, three or four, none of which are meant to be taken seriously. The goal is to present, with a straight face, a paper which takes advantage of the audience's expertise to make as many in-the-know jokes as possble. (Example from tonight: Heloise left Abelard for a parakeet.) Sometimes they're painfully funny; other times they fail to have much funny at all, or are too specialized. Tonight's were well done, funny, witty, and full of evidence, argument, and conspiracy theories. We learned that Saint Guthlac died from DIY disasters; that rabbits are out to take over the world; and that Chaucer has been reincarnated over the centuries repeatedly and is currently Bruce Springsteen.

One of the challenges of attending the Pseudo Society is seats. If you want one, it behooves you to arrive the best part of two hours before the session begins. In a fit of astonishing efficiency, the three of us arrive well over two hours in advance with fast food to eat while waiting. But the time passes quickly: it's a time to catch up with those who are also waiting, to meet new and interesting people, blow bubbles, share chocolate. Along the way, C. was busy updating me on Eurovision status, as the contest was ongoing. (Thank you, C.!)

Other events of the day: commentaries on creation, featuring a number of particularly intriguing verse translations; papers of Islamic influences on Italy and vice versa; Avista business meeting, in which I committed to doing some work in another year from now (i.e. co-organized the 2009 sessions); the dance, a room of bouncing medievalists, catching up and saying goodbye; commitment to my second book review of the year; the happy realization that I'm ready to write the article which many of my own conference papers would logically lead to. The raspberry mead from the Brewers' Guild event (it's annual at K'zoo) tasted of the texture of raspberries, the flavor was so vivid; the metheglin was pleasantly layered in taste; the sack mead was more like a rich wine than a mead, and I mean that in a good way.

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