Monday, March 21, 2005

Aah, conferences and interviews

Aah, conferences and interviews



I love going to conferences. Really. At first, they made me feel like a total idiot. But now (and please, everybody remember that I took time out of academe and am still trying to catch the hell up), I just know that, like the estimable New Kid, I really just want to be one of the cool kids. So, during the conference (in the sense of 'at the hotel late at night') I committed to working up a paper for a panel at Kazoo next year. This conference was a bit different than others I've been to, by the way. My thesis advisor was there. It was great in some ways, because he treats me like a junior colleague, and we could kibbitz about the talks and pass notes telling each other to behave. On the other hand, I just felt I couldn't ask as many questions. I was just too scared to ask something dumb and embarrass him. Not that it would, because he'd just correct me later. Still, it was fun and I got to know another junior colleague better and spent some time talking with a senior colleague whose work I really like. I forget sometimes that one of the things I love about this job is that there are really great people, and we can build relationships that last ages (there were people there whom I've known for 20 years, and people I'd just met and hope to know for that long). I feel most myself when I'm doing things academic, whether teaching, or researching, writing (even blogging about the academic life), sitting in non-useless committee meetings, and hanging out with colleagues. This weekend made me realize much more clearly that I've had a long break, trying to balance a life where I wanted to do my best at what I love with a life where what I love is just what I do for a very precarious living. It's time to get back to business. Wish me luck.

I have two campus interviews coming up. I'm freaking about the job talks. The first one is straightforward and requires some prep, but not too much, because I just taught some of what they want. The other requires prepping an actual class and teaching a document. Ugh. It sounds great, but I'm having problems choosing a doc, because the ones I love are all pretty obscure and I know I need to choose something more straightforward. Thank goodness I have a couple of weeks for that ...

18 comments:

Ianqui said...

I haven't said it before, so congrats on the interviews! Very exciting.

meg said...

Funny, I just agreed to put together a panel at Kazoo myself -- and I haven't been since 1998 or 1999 (I forget which).

The thing I hate about Kazoo is that it is always on my birthday. I hate spending my birthday away from Himself.

Well, that and the dorms. Have they improved them recently by any chance? No, I thought not. I may have to shell out for the Radisson.

What Now? said...

Congrats on the interviews--good luck!

Tiruncula said...

Ditto with the congrats on the interviews! I'm sure you will blow them away.

Can you tell us more about the conference? I really wanted to go but am overcommitted this spring.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

There were some great papers, T. Gillian Clark was fantastic, as usual, making Augustine make sense. I missed Steve Fanning's talk, because about a third of the way through the inestimable Edward James' talk, I started feeling ill and had to go get some club soda. But Fanning talked about the concept of regulae under the Carolingians and I guess that they really were sub-kingdoms in the sense of parts of a recognized whole, rather than a symptom of the disintgration we tend to talk about. I've got to e-mail him for a copy of the paper, because it does connect a bit to the stuff I've worked on. There was a very dubious grad paper on Gildas. And some really interesting exchanges between a couple of well-known Symmachus experts. Also an interesting paper on the Vascones. Bailey Young blinded us with a plethora of images of Merovingian graves and grave-goods on behalf of Patrick Perin: the talk was interesting, but it was hard to concentrate with so many graphics. There was another prof of my rank there, and we hung out together -- she's very cool. Walter Goffart gave a talk in which he pretty much did a Brown-Reynolds thing -- we now have a G-word (for Germans) as well as an F-word, apparently. That was actually one of the fun parts of the conference -- I made a reference to it, and then had to explain it, because there were very few people who work late enough (or in junior positions) that they'd ever heard of the whole F-word thing. I'll try to say more later, but it's such a small conference that I would hate to entirely blow my cover!

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Oh, I'm so amused at the idea of a medieval conference where no one really has had to deal with the f-word! (Amused as in jealous, I should say - I work late enough that the f-word isn't really an issue for me, but I've still had to sit through all the discussions...!) Anyway, it sounds like a great conference. (I think I've met Steve Fanning via grad program people, but otherwise have to confess ignorance about most of the people, but again, it sounds like you had a great time.)

I'm psyched to hear you (Med and ADM)'ll be at Kzoo next year! (Not that I know yet if I'm going, but I often do, and if I know you're planning to go, that's even more incentive b/c it would be fun to meet up.) And yes, the dorms really bite. Even in grad school at some point we stuffed three of us into a Radisson room and now I completely can't handle the dorms. I'm too old to stay somewhere not equipped with an alarm clock, a TV, carpet, climate control, or decent towels!

Finally, good luck on the interviews!! I keep checking back to see if you have any more news. :-)

Tiruncula said...

Thanks for the expanded report, ADM. I'm sorry to have missed WG's talk. He's always entertaining in performance, if generally deeply irritating in person. (His students would disagree about the latter; sorry if I'm offending anyone.)

I'm planning to go to K'zoo. Not giving any papers or chairing anything this year for the first time in years, so I plan to just enjoy myself. I haven't decided about the whole dorm/hotel thing. I've done various other cheap motels a few times in recent years; last year I was back to doing the dorm thing and appreciated the convenience. But then I always drive there so I can bring a station wagon full of pillows, blankets, towels, coffee maker, reading light, etc.

Ancarett said...

Honestly, not disagreeing on the point there, Tiruncula -- true, true, true.

Heading to the finish line on my dissertation, I ran into WG in the hallway. I told him I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. He told me it was the train coming to run me over!

As for Kazoo, I always stay in a hotel since my husband comes along with me and refuses to stay in the dorms anymore.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

How funny -- I was inadvertantly rude to WG at breakfast on Sunday -- he was talking and I had to interrupt him to catch someone. I feel like I should write and apologize. I should mention, I suppose, that Doktorvater and WG have what might be best called a studiously civil relationship ... I about died laughing when an unwitting person asked to photograph them together!

Tiruncula said...

"He told me it was the train coming to run me over!"

Ancarett, that is *so* WG. I love it. Really, ADM, I don't think you need to apologize to WG. He's so often advertently rude even to people who are on his "good" list (or people his genuinely charming wife has told him he has to be nice to) that I just don't think he notices. I'm not pursuing a grudge against WG - I just think we (not-yet-great-and-good female medievalists) should wait for the day that there's pork in the trees and WG apologizes sponte sua to someone he's been brusque to before we apologize to him :)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

That's good, because Doktorvater would probably not forgive me ;-)

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Oops, I of course meant Meg instead of Med in my previous comment...

Love the WG stories. I loved his _Narrators of Barbarian History_ (I may have the title wrong) and heard him give a great talk once, but the stories about the personality don't surprise me somehow. The early medieval prof in my program thought WG was the bee's knees, but then, the early medieval prof was pretty notorious as a unique character himself! (A good guy, but a character.) Maybe it's something about early medieval? ;-)

Tiruncula, if you're there this year, would you be interested in meeting up at some point?

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Oops, I mean at Kzoo, Tiruncula (clearly I can't type coherently any more!).

Tiruncula said...

NK - yes, absolutely. I haven't focused on the program or decided how many days to go for. I should focus on that this break, too.

(ADM, thanks for letting us use your comments to arrange our social life, such as it is :)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I just wish I were going to be there!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I just wish I were going to be there!

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I wish you were too, ADM!

I'm going to be there the whole time - classes are over here by then, my first presentation is first thing Thursday, and I need the Sat. night stay. So I hope we can find a time! (A blogger's lunch or something...)

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