Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kazoo Retrospective, pt. 3

Kazoo Retrospective, pt. 3

Started kind of late on Saturday. Got slightly lost finding the building for the first session, as we came upon it from a parking lot and not from walking up one of WMU's many hills. Consequently, I missed the beginning of a very interesting paper on how scribes and writing were seen in Ireland. The paper was one of the most lucid I had the opportunity to hear, and was accompanied by the best PowerPoint (or maybe Keynote) presentation I've seen. Really neat -- whole pages of text faded into a lighter shade of script while the pertinent parts of the text remained dark and bright. Unfortunately, Since I'h had to crawl into a middle seat, I was not about to disturb people any more by digging my stuff out of my bag, and took no notes. But from what I can remember, scribes in Ireland = good and respectable. Ergo, it is absolutely not surprising that relatively high-ranking clerics should also have been scribes and that that should have been seen as part of their work and their worth.

The next paper was by a Very Eminent Medieval Lion. It was also very interesting. The delivery was fantastic. I think it would have been fantastic to have been an undergrad listening to the Lion's lectures. However. Er. There were many other eminent types in the audience. Some of them asked questions that indicated that they doubted the paper's premise. There were also comments in the hallway conversation afterwards to the effect of, "pull the other one -- it's got bells on." Me? I choose to remember it as very entertaining and, since I was unfamiliar with the documents in question (again, not so good at the A/S anymore), at least I learned something of use. Oh, and in case we'd forgotten, Rome didn't fall. Instead, there was Continuity.

Off to lunch with the people who managed to get me through Beachy U, plus a Senior Colleague and The Cranky One. Someone did mention that I seemed to have my support network around me. It was very close to being true. It's not often that one gets to have a meal with a group of people one has known for a varying number of years (from just over one year to over twenty -- added up, a total of 105 years, I think!) and to whom one owes quite a lot. Shucks.

Skived off the next panels, as I had not yet been to the book room or amber table. I really did want to hear CelandineB's paper, because it was on a really fun subject, but instead I talked myself out of many purchases. Had some of the books been still available, I'd have bought more, but the display copies of things I wanted were already taken. Still, I got one of the last two copies of TFX Noble's new collection of old essays (apparently including some heavy editing of typos) on Rome and Barbarians, which looks to be very useful. I've also not read quite all of the essays, so I've got catching up to do.

Then off to the blogging panel -- saw many well-known medievalist bloggers in action. The panel was generally good, and the panelists very good, but somehow it really took off for the audience during the Q & A session, when the subject of blogs for pedagogy came to the fore, and a bunch of us stayed around to talk before heading off to drink free, not-especially-good wine. There was the choice of the mead and beer-tasting, but the medievalist hates crowds and was happy to stand in the courtyard with friends.

Off to a local brew pub for dinner, where one of my companions said that the pot roast was fantastic. I tasted it, and it really was. Then back to the hotel, where masses of medievalists were gathering to catch the shuttle to The Dance. Although I have been known to be a dancing fool, and was mightily tempted by The Cranky One, I had no dancing shoes, blisters on my feet, and was verging on knackered. So with fond and regretful farewells, I retired to my room. There I watched most of the second Harry Potter movie, which entertainment was followed by the sounds of mad and passionate conference dalliance and some very loud and (not to cast aspersions, but I did have to hammer on the connecting door, finally, at 3:16 a.m. EDT) possibly soused medievalistas.

Off the next morning by train with two charming colleagues from the British Isles, with a very nice, if not entirely healthy, lunch here, and on to the airport and home.

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