Monday, October 23, 2006

Ninety-six hours

Ninety-six hours -- that is precisely the time that elapsed between walking out my door on thursday morning at 4:15am to go catch my flight to Kingston, and walking back into my place at 4:15 this morning after my flight landed at 3:30. A weird symmetry, wouldn't you say?

So I'm back ... four days in Kingston, ON (would that it had been Kingston Jamaica, but I just haven't been all that good at picking conferences in exotic locales). All in all, a very good conference. I would have given my eye teeth not to have gone last Wednesday, but as is the way of these things it proved quite enjoyable and (academically) profitable. And at least I have proven to myself that, as long as I happen to be presenting my paper toward the end of the conference, I can leave with one-fifth of it written and be good to go when the bell rings (though I was literally writing my conclusion at the lectern ten minutes before my session started -- I'm going to feel like such a hypocrite when I run the session on conference paper writing for our grad students this year and sternly warn them to have it finished well before departure ... hopefully none of them find this blog before then).

I feel rejuvenated. SSHRC knocked me out well beyond what is reasonable to be knocked out by such an ordeal -- which is part of the reason I was behind the eight-ball on the conference paper -- but I cancelled classes for today and spent the afternoon recuperating. As luck would have it, I had a slew of DVDs in my mailbox today courtesy of and Kristen, so I've spent my time today watching Aaron Sorkin's Sports Night and the shows K burned for me between catching up on email. And now I feel ready for the semester's second half.

Speaking of good TV, I think I inadvertently made my name for myself among the various delegates at the Canadian Association for American Studies by mentioning Buffy in passing during a question period. There had been a keynote address about witch-hunting in American history, and later, asking a question about I paper on Martha Stewart, I just mentioned in passing -- apropos of nothing -- the episode in which Anya identifies The Martha as a witch, claiming "no one could possibly do that much macrame without invoking the powers of darkness!" Everyone laughed, it relaxed the room, we moved on to more serious matters.

The thing is, for the rest of the conference I kept having people come up to me and say, "Hey, you're the guy that asked the Buffy question!" And we're not just talking grad students, but tenured professors here. I got the knowing nod in the hallway between sessions ... the acknowledgment from fellow academics of being in the Buffy club. It's like being given a masonic handshake.

Interestingly enough, that incident wasn't the only Martha reference on the show. Trying to find the exact wording of the quote (I got it a bit wrong in the session), I found this one:

Cordelia: When did you become Martha Stewart?
Buffy: First of all, Martha Stewart knows jack about hand-cut prosciutto.
Xander: I don't believe she slays, either.
Oz: Oh, I hear she can, but she doesn't like to.

I might have a career at this.

1 comment:

Swain said...

I hope you're enjoying Sports Night. That show introduced me to the genius that is Aaron Sorkin, as well as Felicity Huffman, Peter Krause and Josh Charles. And keep an eye out for Janel Moloney, if you haven't already seen her.
A thought just occurred to me. Sports Night saw Robert Guillame suffer a stroke.
The West Wing lost John Spencer.
What tragedy will befall Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip?