yrmencyn: (armadillo)
A year ago [livejournal.com profile] rosepurr and [livejournal.com profile] thndrstd went to the Southern Festival of Books, and they told me it was awesome.  And then I bailed on going down on New Year's, because the roads sucked and I was tired whaa :)  So a few months ago I said "Sure, I think I might go down next time the Festival rolls around."  And then, despite the fact that I was dead tired from my first, crazy week of work, I made good on this commitment ('cause it's rude to bail on two travel plans in a row).

Totally good choice.

Good despite the fact that we ended up stopping on Friday night in Elizabethtown, KY so that I wouldn't drive off the road.  Or that there was a sort of 2001-like dipstick thing thanks to a broken dipstick tube (it's not worth explaining, really, it was just a little bit of a masculine blow).

The Festival was, as any such event is, a mixed bag, but it was TOTALLY worth it, just for the panel where Kevin Wilson and John Pritchard read from their work.  There were other good things, too, like the discovery of poet Karen Head, or YA author Justine Larbalestier (in spite of a completely incomprehensible talk she gave that we walked out on).

And NY-style pizza in Nashville of all places.  And boiling hot fried catfish.  And an espresso macchiato that took well in excess of 10 minutes because apparently some coffee shops spend all their time on developing superb coffee drinks, and none of developing a good workflow.

After the festival we went to see a free concert by the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, which included (among other things), Sibelius' Op. 26, "Finlandia," which I know I am not alone in loving.  As a bonus, we caught the tail end of Nashville in Harmony's performance in the lobby.  [Amusing side note: their conductor's concert rhetoric is quite circumspect -- I didn't realize until I looked up their website just now that they're a GLBT chorus.]  We skipped out on the Nashville Symphony's performance in order to celebrate the birthday of a friend of our hosts, at a bar called Past Perfect.  They specialize in classic cocktails -- I don't think I've ever even had the opportunity elsewhere to have both a Pegu Club Cocktail and a Sazerac in one sitting (and a Key Largo, but that doesn't have quite the cachet, thought it's surprisingly pleasant, especially for a tropically flavored drink :)

After a pancake breakfast and my traditional swing by Bojangles' for a country ham biscuit (be still my heart), we headed on back to Columbus, only an hour late to rehearsal thanks to an hour in which we moved about 15 miles on I-71.  No wreck.  Just... slowdown.

All in all a very satisfying weekend.  Next stop on Mike's Regional Visiting Tour?  I believe that'd be St. Louis.  Or [livejournal.com profile] talyr will eat my soul :)  Stay tuned.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
The most recent PHD Comic made me laugh bitterly.  No, grad students aren't being made to take unpaid leave or anything like that, but the economy finally got around to annoying me directly.  Every year at the AWP conference (the biggest creative writing conference), there's a pedagogy forum, wherein folks submit one-page papers outlining a pedagogical point -- an exercise, a bit of philosophy, whatever -- and then, if their paper is accepted, they sit around for a while and discuss pedagogy with other like-minded folks for about an hour.  It's also the easiest way to be an official presenter at the conference, which is the magic bullet that lets you access your travel allowance from the department.

Last year, when AWP was in New York, everyone and their dog suddenly decided to go the conference.  Times was, pretty much anyone who submitted a paper was accepted, but under the flood of submissions the process got MUCH more selective.  So in those plush economic times, our program director negotiated an agreement with our department chair such that anyone attending AWP could use their travel allowance, regardless of presenter status.  That offer was extended to this year, and thus there was very little discussion of pedagogy papers on our listserve, and most people didn't submit.  Hell, I actually wouldn't mind having the extra CV line, and even I didn't submit; I knew I had the money anyway, and I was busy.

Up through last week, the department chair was keeping the funding agreement on the table, but now it's been retracted pursuant to a memo from the College regarding non-presenter funding.  I'm not upset with the chair or with our program director -- they both did what they could, it sounds like -- but it still stands that people have been making decisions based on funding assumptions, and that rug was suddenly yanked out from under us.  I mean, I can swing it, and I think everybody in my hotel room is still going, so at least we don't have to scramble to maintain our per-person cost, but it remains annoying.

On the plus side, we managed to find a sub-100$ one-way flight down to TX for my brother-in-law, thus making it possible for him to work his alloted hours AND for me (and, incidentally, Elisa) to drive down to the grandparents' for early-Christmas (Grammie's doing Christmas the weekend before).  Woohoo!

And now that I've finished complaining mildly, I need to get back to work.  Have to read poetry manuscripts for the Journal prize (due Monday) and grade student portfolios (also due Monday).

Delaware

May. 24th, 2007 11:19 pm
yrmencyn: (food)
No, not the city just north of Columbus.  I'm talking about Delaware state, which -- this is going to sound crazy, I know -- I just discovered.  Seriously.  I mean, sure, even way back to 3rd grade I knew of its existence (Dover is its capital, I learned), but I really had never thought of it.  And then today I was looking at the route from Columbus to DC on Google Maps, and I saw it!  Or rather, didn't.  Because you know what there is in Delaware?  A whole lotta nothin'!  It's so exciting.  Seriously, it's amazing.  Right in the middle of the Eastern seaboard, and it's a big pile of nothingness.  I desperately want to visit, but Kevin isn't so big on the idea.  I must convince him otherwise.

On a completely different topic, I have an ice cream recommendation: you need to try the cucumber ice cream at Denise's.  It is absolutely amazing.
yrmencyn: (armadillo)
Oh, for the love of God and all that is holy.

This is the reason I try to be caffeinated early in the morning.  For the saga of my attempts to drive around this morning to the gas station and to my airport, look at this Google Map I made.  An excuse to use my new favorite online toy -- at least there's that silver lining.

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December 2009

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