Came home with a nifty piece of conference schwag that I don’t think I’d ever picked up at conference before: a nasty summer cold complete with a chesty cough, and losing my voice. Not my idea of fun.
But I did manage to enjoy most of the conference. Friday night I went to a fancy reception at the Adler Planetarium, booked by OCLC for their 50th anniversary. I think I missed some of the festivities at the beginning, but there was an open bar and still lots of food when I got there. And I’d never been in the Adler before – it’s out behind the Shedd Aquarium and a pretty cool place.
I used having a cold as an excuse to NOT go to anything that started at 8:30, which actually made for quite a pleasant conference experience – usually at conference you’re up even earlier on a Saturday than you would be on a weekday, getting into work clothes and hiking to some over-air conditioned room in the convention center of a strange city to watch earnest librarians giving slide presentations about … something.
Saturday I had the most to do – a poster with one of my students and I was introducing a program that a committee I’m co-chairing put together, and fortunately I was not yet too sick, and still had my voice. I had a real sit-down lunch at a coffee place that we sometimes walk to from the apartment, Spoke & Bird. I went back there for a bowl of oatmeal on Monday morning, but didn’t take a picture – I think it was cooked in milk; it tasted quite rich and had about three times as many candied pecans on top as I could actually eat. I sat outside on Monday – it was too crowded on Saturday, plus I needed to open up my computer, so I joined the other workers in the front room. I got all the slides downloaded and set up for the program at 3:00.
After the conference day, we met my brother – who was in town for a philosophy conference – for a beer at Palmer House, and then, trying to figure out where to eat, we blundered into Vapiano, which I thought Megan had said was OK – and it was. They have a kind of station type ordering – you go to the salad station, or the pasta station, or the pizza station – and order what you want. They give you a pager and card where they add up your purchases. You can just walk right up to the bar and order and pay, and find a table. My brother said, “This is the kind of thing that makes me feel old”, but we all liked our food – and we all got what we wanted – Caesar salads for me and the bro, I shared mine with Mark, and Dave got a nice looking tomato bruschetta. Mark got a pasta Bolognese and I tried a few forkfuls, and we looked at the dessert list but didn’t buy – and Dave went off to bar and came back with a finger of whisky neat in a glass. They even brought us some bread on request. It was loud tho, my ears were ringing when we left, Mark and I to walk home, and my brother to go cruise on his Divvy bike.
On Sunday I slept in and got to the conference at 10:30 for a program on a topic related to the one I’d helped to organize the day before, with some of the same speakers, and they mentioned us, which was nice. But that’s about when I started coughing. After, I went out to the closest convenience store and bought cough drops and a coffee that wasn’t very good, and a couple of bananas that were good. I got the extra banana for Mark because I knew he’d be outside our division’s big deal program, Top Technology Trends. It was pretty good this year, but I skipped the following presidents program with the author of this:
I mean, she also writes sci fi, and I’m sure she gave a good talk, but geek feminists are fairly well represented at UW, not that there’s not always more work to do for the cause, and I went to see this documentary about Cabrini Green instead.
Mark was pleased – Kameron Hurley signed a lot of books – and I felt educated by the documentary. I used to work not too far away from Cabrini Green, and moved back to Madison right before they started knocking it down, and I hadn’t really thought so much about what it means to demolish housing, make lots of noise about how people will only be relocated temporarily, and that affordable housing would be supplied so they could move back, but then there was nothing to move back to until 2011, and only a small percentage affordable. It’s like they knock down your neighborhood, force you out, say you can come back – but not really.
Then it was time for back to back receptions, my school reunion, and the LITA Happy Hour.
After all of which we were meeting friends for dinner at Publican, which was its usual delicious self – BBQ carrots still the best. All fun but totally trashed my voice.
Monday was OCLC research update, saw a few friends before everyone went home, ALA/AIA Library Building Awards (at which a lot of lefty-leaning architects and librarians talked about now more than ever libraries and education and community centered buildings important), 3:45 train and drive back to Madison, where I had the house to myself for the night, and the kid had done such a good job taking care of things the getting home and unpacking and cleaning up operation only took about an hour. I was on the couch with cats on top of me by 9:30. Ahhh.