Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reporting from CAA

I have reached the architecturally unexpected city of Dallas and am trying to get myself into full College Art Association mode. I've always enjoyed CAA in the past, but this year it's more of an effort. It is kind of difficult to enjoy much of anything to the full a week and a half before one hopes to turn in a PhD dissertation.
I had hoped (not expected, but hoped) to get a lot done on the plane. Well, my plane's engine was perhaps the noisiest I have ever encountered, which certainly put an interesting complexion onto the inflight magazine's boasts of having drastically cut noise pollution over the years. One can only wonder how loud the engines were before and if permanent hearing damage resulted for passengers who had no earplugs. Anyhow, I did finally crank up the ipod and looked over a chapter.
Originally I had hoped to room with one or more friends, but very few people I know seemed to be going, and they all seemed to have roommates already. I thus decided against the conference hotel, as even at the student discount rate, it was a bit exorbitant. I located a cheap hotel a kilometer or so away.
Well, there was no record of my reservation, but this got resolved. Next, it took several attempts for the desk crew to get my electronic room key set so it would actually open the door. Also, the first elevator I got into was out of order. I was beginning to feel unhappy. However, the room looked fine once I got inside, although other people have pointed out that we don't have wifi in the rooms and that they have wasps instead. (Later on I realized that my room faces a busy freeway, which provides ambient sound 24 hours a day.)
But... my hotel is populated by other budget-conscious conference-goers, which is kind of nice.
On Tuesday night, those of us on the job market had the opportunity to attend a sort of orientation, so I went. It was pleasant enough, but not as useful as I would have liked (I do not need to be told to check in the mirror for dandruff before going to a job interview). The questions asked by some of the audience members did indicate, however, that many people have not been as well prepared for job interviews as those who come out of my department. So, not for the first time, I will offer up my general praise for My Splendid Department, which does most things right as far as I can tell (and usually tries to fix its mistakes). Even had I not done the mock interview last week, I think I would have felt better prepared than some people seemed to be.
Today I have attended a couple of panels - one on Etruscan art and one on Japonisme. After all, when else do I get a chance to go to hear about things that have little to do with my own research? Both panels were satisfactorily interesting. I have always been intrigued by the Etruscans, and the Japonisme panel looked at things like how Japanese artists reacted to European and American japonisme.
In the meantime, however, my laptop screen developed a strange ailment that was not resolved by downloading an updated driver. Namely, while it is legible, it has taken on a sort of odd pinstriped effect that makes text look blurry. I don't know what its problem is or how to solve it, especially since I can really only get internet access when running on battery in one or the other hotel lobby. I think this means I will not want to give my presentation using my own computer, for fear that the display problem will repeat on the projector. It is most irksome and I hope it will not call for some sort of repair.
But, returning to the positive, I have run across several people from my MA program and was able to have a leisurely chat with our slide librarian (not that she deals with slides anymore). I worked in the slide library for two years and have to say that Kathe always provided one of the most pleasant working environments I can remember. Everyone wanted to hang out in the slide library, and I imagine that this is still the case in the new building.
However, work does need to continue on the dissertation, so I suppose I will close up the laptop and wend my way back to my freeway-oriented lair to see what I can get done before anyone else I know arrives and manifests themselves to me.

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6 Comments:

Blogger dguzman said...

Enjoy Dallas--if you can.

New here, on Dr. Zaius' recommendation.

February 21, 2008 2:49 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

"I do not need to be told to check in the mirror for dandruff before going to a job interview"

Oh chrreee-aaaayyyst!!!

February 21, 2008 6:55 PM  
Blogger Karla said...

I actually have a post on dguzman's blog awaiting release (how often do you see a rabbit with mouse-sized ears?).

As for the job interview scene, well, evidently some of the studio art MFAs are unclear on the dandruff, as it was a studio person who brought up the topic. But not to knock studio people, some of the nicest (and even most elegant) people I've met in the past two days are on the studio side. I did once sit behind an art historian who spent an entire panel flicking dandruff into the aisle.

February 22, 2008 1:37 AM  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

now i'm really curious what you learned about japonisme!

February 23, 2008 12:04 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Ah, I was definitely thinking of the Japonisme blog as I sat at the Japonisme panel. I really enjoyed that set of papers, although I had to miss the first one as I was checking out a different talk. But... it is possible to get audio CDs of many of the panels. Um... sorry, just checked the list, it doesn't appear the Japonisme panel people signed the consent forms, or whatever was required. It is not on the order form.

February 23, 2008 12:15 AM  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

oh well--thanks for checking karla. now i'm curious.

February 23, 2008 12:55 AM  

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