As advertised, I am at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where I will be attending several panels and presenting a paper. I am very much glad to be here, particularly after being on the road for some sixteen hours yesterday to get here. (It still beats flying, though.)
One of the interesting things about repeatedly attending a conference that happens in the same place year to year is that it permits a view of how the place grows and changes. I have seen buildings go up at Western Michigan University in the years I have been attending the conference, and I find myself wondering what it is like to be a student with such facilities available. Usually, those of us who work in the academic humanities and with the medieval find ourselves relegated to the older and less maintained parts of campus.* Our work is not the kind of work that tends to attract new building funding, after all..
As I note above, I was on the road for some sixteen hours to get from Sherwood Cottage to the Valleys of WMU. It was not a bad drive, really, just long, and I was able to be on the Mother Road, Route 66, for a fair bit of it. (I did, in fact, brush by Chicago on the way. And there was a Blues Brothers joke; I saw a sign that pointed to both Joliet and Elwood.) It was good practice for taking Ms. 8 on the road in years to come--as my wife and I will be doing at some point, certainly. It was also good to get off of the road at the end of the trip and find my bed, even if it is badly sheeted and in an un-air-conditioned room that overlooks some kind of grinding machinery.
So far this morning, I have already met up with a friend from previous conferences and been by the storied exhibit hall (which was in the final stages of setting itself up for work). I even picked up a few books that will be helpful in one of my many academic projects, and I did so cheaply (but I will be good for the rest of the conference; I need to continue to have a bank account). I also got word that one of the pieces of work I have been awaiting is where I can look at it, so I will be doing that in short order and getting more of my responsibilities discharged. (Grading continues, as it ever does, even at the zoo.)
There will be more to report in the coming days, of course, and those reports will not be on my usual morning schedule; I do not have the same access to computing facilites here that I do at home, of course, and on the day I drive back from the Valleys to Sherwood Cottage, scheduling will be...interesting. But I will still do what I can to keep up with things; somebody might, maybe, find it useful or entertaining.
*I did have classes in the newest building on campus once and for a short time as an undergraduate. It was neat to be one of the first to get to use the facility. I could hope to make a more lasting mark, however.