April 23, 2009

SAAs - Day 1

Apparently I am only capable of conferencing for 6 hours straight these days. I showed up for a couple papers I wanted to hear from my UNC colleagues around 9:45... but their session was way, way over time already and I didn't get to see them, so I had to sneak out... inasmuch as I am able to sneak anywhere these days.

I headed to my session, met two of the other presenters, and we waited for the previous session to be done. And waited. They went 15 minutes over, which meant I had no time to set up presentations and my lappy. Somehow, as soon as they left, I managed to do this, convening the session only 5 mins late, albeit in a rather frantic state. But then the first paper went 5 minutes over. *sigh* As usual, my presentation skills suck, which was complicated even more by the fact that I can't read properly because I get out of breath quickly these days and that there was a hiccuping fetus in my pelvis the entire time.

But several people responded positively to my work - it's weird to give a talk to archaeologists who mostly work in America. It's kind of a way to change their minds about what classical archaeologists do. And one of the presenters, whose surname is Grove, quipped, "It's rather intimidating being in a session where the chair is named Killgrove." That made me lol. In a professional conference. Oops.

So far, I'm not entirely impressed by the SAAs. They're much larger than the AAPAs, but somehow with less stuff to interest me. The majority of the archaeology is North and South American, with few Old World papers or posters. The papers are short, there's no time for questions, and I have been unimpressed by the quality of the slides and the talks. Granted, 15 minutes is not enough time to say much of value, and some people trip over their words (at least I'm not as bad as a woman who was talking about "the fibula, which is in the lower arm"), but I'd like to get something out of this conference. Other than talking to master's students who are suuuuper interested in what I do and want to know how to do it too.

As for Atlanta... it smells weird. And is really hot and humid. I'm not so much a fan of the city. But so far, the actual Atlantans have been great. Surprisingly friendly for such a large, diverse city. Or maybe that's just because I'm ginormous and people like to pry.


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