NASSR Day 2

7:30 am – Didn’t I set the alarm for 7? Ah, yes, but forgot to turn it on. Well it seems somebody cashed in a second drink ticket last night. Ow.

8:30 am – Skipping out on first-thing sessions means waiting till now to hit the breakfast room.

9:30 am – The business room’s computers have USB ports my first-gen USB drive won’t fit into, a digital version of Fatass Meets Airplane Seat. Guess I’ll have to drag down the laptop or send myself an e-mail. (It’s always a mystery which is the most relatively secure digital solution when using public hardware.)

10:30 am – Where did all my free morning time go while I’ve been tweaking tomorrow’s talk?

12:30 pm – In the session on Coleridge, with a great talk on his poems by a Western grad-student colleague, I realized as the moderator hogged the Q&A that all the sessions have been padded with generous Q&A time. I’m used to hour-and-fifteen-minutes sessions from other conferences; the sessions here tack on a full 45 after the standard-issue hour allotted for the papers themselves.

Took lunch to my room, working on the paper. Honestly, I thought I had this done ages ago. Am I competing for some imaginary prize?

2
4:00 pm – Charter bus to Duke U’s east campus for a chamber music concert.

(not to be confused with the eponymous hotel)

(not to be confused with the eponymous hotel)

I’ve never attended a chamber music concert before. So I furtively took some footage, and felt like less of a jerk for the camera beeps after hearing a few other pens being dropped and even some talking from somewhere up behind me. (Apologies for the rough sound quality.)

Somebody else heard it too, in fact they overheard enough to parse that the talking was an (ironic) complaint about somebodyelse’s rudeness for loud breathing. Turns out (more ironically) that the loud breather was in fact the First Violinist, inhaling the music like it was, well, you can parse my analogy.

After the concert, today’s keynote, a talk about period interpretations of the bible as literature, one of numerous talks here about modernity as secularization. (No, I did not hog the Q&A period.)

8 pm – Dined with Western colleagues and a Texan grad student here with her family; we compared notes on the dubious experiment of combining professional conference with family vacation. And amidst a collective review of the concert (why one performer wore sensible shoes, the nasally audible violinist, how different music-listening is today — you know, the points of interest for learned types who aren’t learned about music in particular), I found out about a neat-sounding book: This is your brain on music. Apparently no other human activity lights up as many patches of your brain, all at once, as music. That I might have guessed.

11:45 pm – Well that’s today then. Now to read through my talk once or twice before tucking in.

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