Monday, May 11, 2009

The Medievalist 'Cat' Came Back

Well, I'm back from the big medieval conference in Kalamazoo, this time just a whirlwind trip where I had to hustle back here to finish my grading and turn grades in.

Here's the highlights--not in order of occurrence:

Got to see a bunch of old friends, both from graduate school and otherwise; didn't get to talk to some of them as long as I would have liked.

Got to pontificate on some of my favorite topics during a roundtable, thereby probably making them everyone else's least favorite topics.

Browsed through the manuscript fragments available; made some suggestions to a friend buying her first manuscript fragment.

Went to (I believe) a total of three panels other than my own; slept in an inhospitable dorm room with some fairly unappealing facilities (but the price was right!); went to the dance (but did not dance); talked to my editor (but did not pitch a book); rolled out of bed at 6:30 and drove seven-and-a-half hours back to Mo-town.

Went to the wine hour (Gallo, paronomasiacally dispensed from gallon jugs); there was also a free tasting of (supposedly) medieval-esque meads and beers. Had a very sour sour beer and a non-hops, heather beer, which was flowery, but not all bad. Did not have the mead; two people independently described it as tasting like cough syrup.

Went to the Anglo-Saxonist dinner and sat at the smallest table, where we (supposedly) got served first. No mead here, either, but beer. Ate hobbit-fare at Bilbo's with most of the guys from my panel.

I did see a monk in full habit.

A good time was had by all, presumably. Oh, and I'm sure some academically valuable lessons were learned all around, too.


Erica said...

There was a nice winery near us in Indiana that made a very good mead, and got me addicted; I pick up a dozen bottles whenever we're back in the Midwest, and that generally lasts me about a year. (I'm personally a fan of sweet sweet meads... although preferably not made by Gallo.)

Got to pontificate on some of my favorite topics during a roundtable, thereby probably making them everyone else's least favorite topics.I thought such activities were the entire purpose of academia ;)

Michael said...

1. You, pontificate? Say it isn't so?

2. When I went to look up "paronomasiacally" in Google, this very blog entry came up. Not helpful.

Tom said...

@Mike: Try 'paronomasia' in Google; I think that will do it. Or I could just pontificate about something or other.

historiann said...

Tom--can you explicate the visual image? It's very cool by the way--but what are the cats supposed to be doing? Is the white/grey cat taking the black rat over to be kneaded into bread dough? (Or whatever those lumps on the table are supposed to be.) The black cat appears to be acting in a malign fashion, taking the bird out of the cage. And is that a dog or a rat sleeping curled up on the floor? I need some help.

ej said...

The way you describe it, it almost makes me sad at having missed the 'zoo this year!

Almost, but not quite.

Tom said...

@Historiann--I think you're right to see food preparation in the image, but I'm afraid I can't be more specific. The recumbent figure may be a third cat, cleaning itself?

Probably unrelated, but there's a fun passage in the Middle English manual 'Holy Maidenhood' which attempts to persuade a young woman to live chastely outside of marriage by cataloguing the hassles of domestic life: the baby is crying, the pot is boiling over, the cat is in the milk, and so on. These cats, too, are in the kitchen, but somewhat more helpful, I guess.

Historiann said...

OK--thanks, Tom. I see now that the curled up figure is a gray cat. (Next to the fire, of course.) I suppose the standing cats are being quite helpful, if you don't have any quarrel with mice or rats on the menu.