Wednesday, April 15, 2009

PCA/ACA, Part I: Wednesday

Wednesday, after I checked out of Parc St. Charles and checked my luggage at the Marriott, I went to pick up my conference materials. And, of course, there was a problem. Let me fill you in on the problems this conference had caused to this point...

While I submitted my proposal just fine, and it was accepted rather quickly, communication lagged for a long while after that. As in, October became January and I still hadn't received a letter of acceptance (which never actually came), nor any information about when I would present or something similar. I emailed the person in charge of the area in which I was presenting, and was assured that stuff was still coming. Then it was March, and the program came out... and my name and paper were nowhere to be found. I emailed again, and it turns out that the area was absorbed into another, so I needed to contact someone else. I did, and was forwarded to a third person. Third person was very apologetic and helpful, and I was added in before long. Unfortunately, I didn't necessarily fit that well into the panel in which I was placed, but more on that later.

Anyway, so when I checked in, they were missing one of my payments, so I needed to switch to another line to fix the problem. When I reached the front of that line, I was told to go to another line. When I got to the front of that line, person #3 from above was the person handling the line, and recognized my name. That made things go super-quick, and I was good to go. But it was only fitting that I'd end up waiting for twenty minutes for no reason at the conference, LoL.

The first session started at 12:30, so I went into the Quarter to grab lunch. Now, there's this amazing little po'boy place near the Mariott. A couple colleagues and I went there several times when we were in New Orleans for ATHE, but I couldn't find it for the life of me this time. I think it might have closed, since I walked a good deal of the area in which it should have been. Anyways, I ended up at Cafe Fleur de Lis on Chartres, which ended up being a great find. I ordered a ham-egg-cheese bagel, since breakfast is what they were known for, and it was only $6. It was quite good, although the bagel was a little dry and the sandwich as a whole was a bit greasy. I also met another conference attendee and made small talk. He is currently adjuncting at four different schools in Boston. This frightens me a bit, since I was really giving thought to adjuncting while we continue to move around. But no biggie.

The first session I went to was actually one of the best. I headed to 1010: "Mythology in Contemporary Culture I: Men and Mythology: Thieves, Tricksters, and (of course) Beer." The first paper had just started when I entered the room, which was about Batman's Joke and the Trickster Archetype. There were some interesting points, but a good use of Jung. Then I learned about mythstory, which is the idea that myths become understood as fact over time, through an interesting paper on Saint Patrick. Then was one of the best papers of the whole conference, Mattel's Commission of the He-Man Bible. While I knew that Strawberry Shortcake was a product before it was a cartoon, and that Rainbow Brite was similar, I didn't know that He-Man kinda perfected this idea, and I'd spend a whole paragraph talking about it, so I won't. But I will say that it was a fascinating paper from a gentleman who usually studies Vampires, not toy culture. The last paper was about the Lure of the Numinous, which offered some very fascinating information on Hitler's obsession with artifacts.

Session 2, I hit up 1038: "Music II: Visual Counterpoints." The first paper was on Gwen Stefani's Harajuku Girls, which I previously knew nothing about. Such an interesting phenomena. Then there was a Smashing Pumpkins paper that did nothing for me, mostly because this was the start of technology failure, which would continue throughout the conference. Then there was a Matchbox 20 paper, focusing on 3AM and how it deconstructed stereotypes while using cultivation theory to show the skewing of reality because of chemotherapy. Finally, comments on music in American Graffiti, both diegetic (really being used) and non-diegetic (just a soundtrack playing).

Then it was on to 1060: "Adolescence in Film & Television II: Adolescents and Contemporary Cinema." First was an interesting look at how students understand representations of HS students, specifically in High School Musical and Mean Girls. I liked the idea quite a bit, and wonder how the previously proclaimed 5 archetypes (Princess, Jock, Nerd, Rebel, Delinquent) have changed over time. Then there was a paper on Julie Taymor's Titus which sadly disappointed me. Not in that it was bad, but in that it didn't necessarily cover aspects which usually fascinate me. Last was a look at Bisexuality in Film, and its fluidity. The first half was pretty intriguing, but as it went on, it seemed to become a list of movies and the characters in them, so I ended up leaving early.

And it's a good thing I did! I headed down to the book room to drop off my Fraggle papers for sale (I think about 8 were sold, which is fairly decent), and ended up winning the Sesame Street raffle for a t-shirt! I also got a furry cookie monster bookmark, and a book promoting the new 40th anniversary book.

The last panel I went to was 1095: "Travel & Tourism I: Local Cuisine for the Tourist." The first paper was very uninteresting to me. The second dealt with the ways in which Forks, Washington has capitalized on Twilight and made meals and tours out of nothing. Then there was an autobiographical bit about a man who moved from South Dakota to New Orleans for college. The final panelist wasn't able to be there, but did send the presentation, which offered a long list of restaurants and reviews for the area. Excellent.

I got Subway for dinner, since I just wanted to get to the hotel and relax.

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