Friday, August 18, 2006

so, how did your talks in montreal go?

(photo by eszter-the-super-presider during my first talk)

I ended up only getting two hours of sleep before my back-to-back ASA talks last Friday. The first went all right, and, unlike one of the other members of my session, I didn't have the interesting distraction during my talk of a relatively-prominent-for-his-area sociologist using the occasion of my speaking to walk down the aisles handing out advertisements for a book he'd written.

The second talk went less well because of some AV problems that knocked me out of my comfort zone and into my far less engaging, um-ful zone. The problem was that I offered my computer to everyone to use during the session, but then I stepped out to use the restroom before the session began. Never leave your laptop alone in the hands of strangers. I came back to see them fiddling with my computer, and soon thereafter my screen turned blue with an error message that I had never seen before. Most of the two talks before mine were spent trying to get my machine to successfully reboot, which took three tries, during which I was planning the histrionic apology I would have needed to deliver to my collaborator had I been unable to present.

I was also the presider over a session the last day of the conference. I get anxious when I am the presider because I do not want to be one of those presiders who mismanages time in their session and ends up running long or cheating the last speaker out of time. Eszter is such a disciplinarian about this that she actually brought pre-printed signs to her session to show to speakers when they had 5 minutes and 2 minutes left. Me, I was glad there were napkins on the panel's table:


Brayden said...

A presider at a session I attended in Atlanta had an unfortunate time-management method. When the speaker approached three minutes, the presider waved three fingers frantically in the air for a few seconds, which the speaker may have missed if he or she were looking in the opposite direction. When the speaker reached the end of the time allotment, the speaker abruptly cut her off by shouting out, "That's enough!". The first speaker was actually cut off in mid-sentence. I felt sort of embarassed for everyone involved.

Corey said...

At this year's ASA, I had the pleasure (eyes rolling) of being the seventh paper of seven papers. My session was scheduled to end at 6:00 p.m. on Friday evening. I started talking at 6:05 to the four people still in the room. Needless to say, I didn't cover much of the actual paper.

I will not submit a paper to the Drugs & Alcohol Section again.

Sarahliz said...

I kept seeing you in the open area of the conference center. I contemplated coming over and saying hi but you were always talking to other people and I was afraid I'd look really stupid coming over and saying "I hate to interrupt but I read your blog and wanted to introduce myself."

jeremy said...

Brayden: That's the kind of horror story that drives me to despair about the proportion of freaks in our discipline.

Corey: Ugh. Sorry to hear about that.

Sarahliz: Also, sorry to hear about that--I wish you had stopped and said hello.

brady said...

I was at this conference last year where the official method of letting people know they had 5 minutes left was ringing a small bell.

Oddly, not a conference on Pavlov.

Anonymous said...

Should I name the person whose fingers were on the keyboard when it bluescreened? No, that would be mean. Okay, it was Randy Collins.

PS Not really.

Jeff said... could be the discussant whose second-rate comments chew up more time than the presenters themselves.

That's the one I could've done without.

I too resisted introduction at the UWM suare with the tasty free wine. Thanks UWM!

Anonymous said...

Jeff, what's a suare. Did you mean soiree?

jeremy said...

Jeff: UWM is the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Some UW people get even more testy about this than the spelling of soiree. In any case, I saw you at the UW party but didn't realize I knew you until later. At the time, someone pointed to you and the person you were with and asked if I knew you. "No," I said, "but they don't look like they're Wisconsin."