Thursday, May 31st, 2007
NASIG began with the First Timers/Mentoring Reception at 3pm. After a leisurely day, I braced myself to meet my mentee, EL. If you remember from my previous post, EL is a new hire at my first place of employment post-degree. I don’t think either one of us had any idea what to expect. Fortunately, we got along famously, and hung out the rest of the weekend. She has been fully indoctrinated into the world and experience that is NASIG, long days and crazy nights and all the insanity. And yes, she was a willing participant for the entire thing.
After the reception was the Opening Program. The opening always has a few speakers, one to welcome us to the city, and one that addresses the history of the city. This year’s speaker on the city history was Professor Tom Owen. He has a background in ministry, and boy howdy could you hear it. He was a wonderful speaker, engaging, humorous, informative, yet part of me kept expecting him to suddenly say “can I get an Amen.” He’s also a participant in the city government, and had some interesting information about how the city works and it’s efforts to become more bike friendly. He’s a bicyclist himself, having given up his car a while ago. I think that’s awesome. And you could see it walking around the downtown area. They’ve combined bike-friendliness with art, commissioning artists to create bike racks that are actually visually interesting. Why can’t every city do this? You can see one here.
After the Opening, we all walked down Main Street to the Frazier International History Museum for the Reception. There was food, and lots of catching up with friends and colleagues. In addition to opening up the Museum just for us, keeping the exhibits open for us and the Museum also staged a sword fighting demonstration. They two actors were quite good, and explained the different styles and the historical development of sword fighting. It was fascinating. I missed the beginning, but my friend LH explained to me I didn’t miss much, except the stretching and one of the many staged fights. Bummer about missing the stretching…according to LH, the two guys were very thorough.
When we walked in, we were told they’re was also a bit on the beheading of Anne Boleyn, complete with a fake head. Alas, they lied. No fake head. But the interpreter was very good, telling the story from the point of view of one of Anne’s ladies in waiting, and remaining in character the whole time.
The reception ended rather early by conference night standards, so a group of us wandered back down to 4th Street Live and crammed into a booth at The Pub for some more catching up. We still had an early night, as Friday would be starting early, but it was so great to see people and visit more over a few pints. We all do talk between conferences, but e-mail and phone calls are no substitute for face to face conversation. We spend so much time together at conferences, but they can be so far apart sometimes. Many of my friends I hadn’t seen since last year’s NASIG, or most recently in January at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. So it was awesome to sit and talk and hear what was going on in people’s lives. I wish we all lived closer to each other, except I’d never get any sleep.