Kalamazoo Recap

OK, so I have lots to catch up on, but I’ll limit myself to just a chat about my Kalamazoo presenting experience.

This was the first year I’ve presented at Kalamazoo. While I’ve presented a number of times elsewhere and most of you know I have no problems speaking in front of people, I was very nervous about this for two reasons.

One, when I did a dry run of this paper for people here at Mizzou, it flopped. I think it flopped mostly because I did not grasp the soul of the paper and threw too much at the dartboard. The paper, which covered the military manpower requirements of Cheshire, initially included too much of the ancillary supporting evidence that really made the paper longer and more confusing than it needed to be. I was refining it consistently for the three weeks between the dress rehearsal and the presentation, and I knew it was significantly better, but I still was nervous when the time came.

Two, this was the biggest pond I’ve presented in, and I wanted to make a good showing for Kelly DeVries, Steve Muhlberger, Cliff Rogers and a bunch of the other big names in De Re Militari, the medieval military history organization. It seems that I succeeded on this goal as evidenced by these two blog entries:

Furthermore, I had two great successes that helped my presence in that community. One, I ended up being the only presenter in my session meaning the presider asked me to speak as long as I could. This meant that I included a goodly amount of stuff that I had weeded out for speed , especially breaking down some of the thoughts behind some of my decisions. It also meant that I had plenty of time for questions, and in all, I took up about 50-55 minutes of the allotted time. I had a number of people compliment me on that simple fact.

Most importantly, I received a lot of validation for my dissertation methods. As mom said, I’m using the mathematical technique that says “let’s assume x is true,” what can we then theorize or deduce. This is not a technique I’ve seen all that much in history, but with the paucity of sources there is not much else to do to push forward the research of Mercian logistics. I had a number of people congratulate me on coming up with an innovative way to move forward, and they completely validated the concept.

I’m more excited about the dissertation now than ever, and of course, that makes it so much easier to work on.

Anyway, there’s been lots more stuff to talk about, but right now I need to get back to what I was doing.

That one is looooong gone

I once had a job that was a terrible fit. Those nine months of being a round peg in a square hole were ended when they fired me because I had been to a science-fiction convention and LucasFilm required all employees of printers putting out Episode I posters to sign that they were not involved in any science fiction fandom. It was a convenient excuse for both parties to move on, really.

However, during that time I was able to listen to a lot of baseball online. At one point, you could listen to every radio feed for free and I got a chance to listen to quite a few famous announcers I really hadn’t listened to before.

Including Ernie Harwell, who passed away yesterday.

I had a lot to say about him, actually, as a guy who loves baseball. However, Joe Posnanski wrote something better than I ever could, and I encourage you to read it here: http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/05/04/rip-ernie-harwell/