Congratulate me, I've learned something about myself. I've realised that when reading a conference call for submissions, I get super excited and motivated to produce something awesome, clever, interesting, and manageable. It always sounds manageable. Then, eventually (since sometimes the call for papers goes out almost a full year before the conference is scheduled to occur), I work myself up into a mouth-foaming frenzy of self-hatred, experiencing the confidence level of an eight-year-old with a bed-wetting problem on his/her first sleepover. Awww yikes.
Essentially, I fret about the paper or presentation without doing much work on it for weeks and weeks, setting myself up for the inevitable 4AM writing session the day before the conference, or in this case, the day before we leave for the road trip to the conference.
I organised a panel to present at the American Association of Geographers meeting for their annual get-together in San Francisco, April 16th-21st this year. Yep, organized the whole panel. There are five of us from my department going down to strut our stuff, hopefully attracting some attention to the department and also generally going for a good time. The AAG Annual Meeting is massive - last year they had nearly 4000 attendees. I've sabotaged myself again this time around and have completely revised the entire topic of my presentation from the abstract I submitted last November. I am confident about one thing, that almost no one will show up to attend our panel. We're a group of nobodies with no big names to get bums in seats and we're not affiliated with any of the sub groups because we didn't fully understand the system when the panel was being submitted.
There are two big honchos that will be attending/presenting at other conference sessions, and since I want to chat with them professionally, I've had to contact them ahead of time to let them know I'll be there and to schedule a time to meet. Since I was able to look them up in the directory of presenters, they could certainly do the same to me. Would they choose to attend a lowly presentation like our panel when they have at least 10 other choices in that time slot? Probably not. But damn, knowing my luck...
Anyways, we leave at the crack of dawn on Sunday in a rented minivan. The road trip is going to be great fun, but I sure hope I'm not desperately charging my laptop at every gas station just to be able to fiddle with the PowerPoint presentation some more. I wanted to have it all done by tonight to give me time to revise, rethink, etc. Does anyone actually do that? Seriously? Who are you people?
One final note: if anyone has any tips of what to see/do around SF, please fill me in. In the pressure-cooker of trying to get the paper finished, I haven't given much time to researching San Francisco. Besides Alcatraz, what else is not to be missed?