welcome to the conferencezone

amy posted this August 5th, 2011 | filed under: conference-y, ilovemyjob, innovation, inspire me!, moi, presenting, ranting, revolution | 3 comments »

i had a really busy spring. it was both awesome, and exhausting. (errrr, i’m still trying to catch up. sorry if you’re still waiting to hear from me.)

i attended 10 conferences in 12 weeks. wait, WHUT? (plus, at some point in there, i want on a truly awesome west coast roadtrip with kendrak and megvmeg for 9 days. i think it was between CNI and CREPUQ, but i can’t really be sure.)

at some of these conferences i spoke at (one i did precon, gaming night, panel presentation, AND postcon), others i just got to learn about fun things, and one i was on the organizing committee.

here are the gory details:

  • computers in libraries – washington, dc – march 20-24 – presented
  • CNI spring meeting – san diego, ca – april 4-5 – learned
  • CREPUQ technologies mobiles – trois rivières, qc – may 6 – presented
  • IMLS workshop on library-based publishing – salt lake city, ut – may 11-13 – presented
  • canadian library association – halifax, ns – may 28-29 (lost the badge!) – presented
  • THATcamp prime – fairfax, va – june 3-5 – presented/learned (it’s a camp, you do both!)
  • curatecamp – austin, tx, june 6 – learned (HI DECLAN – remember how hot it was?)
  • open repositories – austin, tx – june 8-10 – learned (MORE HI DECLAN – remember bbq?)
  • special libraries association – philadelphia, pa – june 10-15 – organized/presented
  • tedXlibrarians – toronto, on – june 25 – presented

please note: before the haters come out… a number of these i covered on my own dime because i just wanted to go to them, and there’s no reason mpow has to send me to just anything i want to go to. also, dates may not be actual conference dates – for many i did precons, postcons, or had a metric tonne of meetings. and i had to say hi to declan because he got all cranky last week about not being in any of my #libday7 posts and yelled at me on the twittermachine.

i learned a lot about libraryland, awesome new services i want to try out at mpow, and how to bring the revolution. but what i want to share right now, is what i learned about conferencing.

things i now know

  1. NEXUS PASSES ARE THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE. at YUL it means a quick security line as well as speedy customs line, both filled with people who are used to traveling so are hyper-efficient at getting through the line. (no, lady. you can’t bring a litre of moisturizer in your carry on.) if only YYZ had a NEXUS line for security if you’re connecting. seriously? grrrrr. the pass is well worth the 50$ (lasts 5 years).
  2. having a sippy cup that seals completely, like this one, is one of the best things to travel with. coffee, water, bourbon… whatever ya got, you can take it with you. you can run out of your hotel room and rush to the first session (i am never late in the morning. nope, not never) with coffee in hand.
    a sippy cup, and baby wipes. because everyone who travels is gross and covered in germs and half of them should probably be wearing hazmat suits. plus, when you forget to seal the package properly and they dry out, you can at least use’em as kleenexes.
  3. how to pack for 3 back-to-back conferences and two weeks of travel in only a wee-bit-too-big-for-carry-on suitcase. lean towards underpacking (you can always run into an old navy and pick up a shirt after spilling tomato soup down the front of yourself – not that i ever had to do that) and two pairs of shoes max in your luggage. you can do it.
    also, how to do laundry in a hotel. (many thanks to the awesome front desk staff in philly who not only gave me free soap, but gave me change when i didn’t have any, because “hon, we know you don’t want to be doing laundry while you’re staying in a hotel.”)
  4. my passport number, by memory.
  5. before arriving, map the nearest grocery store to the hotel. and the nearest liquor store.
  6. if you’re in a hot place (HELLO AUSTIN) brew some coffee at night and put it in the frigo for the morning so you can still get a jolt of caffeine but not be drinking something hot in 104F weather.
  7. that 104F = 40C. which is WAY TOO HOT to do anything other than be in a pool with a lone star in your hand. (i tried to have that be a session at curatecamp, but they didn’t go for it.) (cuz then giarlo woulda had to do a cannonball.)
  8. mexican martinis are brutal. trust me on this one. there is no need for more than one. and after drinking them, you should never cap off the night with shots of cheap tequila.
  9. always travel with acetaminophen and antacid. (possibly related to my previous point. you’ll never know.)
  10. having a conference buddy is great. i didn’t have a partner-in-crime for a few this spring, and on occasion found myself thinking “stranger danger” at receptions and wanting to run back to my room to watch bad tv and eat ice cream. if there’s someone that you keep bumping into at conferences and you really gel with, do it.
  11. whenever possible, try and do something non-conferencey to stay sane. visit friends in town, go to a museum, play hooky from a social event to just chillax.
  12. eat fruits and veggies whenever they cross your path. when in the conferencezone it won’t happen often, so just do it. it also helps to have awesome vegan friends who take you to fantastic restos once you have eaten nothing but texas bbq for a week straight. (for the record, i was quite happy eating texas bbq for a week straight. salt lick and ruby’s. yes.)
  13. in the “whenever you can” vein, if you’re doing back-to-back conferences, nap whenever the opportunity arises. it’s okay to skip the networking breakfast for a bit of a lie-in, and if there is really no session that floats your boat, and no colleagues you want to hang with during that time, go decompress in your room for a bit. you won’t learn anything if you’re zonked.
  14. montréal, je t’aime. (i knew this already, but home is so good, it deserves a mention.)

3 Comments on “welcome to the conferencezone”

  1. 1 Declan said at 9:24 am on August 5th, 2011:

    ALMOST enuf Declan in this post. 😉

  2. 2 gen said at 8:54 pm on August 6th, 2011:

    Holy crap, Batman! 10 conferences in 12 weeks?! I’m going to cry in a corner now.

  3. 3 Connie Crosby said at 12:20 am on August 9th, 2011:

    I’m not sure, but I may have done about the same number, with only one overlapping with you (SLA). I haven’t stopped to count them all. It was a ton of fun, and I learned a lot, but am now completely exhausted.

    Best take-away: take plain packaged oatmeal for breakfasts to help avoid the bad pastry-laden conference breakfasts and fat-laden (+ expensive) hotel breakfasts. Add raisins and pepitos (green pumpkin seeds) for flavour and protein. Make with coffee maker in the room.

    Pro-tip 1: claim the oatmeal when crossing the border so you don’t get busted by saying “no food.” Honesty is the best policy.

    Pro-tip 2: be sure there is no coffee filter in the coffee maker before making your oatmeal. Unless you like coffee flavoured oatmeal (it’s actually not *too* bad).

    Cheers,
    Connie


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