succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, August 30, 2008

All Day in Decatur!

This weekend is the Decatur Book Festival and I spent 12+ hours indulging in geeking out. First, this morning, I saw Kathy Reichs (and daughter Kerry). Kathy is the forensic anthropologist inspiration for the tv show Bones (based on Reichs's novels). (I was going to link to her website, but it's unbearable. please, someone, redesign with fewer crazy animations!) The two were cute together, and I am further motivated to hunt down Reichs's books in the library.

I spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon hunkered down in a coffee shop getting work done (and trying on dresses. see previous post). Around 2 it was time for "Angels, Fireflies... and Buffy. Writing (About) Good TV" featuring Rhonda Wilcox, one of the editors of Slayage, an online, peer reviewed journal of 'Buffy studies.' Seriously. Although I have to admit that even as a fan, it's hard to take the show that seriously, Wilcox did present a fairly impressive treatment of the episodes where Buffy initially has sex with Angel as a commentary on the kind of 'punishment' certain segments of society want to see meted out to sexually active, unmarried teenagers (and Whedon's lovely feminist-y response to all of that). And the whole Angel turning into Angelus thing as the ultimate representation of the guy who never calls the next morning. Wilcox also makes a valid point that sci-fi/fantasy novels, movies, and tv shows are as much 'about something' as any other genre, but that as soon as vampires or elves or whatever get involved it suddenly stops being legitimate to interpret any other themes that might be present.

Next was Raul Benoit, a journalist who reported on drug cartels and their attempts to infiltrate 'legitimate' government in Columbia and the civil war there, including the role the U.S. has played, which includes trained assassins, some of whom he identifies by name in his book. After surviving two attempts on his life, Benoit eventually had to leave Columbia. His presentation was powerful and moving.

I spent another afternoon interlude making good on my promise to pick up a copy of The Watchmen and meeting up with a couple of friends. The female half of the couple headed off to hear John Dean outline all the ways our government is broken while the male half and I sat through the socially awkward, nerdy duo of Sidney Perkowitz and J.P. Telotte. Neither are the most dynamic of speakers, but their topics of science in science fiction and the current plethora of sci-fi tv shows was attention-holding enough.

We wrapped up the day with dinner at Raging Burrito, where we met another new faculty member. Dinner turned into lovely lingering conversation over drinks, rambling across topics in engineering, education, public health, history, travel, languages, politics, pets, food, and everything in between. The long dinner means I'll have to settle for the work I got done this afternoon and postpone editing my midterm until tomorrow, but that seems like a fair trade for good food and good company.


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