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MLA2008 (was MLA Thus Far)

May 18, 2008

I said I wouldn’t do this, but I’m writing just one off-topic post documenting my MLA* Chicago 2008 experience, with updates:

-Had dinner with fellow OBOS blogger Christine Cupaiuolo (also of PopPolitics), her partner, and my colleague Julie Beauregard at an organic pizza joint called Crust. Had first Great Lakes beer in 8 years. It was an Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.
-Continue to be annoyed that hotel actively trying to attract business and conference travelers has sparse and daily-charge internet access, instead of treating it as another utility. That would be you, Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Co-taught 6-hour CE course (starting at 8am) on clinical knowledge for medical librarianship. Here’s a photo from an attendee of my making a crazy face while talking. Awesome.
-Caught myself in CE thinking, “That must be a unidirectional mic.” This is what happens when your spouse is an audio engineer.
Vendors shove stuff under the hotel doors. Bad vendors!
-Met Brandi Tuttle from Duke.
-Went for a walk to Millenium Park. Saw the Bean.
-MLA Welcome Reception. Wish I’d known there’d be this much free booze and only rabbit food. Met Connie Schardt. Ran into Melissa Ratajeski and Carrie Iwema.
See photo of Brandi, Julie B, and me at the reception. Why yes, that is an “open access” pin I’m wearing.
-Went out with brother-in-law and his fiance to Emerald Loop. Started pouring rain for the walk to hotel. Bought umbrellas at 7/11.
-Got back to hotel after developing unexpected pain in previously operated upon bad knee. Iced. Finally fell asleep. Wake up at 3am and repeat.

7:30am JMLA Editorial Board Meeting. Ow. Yay, Ellen and other awesome members.
-Met Melissa Rethlefsen, Nikki Dettmar, Michelle Kraft (on the escalator!), and Max from Twitter. Have talked to just about everybody I’ve met online previously, just never in “meatspace.”
David Rothman makes balloon animals.
-Learned that red light on video camera makes my brain malfunction.
-“No mathematics before cocktails.” I believe the implication is that we should have cocktails and then do mathematics. Right? Now we’re talking about baby-making. A new glass ceiling, the “boomer @$$ ceiling.” Just asked women born in 1971 or later to stand (includes me) and told us we are statistically likely to spend more time taking care of our mothers than they spent raising us. Not sure of source. Plenary session II (Andrew Zolli) is the most entertaining plenary session ever. Sorry, past speakers. Except maybe Lawrence Lessig in San Diego 03, because that’s hard to compete with.
-Had lunch at Dao Thai.
-Agree with Eric Schnell that best freebie of the weekend was Reynolds Handi-Vac vacuum sealer rather than vendor giveaways. I didn’t collect much conference swag this year because there wasn’t much that was unique or useful.
-I think this was my first MLA in which the business meeting contained numerous bylaw change proposals. I ❤ rules of order.
New JMLA editor will be Susan Starr (announced at the business meeting).
-I spot Nashville medlibs from Meharry while I’m riding up the escalator and moving out of sight. Silly leaning-over sitcom wave while escalator continues upward ensues.
-Saw posters. This was the best-designed poster I saw (click on the PDF link at the bottom). My colleagues’ posters were excellent, of course, but this one really stood out visually. Author Amy Blevins was in the CE course I co-taught yesterday. [Jeff, who won the “cork war” at the “Scrabble party” (whatever that means) was also in the CE.]
-Speaking of posters, look over herefirst poster with the name of yours truly on it.
-Section programming! I really wish they could just record video of all of the sections and post it online, because it’s impossible to attend most of the sections due to their concurrent presentation.
-Library school reunion. Saw photos of Ellen Detlefsen’s lovely family. Met Toni Yancey, who I had missed on a previous tour of medlibs around DC/Baltimore. Also chatted with Rhonda from Weill Cornell’s Myra Mahon Patient Resource Center; hoping to get a tour if I’m New York… Learned that MLA used to not allow “social” special interest groups, so African American Medical Librarians Alliance had to meet off-site in years past (it wasn’t last year or anything, in case the sentence reads that way to you, but still).
-Hit up the Section Shuffle. Joined three MLA sections free for the remainder of the year, which I think was an excellent idea by the section people. Introduced myself to Meredith Solomon, another of the folks I previously only knew “online.” I *think* I signed up for Public Health, Relevant Issues, and Leadership & Management SIGs – it was difficult to choose.
-Chatted about various medlib nerd things with Rothman, Rethlefsen, and Marcus Banks. Hoping Marcus will see this and send me more info on the Librarians Without Borders project.
-Had to skip Bearded Pigs, because my ears were tired. (See: Caring for your Introvert)
-Watched silly movies in the hotel room. Long day.

-Abusing public computers to search for arizona vbac and flagstaff vaginal. Wondering if dude vendors on either side are paying attention. 🙂
-Managed to get in a post for OBOS, on a Flagstaff, AZ hospital possibly banning VBACs entirely.
-Breakfast with David Rothman, who you will all be watching in the first ever Plenary Webcast (if you’re MLA members) on Wednesday. Learned about the Placebo Journal.
Verdict (itinerary): Using Google Calendar to plan my meeting itinerary was much easier than saving and viewing it in the online program planner for the conference.
Verdict II (conference blogging): MLA’s official blog setup didn’t really work for me as a reader. Because wifi was less than ideal, I wasn’t checking RSS feeds, and the bloggers weren’t as prolific as I bet they would have been otherwise. Because the aggregation was of partial rather than full posts and at a site that was *not* the already existing and known MLA2008 blog, it was less intuitive and easy to access and use than it could have been. These were not unpredictable factors.
-Watched The Simpsons Movie while waiting at the airport, because I’m woefully behind on my Netflix queue.
-Developed cold sore sometime between airport and home. At least it wasn’t right before teaching like last time.
Flickr! Rachel-specific flickr, complete with stupid faces and gestures!
Oh yeah, it’s my blog’s three year birthday. 🙂

Note: If I didn’t update with links to your blog but named you here, it’s because I’m not sure that you’re “out” on your blog, or you don’t have one, etc.
*That would be the Medical Library Association.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2008 6:28 pm

    I’m going to MLA tomorrow and this post made me even more excited!

  2. Christine permalink
    May 18, 2008 8:30 pm

    So glad the beer made the highlight list — enjoy the rest of the conference!

  3. May 19, 2008 7:07 pm

    Christine – of course! By the way, I’ll be back in October for a few days for the brother-in-law’s wedding.
    Michelle – excellent! Hope you have a great time.

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