Kalamazoo 2012 – A Few More Tips for First-Timers

01 May

Each of the last 3 days I’ve had 3-5 publisher catalogues in my mailbox which has gotten me thinking about Kalamazoo. Think they know about my little habit? Anyway, between that and Congress being a touch over a week away, I’m feeling inspired. I don’t know if there’s a need for for me to post another First Timers’ Guide for The International Congress on Medieval Studies but I guess I’ll put this up anyway since there are a couple of things I haven’t mentioned before.

For the most part I’m going to refer you to my post from two years ago with a few additions. You may also find some information (not as much) in last year’s post. And as always, for the full meal deal and several hours worth of reading, there’s my Kalamazoo page.

I’m going to add a couple of details. First is about food. I always buy breakfasts and have never in the seven times I’ve attended eaten another meal in the dining hall, though if I ever remember to pack everything I should I may buy a Wednesday evening ticket – why is it that when I fly halfway across the planet I remember everything but when I drive 150 miles I always leave something behind?

Breakfast isn’t bad. It’s not great but IMO it’s edible (I have a car there so trust me, if it was bad I’d put wheels on the road). I’ve always adapted the Purdue dining rule to Western Michigan (surely this is universal?) and grabbed a banana or something on exit in case I don’t have time for lunch. On campus dining options are very limited. You may be at Schneider for a Thursday session, eat at the snack bar there, and think you’re in good shape for the week. No such luck – it isn’t open Friday-Sunday. There aren’t a lot of choices within walking distance off campus either. When I first started attending, Bilbo’s was right next to campus but they moved it downtown. If you didn’t pre-purchase dining hall meal tickets, you can buy them at the dorm office.

There are buses which will take you to different locations for sessions. There’s half an hour between sessions which is plenty of time to get to and fro on foot but it may be raining, mid-80’s(30 C), mid-40’s(7 C) or snowing. I can’t ever recall seeing snow such that it accumulates but I’ve definitely seen flakes flying around. I was lazy last year and took the bus or drove most of the time but unless the weather’s very bad or my leg’s giving me a lot of grief I’m planning to walk it more.

There is Wi-Fi access but only in the public areas, not in the dorm rooms (unless this has changed since last year). I have an air card so it doesn’t bother me but you may need to do a little planning to check e-mail or whatever.

I’ll be driving up Wednesday afternoon and I try to get in by 5 at the latest so I have a little time to relax. Every year I think I may leave early to visit some local wineries and I’ve not yet gotten organized enough to do this. That’s OK – I’m not sure a college dorm room with poor temperature control is the best place to store wine for four days anyway. I don’t buy wine like I do books – now that would be a problem – but on trips I enjoy perusing the local viticulture when I have the time.

As usual, to those attending, I may see some of you there. If it’s your first time and you get confused or lost, ask questions. Everyone there attended for the first time at some point in their lives.


Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Conferences


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7 responses to “Kalamazoo 2012 – A Few More Tips for First-Timers

  1. smuhlberger

    May 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    There may be wifi in some dorms this year. I checked off the box on the reg form that said i wanted it.

  2. Curt Emanuel

    May 2, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Good for them. It was never that big of a deal once I got used to it (and with an air card even less so) but I could see where it might be if you needed to videoconf while there.

    I’m still figuring on the exhibit area getting wired at some point though I’ve pretty much adapted to it as is. After all, it is a Medieval Conf – we could be buying books priced in eggs or goats or something. :)

  3. Apples

    May 4, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Hey Curt, helpful post – thanks! Do you know how late you can check into the dorms? I’m arriving in late on Wednesday (probably around 10pm), and can’t find any info on how late they’ll be handing out registration packs.

  4. Curt Emanuel

    May 4, 2012 at 6:50 am

    The dorm offices are staffed 24/7. I’m reasonably sure registration is the same but not 100% on that. In any case, I know people who’ve gotten in at 2-3 a.m. and never had trouble getting in their rooms so I don’t think you have anything to worry about.

    • Apples

      May 4, 2012 at 6:57 am

      Thanks for the info! Looking forward to it all

  5. Jonathan Jarrett

    May 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Last year, with a certain amount of persistence, I could just about get a wi-fi signal in my dorm room, and I was on the top floor of one of the Valley buildings. In fact that may have helped, not being so deep in the structure. But I don’t think it was intended to be possible, and it certainly wouldn’t have sustained a video-conference, even on a laptop that interacts normally with HTTP (which mine does only very grudgingly). Has anyone mentioned the geese? Oh yes, I did, as you were then :-) I shall be sorry not to be there this year. But next time, who knows?

  6. Curt Emanuel

    May 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Yes, I well remember your mention of the geese, along with your need for carpentry skills and a tea deficit. Actually I was reminded of it last year on a trip to Mexico. We stayed in a multi-family, multi-house walled compound with critters wandering all over the place (the door to our house was a curtain but none of the livestock ever actually entered). Roosters in Central Mexico have a crummy sense of time. I don’t know when they got going the first night but the second night I checked and it was 2:21 a.m. And of course when one crows his brethren have to respond. I had no problem with the mules saluting the break of day but I was seriously antijovial about the birds.

    Sorry to miss you this year but I suppose everyone will soldier on and it’ll mean one less person I have to fight over for books! Hopefully you can get back here before too long and I do intend to make Leeds one day.


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