Thursday, April 3, 2008

CCCC '08 New Orleans - Day 2

I was a very busy person today. Or at least it seemed so at the time, and looking back I feel I didn't do as much as I thought I did. I had agreed to do some reviewing for KAIROS, so I picked up some information from the guy who was in charge of handing out said information to volunteers, and was on my merry way. I went first to a session at the Computer Connection, which turned out to be very interesting: "Low-Stakes Writing with WordPress Blogs," in which the presented discussed how he used blogs in his classroom, and the problems and benefits he encountered. (I'll be writing up a review of this session so I don't want to repeat myself.) What was especially helpful, though, was that he included in his handouts the URL to his own spring semester assignment, as well a study of blogs being used in post-secondary education.

I got a chance to walk around the Exhibit Hall for a little while, but I couldn't muster too much enthusiasm, so I walked over to the Riverwalk Marketplace in search of lunch, but I got distracted by the beignets and cafe au lait from Cafe du Monde. I get the impression that it's a thing down here, and it was on my list of places to find, so I munched happily before heading off to Patricia's session, in which she spoke about her experiences working with the South African universities' writing centers and tutor training.

I met up with Meridith at this point at the next session: "Changing Writing Assessment: Building Active Collaboration among High Schools and 2-Year and 4-Year Colleges." This one turned out to be unexpectedly interesting (I had been planning on going to a different session but decided to tag along with Meridith instead.) English teachers from different levels had been collaborating to improve their students' writing, with some interesting results. I got some good handouts and was glad I went. (This is the short version, of course.)

Jessica, the doctoral student from St. John's I had met yesterday, was giving her presentation today, so I went to her session and stayed for that. She did well, and had taken much of Harry's advice. I didn't stay for the other two presentations, opting to go back to my hotel and nap for a little while, since I was really tired and hadn't slept well the night before (and had to be up fairly early).

I slept so long - well, only an hour and a half, perhaps - that I managed to miss the Special Interest Groups (SIGs), which I was partially unhappy about since there were two or three I wanted to go to, but not amazingly disappointed, since I was so tired. I probably should have gone back to the conference in the evening, but instead I opted for trying to find dinner in the French Quarter. Let me tell you - beignets, as a food group and as a meal are wonderful, but sustain you through the day, they do not. Even though I had found two places to try for dinner, the first place was too busy, but the second choice, Petunia's, was a very quiet place a block off Bourbon Street.

Although crepes seemed to be their speciality, or at least a large part of their menu, I opted for the deep fried crab fingers appetizer, which were pretty darn tasty; and for the entree, fried catfish, which was gorgeous, with fried okra, which was amazing, and some of the best tartar sauce I've ever had. (I didn't even get to the red stuff.) I think the tartar sauce may have had dill in it, I'm not sure, but it was fabulous. (Stupid superlatives.) The ladies at the next table ordered a dessert that was delivered literally aflame: The Flaming Dame Nellie Melba Crepe (sliced peaches, vanilla ice cream, and a raspberry brandy sauce that apparently "delighted the famous opera diva"; this is the lady for whom peach Melba was created). And it was huge! These two ladies had opted to split the dessert, but half of it was still left, so they offered the remainder to both me and a gentleman who was also dining alone. I'm not a big fan of peaches, but boy, it hit the spot. And I was glad to have tried it, because I was stuffed from dinner, but curious about their crepes and had wanted to try just a small amount of one.

None of this was healthy in the slightest, and there was a lot of it - so much so that I took about half the catfish and perhaps 2/3 the okra back the hotel with me.  But it was a fantastic dinner, and friendly service, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

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