It is my current theory that each person contains within themselves a finite limit of focus, and once that limit has been exhausted, they are doomed to flit helplessly from task to task, until events resolve themselves out of pity. At least, that's what I surmise is the case given the last few days and my work on the paper for this Ottawa conference. Readers of the blog are painfully aware of the research effort I put into the game, and if you haven't caught up on that experience, I suggest you go here for a recap. In all, I put together 200 pages of notes, transcripts, and musing, amassing the last 40 pages of it in a single day. And then I spent three days with the attention span of a gnat.
For a sample of my mental state, here's a conversation that happened between me and my roommate last night:
Me: What's that word for when you put together a lot of information, and then compile it all in one place?
Me: Oh wait. It's compile. The word is compile. (I stare at him for a few seconds, then amble off.)
The paper, all 10 pages of it, is written, though I have to confess that wasn't much of a feat--between my comp exam last year, the Stiegler files, and the game play, all of the research had been done long ago--all I had to do was stay focused long enough to put it all down on paper, and frankly, that was enough of a challenge. I also put together a slide show, which is really more of a collection of backgrounds to add some flavor to my script than anything especially relevant to my discussion. Ah well. I plan to read through it tomorrow for time and clarity, then print off the final draft.
Other preparations for the trip seem to be going smoothly. My Ipod is updated with a selection of audiobooks for road travel (David Sedaris, Gene Wolfe, and Charlaine Harris, because I enjoy being eclectic), my memory stick has a copy of the paper as well as a movie or two just in case, I've got a set of snacks for the road, and I've picked out my five books. (Previous trips have determined that my own piece of mind requires me to bring a minimum of five books on any trip over 24 hours, to ensure peace of mind.)
I've got to print off choice parts of google maps tomorrow along with the paper, as well as a few phone numbers and a schedule of the conference. The drive up is set, and I've got tentative plans to meet up with at least one person I want to check in on during the stay. The only thing that hasn't been confirmed quite yet is my sleeping arrangements, and hopefully the kink in that will be worked out soon. (He said, fearing the worst with every 64 inches of his body.) Internet access during the trip may be rather sporadic, so don't expect much in terms of updating here till I get back next Monday. To that end, I've decided to do my Friday Quotations ahead of time, on the basis that I can if I want to, so there.
I'm a bit of a homebody (understatement), so the idea of any amount of traveling makes me uneasy (also understatement). Combine this with the uncertainty about where I'm staying and the general anxiety towards presenting a paper, and I am a bundle of nerves. Hell, I'm a whole ganglion. Wish me well, everyone.
*UPDATE* sleeping sitch solved. Which is good, because it means I can rechannel my worrying powers to meeting new people and not looking too nervous--which only makes me look MORE nervous!