conference sickness = fail

As I wrote about last week, last weekend I attended the Georgetown University Round Table conference. The conference had an excellent lineup of plenary speakers, and I will be writing a blog post about the plenaries a little bit later. I’m slow getting this out because I’ve been suffering from an awful sinus infection that attacked me during the conference.

I was actually in the middle of presenting some of my latest research work on multimodality in World of Warcraft when I felt it hit. A room full of people, video camera running… I think I covered pretty well. But right after, the tension headache came on, the throat constricted, the sinus pressure built up — it was like the infection was just laying in wait, anticipating my talk, waiting for the stress of giving a presentation to lift so that it could jump in and disturb the rest of my conference experience.

Even though I had to retire to the hotel room early every night because of feeling like death, and sedate myself using my colleague’s tension headache pills, I managed to take in all of the conference with only a few coughing fits. Getting sick at conferences really sucks, because you know that you want to take in everyone’s amazing research, but you also know that having someone in your audience coughing their brains out is totally awkward.

I did get to hear some of the founders of my field speak — Susan Herring, Crispin Thurlow, Jannis Androutsopoulos, and Naomi Baron — and even got the chance, for the first time, to hear a talk by one of the most well-known linguists, Deborah Tannen. I even got the chance to have a face-to-face chat with Naomi Baron, whose work was the first I ever read in the field of computer-mediated communication.

Anyway, once I’m a bit more lucid, I’ll make another update about the conference, but for now I’m going to continue my quest for a cough suppressant that actually works.


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