Post-Long Beach

The trip to the Queen Mary for the SWAA Conference and Annual Meeting was wonderful. Basically, standing in for my vacation this year it was nice to simply attend as a member of the Executive Board and not have to worry about presenting a paper or participating on a panel.

That said, my son Nikolas and my friend Erin Renn, were both presenting their first academic conference papers, this year. Nikolas is a sophomore at Fresno City College (one of the few community college students presenting, this year), and Erin is a colleague (she currently teaches at Clovis Community College Center and Fresno State, and will start working toward her Ph.D. at UC Merced, in the Fall of 2015).

Nikolas presented a very well organized, researched, and supported paper covering the history of the horror narrative and the on-line community that has coalesced around several sites known as CreepyPasta. He held his own against grad students, independent researchers, and professors, both in content and presentation. He should be very proud of his accomplishment. Few 20 year-old community college students are able to do what he did (and, that’s not just a proud father bragging). He got excellent feedback and support from many participants. He now wants to get the paper ready for submission to the proceedings.

Erin also presented an excellently prepared paper on some of the most preliminary findings of the research she intends to pursue toward her Ph.D. In some ways, she had a much more difficult time with the actual panel, as her early-morning time slot (to which her panel had been moved between the preliminary and final versions of the program) was missing half of the presenters. It did allow for a robust question and answer period, however.

Kudos, to both of them.

We were able to spend part of Saturday with my dear friend and colleague, Elvia Rodriguez, Ph.D., from UC Riverside. In various combinations we lunched, knocked around the ship, toured a Russian submarine, and attended the banquet. There are few people whose company I enjoy more, so it was a rare treat to spend that much time with Elvia. We discussed her forthcoming move to the San Joaquin Valley and beginning her teaching career at Fresno State (where she’s scheduled to teach California Immigration, in Fall 2015) and hopefully other schools in the area (she has one interview scheduled, but I don’t want to jinx it by giving away too much detail).

Sunday, we spent part of the day in Westwood strolling around the village and the UCLA campus. My westside homesickness kicked in and I probably bored Erin with stories of our earlier life in and around the campus. Nik twisted his foot when we left the Queen Mary, so we cut our trip short (we missed the trip to Sta Monica’s 3rd Street and the SM Pier), but it was — all in all — a wonderful 4-day weekend.


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