Monthly Archives: March 2012

Hi, all,

Just two days before convention and I am packing up.  Just a couple of updates:

1.  Sharyn McCrumb will have SIX titles available for sale and signing Thur at registration and right after her speech:  St. Dale (about the Daytona 500 and its patron saint); She Walks These Hills and The Ballad about Frankie Silver (with story lines taken from history and Appalachian ballads); Ghost Riders (about the War Between the States and Zebulon Vance); and her latest, The Ballad of Tom Dooley.  I love them all.  Being a Tennessee-Carolina girl, I love Frankie Silver and She Walks These Hills.  I have heard these “stories” growing up and they used to scare the daylights out of me; the music, of course, is haunting.  TOM DOOLEY, everybody my age remembers, was popularized as a song by the Kingston Trio.  I could not put it down–staying up half the night to finish.  Sharyn has created a real monster, a misfit sociopath in one character, but I don’t want to give too much away.  How she has constructed St. Dale is something only a SMART, AX-type could do!  Anyway, bring your own copies for buy them at the convention.

2.  Susan Fillion, our speaker on Friday morning, has written an exciting narrative about art history.  She traces how Baltimore Museum of Art has come to own so many works of Matisse and other impressionists.  The story itself is fascinating and it really goes to show that what your mother said was true:  it never hurts to be nice to people.  You never know when one might turn out to be the next Matisse.  She will have copies as well and some of you may want to explore the museum while you are in Baltimore.

3.  Our literacy service project:  SOOOOO bring your books to the Registration desk on THUR.  Two RIF staff, Nikki and Kathryn, will be there collect them.  We need a little help plating the books, so if you have 15minutes to help us, we’d appreciate it.  We ALSO have some books to sell if you decided to buy on site.  Our books are $4.00 each.  MOBILE and BRIDGEWATER, we have yours!  Our Lipscomb friends will take pictures of the project itself. 18 of us will be in pre-k-2nd grade classes at Inner Harbor Academy. We’ll do a read-aloud and a motivational activity and end with a book distribution.  Last year we donated about 1000 books!!  Only one poor child in 300 owns a book, so this is a good thing AX is doing!  Should be a wonderful experience!


 To enhance everyone’s convention experience this year, we’re encouraging all delegates to observe the following “rules” of convention etiquette:
* Enter and leave a presentation room only during the 3-minute break between presentations; if a discussion period follows a presentation, you may leave at that time in order to get to a presentation in another room.
* Even though the doors should be closed during each presentation, while waiting outside a room for the next presentation or walking past a session in progress, be as quiet as possible.
* If you are a presenter:
   — Regardless of your place in the section, arrive a couple of minutes before the start of the section and identify yourself to the faculty presider.
   — Stay within the 12-minute time limit for your presentation. You will be cut off if you do not.
   — As a courtesy to your fellow students, plan to be present for the other presentations in your section.
   — Because this a professional academic setting, you’ll find that most presenters will wear professional attire.
   — Also, be prepared in case of technical problems with equipment; have a backup plan that will allow you to proceed if the technology fails.
 *Lastly, be a patient and pleasant audience member. 85% of the student delegates you’ll meet this week are on the program.

The extremely helpful concierge gave me a full page of restaurants within walking distance (and another page of places within a mile or so — definitely within walking distance for college students.  In fact, it is probably a good idea to walk the half mile to Little Italy so you can take advantage of all the pasta.)

Here are some — in no particular order.

At Harborplace (remember that’s attached by a skywalk to our hotel) besides the usual suspects like McDonald’s and Starbucks, there is Cheesecake Factory, Edo Sushi, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, La Tasca, Lenny Deli, M & S Grill, Oasis, Tir Na Nog Irish Restaurant and Pub, and Uno Chicago Grill.

Let me mention also — Sullivan’s, right next door, great steak house; Miss Shirley’s, a phenomenal breakfast place, ask anyone on the convention committee; McCormick & Schmick’s (an upscale chain, but good seafood, even in a town famous for it); anything in Little Italy, especially Chiapparelli’s or Sabatino’s; Bertha’s, in the funky, fun Fells Point area, a cross between a tourist attraction and a great seafood restaurant; Obrycki’s Crab House, 1727 E. Pratt St., a Baltimore institution; Uncle Lee’s Chinese; Samos, a little further, authentic neighborhood Greek, 600 S. Oldham St.; the Hard Rock Cafe you can see from the hotel; the Power House places for food and music, and, of course, the James Joyce Pub on President St.

See you soon — I’ll be the one with a fork in my hand.

A little over one week until the Star-Spangled Convention!  Today I’d like to mention things to see right around the Inner Harbor.

1. Harborplace and Gallery — An upscale, 2 story mall, with lots shopping (don’t miss the Best of Baltimore shop), many food stands and restaurants (you MUST have a crabcake in Baltimore), and many forms of entertainment, from spontaneous “street” performances to a wide variety of nightlife.  Best of all, it’s attached to the Hyatt by a skybridge.

2. The National Aquarium — That’s National as in U.S.A. The Aquarium is huge and has many examples of sea life that you can’t see anywhere else.

3. The Maryland Science Center — March 23 is the last Friday after Five, $8 adission from 5 to 8 p.m., includes IMAX, planetarium, live science, and all the exhibits.

4. Historic Ships in Baltimore — These ring the harbor, from the Hyatt to the Aquarium.  the ships you can visit include the U.S.S. Constellation, a WWII submarine, and a Coast Guard Cutter.

These are all directly on the harbor. You can squeeze at least one of these in between registration and dinner.  Another activity is just to ride the Charm City Circulator, a free shuttle that loops the area and is a good way to get an overview.

It is 4:30 here, and I am getting hungary, so tomorrow I will probably give some restaurant suggestions.

See you very soon!


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