I have attended nine panels. I have filled 2/3 of my little notebook with illegible scrawlings. Of those nine panels I have fulfilled my promise to write about them once. Not quite the sterling track record. The problem with writing about the past panels is that attending others cuts into whatever time you would have to write about them. So I think I may save the panel talk until things quiet down. (Given all the conversations I've had in DC about blogs escaping the fury of the news-cycle, there's something odd about feeling like I've let people down for not keeping up with the MLA's furious pace.)
In the meantime I'll sketch my silly assumptions about the people I've met.
The Following People Now Officially Exist:
John Holbo, Belle Waring, Amardeep Singh, Sean McCann, Matt Greenfield, Mark Bauerlein, Scott McLemee, Jennifer Howard, Scott Jaschik, Michael Bérubé, Clancy Ratliff, Ken Warren, The Anonymous Woman and That Kevin Spacey Guy.
Things You Would/Would Not Expect About Some of These People:
Holbo speaks softly and deliberately. Bérubé's mouth can barely keep pace with his mind. Given that they both have a reputation for squeezing insanely long posts into "free time" which doesn't exist, I though Holbo would've sounded like more Bérubé. Granted, I haven't seen either type. For all I know Bérubé may hunt-and-peck while John burns through three keyboards a year.
Clancy Ratliff has a slight Southern accent. It only cropped up once or twice during her panel but I know I heard one. When I did I thought to myself "She doesn't write like someone with a Southern accent." Then I wondered if I did. Then I resumed paying attention to her presentation. (Her panel may be the first one I blog about later. It dovetailed beautifully with the conversations John and I have had with each other, the other Valve contributors and complete strangers.)
Irrational Assumptions Proved Untrue:
Amardeep has "bug eyes." Why did I think that? Because an Amardeep I went to middle school with had some serious thyroid condition which caused his eyes to swell out of their sockets. He was "encouraged" to wear sunglasses in the classroom. I am happy to report that our Amardeep does not have "bug eyes." His thyroid seems to be in perfect working order.
Scott McLemee is very tall. Because he writes like a tall person. But he is of average height. (John told me he had the opposite experience with Henry Farrell. He assumed Henry would be of average height when in truth he is a giant.)
Matt Greenfield is a person of average height. He is very tall.
Jennifer Howard is a person of average height. She too is very tall. I also thought she would be the stereotypically fresh-faced beat reporter. This assumption deserves a cateory of its own because that's exactly what she looks like. She claims to be much older and a mother of two but I don't buy it.
Ken Warren is old. This assumption also deserves a category of its own because Warren claims to be as old as I thought he would be. According to him, two of his children have already graduated from college. My first thought was that he must've adopted two high school seniors when he was 24. I look older than him (esp. right now).
You see where this is headed: I think tall people write one way and short people another. Why on earth would I think that? What verbal cues do I pick up (or, given the accuracy of my estimations, most likely invent) which would indicate how short or tall a blogger is? (In my defense I did correctly suss the height of Miriam B. But she calls her blog "The Little Professor" so that might be cheating.) I don't remember ever discussing things which would give me a fair estimate of their height. So what gives?