Tuesday, April 09, 2002

I just got back from Oslo, where I have seen Jill, Hilde, Janne, Ragnhild, Anita, Anders, Espen and a lot of other people I have never mentioned to you out there, like Ingunn Hagen and Per Hetland, two of my favourite people in Academia.

I am exhausted, but happy. The presentation went much better than expected. Jill and I met Sunday evening, around 10 pm, sketching a plan. In the morning, over breakfast, I typed it into my lap-top and copied it to a floppy, gleefully reminding Jill that there are things her imac can’t do. At the Research Park we strained the skills and (amazing) patience of Andrew Morrison and his competent staff, but they delivered. Ten minutes before the presentations started up again, we were pasting the morning’s comments into blogonblog and linking them. As the next session started, Jill discovered that her lipstick and jacket were still on the table up front, and I had to hold her to her chair by force, promising her I’d distract the audience while she applied lipstick.

Hilde and Helen were on before us, they were great: serious, competent and organised in the way female researchers often are, upholding the tradition of having to be twice as good as men to be heard by half the number of people. (note on the organisation: after lunch there were no male presenters but those who were in groups: Andrew and Anders. The audience was halved, and the “power-attendants” were gone. It was embarrassingly familiar.)

Finally we were on. By now we had worked each other into a giggling, adrenaline-fuelled frenzy. We still had no idea what to say. While the group before us were speaking of dance, I wrote the introduction paragraph: how to start the entire presentation. Jill nodded. We were on.

The next 15 minutes were kind of blurry. Reading Anders’ comments afterwards was very interesting. Yes, we had coordinated our outfits, in this manner: Torill: “My clothes don’t fit me anymore, and I went shopping for something to wear for the conference… but I am freezing to death!” Jill: “you look great! Do we have time for me to run and change? I want to match you. After all, I am lugging my entire wardrobe around!” Torill: “sure, I’ll be finishing this list of keywords anyway.” Looking at Anders’ interpretation of this spontaneous act of coordination, I realise that the next time we do something together we have to go for a serious shopping-trip as well as get a choreographer if we are planning to top this.

My duties were not done with the presentation though. I had, not entirely certain that it was a clever move, agreed to give a speech at the dinner. I hate doing that, but I agreed out of principle – I prefer people to say yes when I ask for favours, so I acted accordingly. How that went? Well – I think it went OK.

So that’s it. After floating on a cloud of nervous energy fed in a loop between Jill and me since Sunday night, I landed with a crash this morning. Now I am at home, in front of the wonderful view from the living-room, waiting for the connection to the internet to kick back in. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so critical of the EU vision of the future European net: mainly more bandwidth and a more reliable internet, where I was hoping for user-research to see how people actually use the fairly functional network already existing.

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