>Melbourne AA Meetup – AAI 2 conference – 29 June 2007

>I want to do a conference write-up, but that may have to come later. For now, here’s an AA meetup report on the event that coincided with the second night of AAI 2:

Tom had suggested Nyonya Malaysian as the venue for our next Melbourne meetup and, even though I always have a hankering for pasta when I find mysel find Lygon Street, it sounded like a good bet. Dean and Jac had reconnoitered the restaurant after their postgrad workshop on the Wednesday – such dedicated sorts – and reported that the food was good and the space cosy.

On the night, we walked in to find two sets of tables: one made up of two large rounds and the other of two small rectangles. We spread ourselves across the room and, after much perusing of the menu (and my fending off offers of wine), I think our group managed to do a fine job of emptying the kitchen of all its wares. Because I was at a different set of tables, I can’t report on what debauchery transpired at the large rounds. I heard stories about many embattled wine bottles and vacuum-cleaned dishes, but I think that was just in front of Jac. Our tables were relatively restrained, but even then managed to work our way through about a third of the menu. Amazing how quickly food disappears when you put it in front of conference delegates. I did think that the serving sizes could’ve been larger but, hey, note sentence just before this one. S/he who chats before eating is lost (old Confucian saying that doesn’t get enough of an airing these days).

Alan and I were seated on either side of William and he had flagged that he’d prefer his food ‘not too spicy.’ Alas, we were in a Malaysian restaurant so this preference, while of course valid and worthy, didn’t have much of a chance. Especially when those on the other side of me (yes, meaning you, Robyn) kept ordering spicy deep-fried tofu that was garnished with chopped red chillies.

As always, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to talk to more people around the room. What I did manage to do at my table was hatch a plan to empire-build in a small part of academia (not AA Studies, you’ll be surprised to hear…) and witness the wonderful gadget that USA-based Anita had with her (a credit-card sized LCD screen that was counting down the days/hours/mins/seconds that GWBush had left in office. Tangent: she was saying that we should get one made up that did the same with Howard but, alas, Australia doesn’t have set terms for Prime Minsters so we could conceivably [lamentably] have little Johnny for another few years). I was really pleased to see folks from the aa_discuss list there, some of whom overlap with academia and some who don’t, some of whom are Melbournites and some who aren’t. There was a big, varied bunch of us and it was all good.

After spilling out onto Lygon after dinner, a few forged homeward (ah, the pikers [cos, y’know, I’m such a party grrl]) and others were keen on moving onto dessert but obviously had not transmitted this clearly enough to all and ended up with voice messages on their mobile later from those who went on to Brunetti’s…ahem. After wandering off because we didn’t think anyone else was as determined to find dessert as we were (and saying goodbye to Justine) Olivia, Anita, Robyn and I made our way towards a fireplace, gooey chocolate desserts, and even more gossip about universities and colleagues. But, hey, I don’t eat pudding and tell, so I’ll have to draw a veil over those discussions.

I hope everyone had as good a time as I did, and that no-one had quite as good a time as others…no, not referring to anyone in particular there. Before you get too sick of in-jokes and cryptic allusions, I’ll end here. Suffice to say that next time an AA meetup and a conference coincide, I’ll definitely be there, cutlery/chopsticks at the ready. Even without conferences, I hope to catch up with various folk at future gigs; too many acas around otherwise…

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