austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Waking up, feeling rough, totally stressed

We were able to get up about 8 am, even though the room didn't have an alarm clock and we weren't sure the wake-up call would work. There's just no feedback given to reassure someone the automated wake-up call system worked. But we spent a lot of time asleep and bunny_hugger had her iPod to rouse us too. The hotel's breakfast was a nice if small buffet, letting us experience and remember just how good it is eating chunks of bread with cheese for breakfast. We tried to figure out who it was the guy overseeing the breakfast space reminded us of; bunny_hugger's brother was one candidate. David Tennant's Doctor another. The breakfast bar also had a poor goldfish in a way-too-tiny aquarium to decorate it and I kept feeling pangs of misery for it.

The hotel was just off the train station, and Rennes's subway line. The conference's location, the University of Rennes 2, is at the end of the subway line. This guided bunny_hugger in booking the hotel. (It's the University of Rennes 2 because of a 1960s drive to increase the number of provincial universities. The previous University of Rennes split into 1 and 2 faculties. This isn't the only numbered university. One of the conference speakers was even from some university 3.) So all we had to do was go to the train station and buy a subway ticket.

The machines wouldn't take our credit cards. OK. So all we had to do was find someplace that could give us change for a 50-euro bill. Our hotel couldn't. We stopped in a convenience store and bought some candy and that gave us enough of a scattering of change we could buy day passes for the subway line.

If we needed day passes, since the subway gates didn't have turnstiles or guards or anything, just a yellow line and machines where you were to scan your tickets. Was the Rennes subway system an honor scheme? Not exactly. When I was coming back home they had inspectors watching people entering that station. Maybe it's honor system with random checks, or checks during some peak hours. But we got on the line heading towards the J F Kennedy station --- and they don't explain why Rennes has a station named for Kennedy, any more than they explain why they have a bus line named for Rosa Parks --- and boy is that a speedy thing. Despite our delays figuring out how to get on the subway we had a fair shot of getting to the conference for its 9:30 starting time.

Or, well, maybe. There's the subway station on campus, yes, but the conference was in one building on campus and you know what campuses are like. The Rennes 2 campus is about what you'd figure for a university campus built mostly in the late-60s and early-70s. (Well, I think it looks better-maintained than what a United States campus of that vintage would look like, but still.) There's a lot of potential places to host several dozen academics and they promised there'd be a sign by the subways station to guide people. There was not. We found the campus's information desk, though, and they pointed us to the building. Once inside the building we had to keep walking around until we found the hall where they were actually holding the conference, but we weren't too late to get in.

Trivia: Michigan's state legislature approved a women's suffrage amendment for the state constitution on the 19th of March, 1874. It was defeated in the November election by a vote of 135,957 to 40,077. Source: Michigan: A History of the Great Lakes State, Bruce A Rubenstein, Lawrence E Ziewacz. (The alcohol industry was able to argue that women's suffrage would lead swiftly to prohibition.)

Currently Reading: Obsession: A History, Lennard J Davis.

PS: A Summer 2015 Mathematics A To Z: locus, one of those mathematical terms I just suddenly started seeing before anybody explained it to me.

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