My conference went really well, aside from the vertigo-inducing hotel. I gave two different presentations, which were both well received, and on the final night the Atlanta Drumline played for us during dinner, at which time I discovered that I was the only person at my table who was aware of the existence of the movie Drumline.
"You know, they were also in the movie 'Drumline'."
"The drumline in what movie?"
"'Drumline'. That was the name of the movie."
"They were in a movie? About a drumline?"
Thankfully, there was wine with dinner, and I poured some into my mouth to curtail the rest of the "Who's on first?"-style "Drumline" discussion.
The highlight of the conference, though, was dinner at the Georgia Aquarium:
We went for three hours after the aquarium closed, so we had the run of the place along with food from Wolfgang Puck Catering:
which, morbidly, included a fish course.
I saw jellyfish:
(that last one is my favorite) and crabs:
and a lot of regular fish:
and then spent a few minutes talking to a nice lady who was totally bummed out about the whole experience.
"It's just so sad to me, to see them swimming around and around, and not out in the ocean. They have no freedom."
You know what happens to fish out in the ocean, lady? They get eaten by other fish, or they get caught in plastic rings from six pack holders, or they starve to death eating garbage instead of plankton, but telling her that seemed kind of like it might make her even more depressed, so instead I tried to reassure her.
"I was talking to a lady at our zoo, and she said that places like zoos and aquariums spend a lot of time making sure the animals are stimulated, to keep them from getting bored."
"Yes, but... they must be so unhappy here."
"Maybe not. They're taken care of, they're well fed, they're safe from predators... it's not so bad."
"You really think so?"
I nodded, because I don't just think so. I know so, because I heard it on good authority.
Aquaman told me.
In 1998, in "JLA Year One". I pretty much repeated his speech word for word, actually:
She seemed reassured, so I didn't tell her where I heard it from. She might not give Aquaman the same credence that I do.
Aside from the fish, the aquarium also had a frog exhibit, and this was the best part. Most of the frogs were sleeping:
but the poison dart frogs were wide awake and hopping all over their tank:
Aren't they adorable?
Anyway, the conference takes us to an "out of the hotel" excursion every year, but I think this was the best one out of the four or five times I've gone to this, and I said so in my evaluation.