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The Wacky, Crazy-Awesome, Reno, Nevada Adventure PART II

July 9, 2010

To Recap:

No sleep, 10 hour car ride, Moderately disoriented,


I also forgot one key part of the drive. Katie was asleep, and Charles was driving. Shortly before deciding to take a nap, I ask Charles whether or not he thinks we need to gas up. Both of us eyeball the gas gauge and with the needle pointing to the halfway mark, we both figure we’re good for a couple more hours. I go to get some shuteye and a little bit later, I hear Charles say

“Ummm…Corbett, uuuhhhh, ummmmm…I think we need gas”

Looking at the gauge, sure enough the needle is now hovering a little above the empty line. Nervously discussing what to do, Charles asks “should we wake up Katie?” but figuring that if the car stalls she’ll find out anyway, we decided to keep on. The time is now around dawn, and so the landscape is starting to become visible. Charles is a little nervous, but optimistically makes the guess that there’s maybe a town just over the next hill. With baited breath, we crest the nearest hill…and see this:

middle of goddamn nowheres

We spent the subsequent period of time considering the very-real possibility that we would be stranded in the most populated highway in Nevada. And considering that fact, it becomes apparent just how desolate Nevada really is.

Luckily we located a gas station, breathed a sigh of relief, and Katie woke up so we could tell her how terrifying the last half hour had been.

Back to the Conference!

Emerging from the conference room much more dejected than I had entered, I greeted my fellow adventuresome compatriots with the bad news. While we had arrived safely and in one piece, the trip had fallen short of its main mission. On the plus side, we were free to enjoy the conference, participate in discussions, and in general, bask in the comfort of a community of people just as nerdy about anthropology as we are.

Moderately disoriented, it took us a bit to get re-oriented and figure out what presentations we’d like to see. One of the first people we saw speak was Jesse Dizard, of CSU Chico. At the previous conference, he had been one of the more interesting speakers, and this year we were able to see several of his presentations, all of which were very engaging.

In the case of this session, his presentation was on the subject of the effects of pollution on the peoples of the Arctic. Supplemented by fascinating pictures of the area, and personal anecdotes, the talk was a good way to start the conference. Indeed, his photos provided a good reference point for his stories, and inadvertently showed the devastation caused by global warming, including the destruction of entire settlements.

Next up was Leisa Christian, of California Baptist University, discussing zoonosis as a function of global warming in reindeer-herding cultures. Apparently zoonosis is any disease capable of spreading from non-human animals to humans. Her slideshow was impressive as a visual aid and her pictures were quite good, however maybe because we hadn’t slept, it was hard to wrap my head around the material, though apparently her essay was good enough to win an award later on in the conference.

We then took a lunch break, and went back just in time to see the movie Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun, a film about the life of Zora Neale Hurston, an african-american anthropologist who conducted ethnographic work with Boas, Mead and Benedict. Opened for discussion after, Jesse Dizard acted as moderator.

The movie was interesting and offered a new perspective on a slightly more obscure personality from the early days of modern anthropology.

Here’s a photo of the woman:

But who would play her in a movie?


After seeing the movie, we were all completely beat. We just couldn’t stay awake much longer, so we went and checked into our hotel room. We’d secured one with one bed, so two of us passed out there, and another on the floor. We woke up in time to go to the reception dinner, where we had time to schmooze with other anthropologists, catch up on how things had been since we saw them last, etc. It was good, but I was pretty low-energy. Afterward, we went back to the hotel, checked in, and decided to go to the hot tub. Then, disaster strikes!!!


What kind of hotel closes the hot tub at 9:00 PM anyways?! Without any other options we headed back to our hotel room. Luckily we’d had enough foresight to pack the various important effects, and bring them up to our hotel room: beer.

Specifically, Samuel Adams’ variety pack. I can safely say that I was able to drink one and immediately after setting the empty bottle on the nightstand, fell asleep…

Experience the exciting conclusion in PART III!!!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Orion permalink
    July 9, 2010 1:36 pm

    Cool, I had no idea that Hurston was an anthropologist. But obscure? Seriously? She’s rather more famous than any of the non-fictional anthropologists I can think of. Their Eyes Were Watching God? The Harlem Renaissance was even in our elementary school curriculum, while unfortunately anthro was not.

    No hotel should close their hot tub. Really.

    • July 9, 2010 2:22 pm

      It is true that she was involved in the Harlem Renaissance, and is a relatively well-known, I guess I meant more specifically to the field of anthro. I mean, we all talk about Mead and Benedict and Boas and all those white anthropologists, we read books, articles, and biographies on all of them. Therefore I find it irritating that we never discussed her, or other black anthropologists. Even though she’s quite possibly more famous than the “classics”. How many people know Benedict’s Chrysanthemum and the Sword, versus Their Eyes Were Watching God? we should have learned about her. grrrrr

      and more on the hot tub experience soon!

  2. July 10, 2010 12:58 pm

    was it highway 50? cause if it was, in addition to being the most populated highway in nevada, it’s also the loneliest highway in america.

    i shall never return to that state. mark twain’s words still ring in my ears as the One and Only Truth about Nevada: the terrain looks like a singed cat

    i cannot bear to think about that state any longer.

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