Egads. Well, just spent an obscene amount of money for my upcoming trip to the 2018 ICFA (International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts). I went last year and had one of my best times ever at an academic event; it came one week after my dissertation defense, and Martina and I capped it off with the trip to Disney World.
This year, though, I'm a bit floored by the sticker shock. Part of that is that I no longer qualify for student registration rates -- another part that U of A grants no funding to lecturers for conference travel, which surprises me. A third part, admittedly, is that M. and I are splurging a bit. This year we're spending two nights at the conference hotel, which is about twice as pricey as the hotel we got last year, just three miles away. The hike, though, is a bit much for Martina; she's also had a rough year so deserves a bit of pampering. All that, combined with a few other odds & ends, means this might be my last ICFA for a while. These conferences don't help me as a lecturer (outside my job description as a writing instructor, doan y'know), and adding a few more national/international conferences to the c.v. really won't bestow any added benefits in my search for a permanent TT job.
Still, I am immensely excited about the ICFA this year -- not only because it rocked so hard last year, but get this: on my panel is a scholar named W. A. Senior. My paper's on Stephen R. Donaldson, and Senior's wrote far and away the best monograph on Tolkien to date. His critical study's actually one of the first works of literary criticism I, way back as an undergrad at Kent State, ever read for fun. So it'll be a treat to present my paper alongside him.