After a month of classes, long weekend events with students, and all the busyness of fall semester, it feels good to sneak away for an academic conference in Country to the North. I’ve been enjoying the conference life: going to sessions, listening to talks, and eating meals with colleagues. Yesterday morning at an animal studies session, a group of us got into such an intense conversation during the question and answer period that we went to a nearby coffeehouse to talk some more. Artist Friend and I were actually continuing an argument that we'd started at a conference last June, but now other conference friends chimed in with their perspectives. We sat in comfy chairs in front of the fireplace, balancing mugs of coffee and tea on our laps, all of us talking at once. The best part of any conference is the space between the sessions, where we have time for long, in-depth discussions.