Saturday, October 27, 2007

1521 Gathering So Far

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm already starting to lose track of what I did when, so I guess I'd better make some notes.

Arrival, room and gathering registration. Hospitality suites aren't open yet, so I took some time to wander around the hotel and see what's where. Picked up a copy of the program schedule and marked some things I want to do. FW arrived a few hours later, and we had dinner in the hotel dining room. Hung out with some other Mensans in the lobby. She said she was tired and was going to bed. I went to my room and read my email. Got to bed around 2 am.

The official gathering didn't start until 3 pm, but there were some field trips available in the morning. FW had signed up for one to the technology labs at the University of Illinois (8:30 am to 4 pm. Other trips included Taiko Drumming instruction, Museum of Science and Industry, and the Oriental Institute. I hadn't registered until just last Sunday, so I didn't even attempt to go on any of them.) I spent most of the morning sitting in the lobby with a congenial group of Mensans, conversation, and watching people arrive.

As people came in, we'd peg them as Mensan or non-Mensan. Basically, if they were over 300 lbs, we'd peg them as Mensan. Dressed in poorly matched clothes or strange styles, Mensan. Cardboard or grocery bag luggage, Mensan. Bad hair, Mensan. Strange, confused, or conflicting expressions flitting across their faces, Mensan. Oddly matched couples, Mensan. Stop right smack in the middle of traffic areas to talk, Mensan.

We'd find out whether we were correct or not by whether they turned right toward the elevators after leaving the hotel desk, or left toward the gathering registration desk. We were 100% correct on "Mensan". We were wrong only on a few reasonable-looking people we had decided were probably "non-Mensan".

Amazing, especially since if we have been evaluating ourselves, we would of course have been wrong. We being such beautiful and well-mannered people, that is.

There were about 500 Mensans in attendance by Friday night.

Programs I went to on Friday evening: Why You Need a Financial Advisor; Trust Me, I'm an Embalmer; free buffet dinner in the hospitality room; used book sale ($.50 each, every fourth one free - I bought four, one on antique jewelry, two Far Side compilations, and one Sherlock Holmes script by John Cleese, total $1.50); the adult Halloween costume contest; three rounds of Carnelli; the evening dance; and a lot of hanging out in the hospitality rooms.

In an subsequent post, I'll describe Carnelli, and the costume contest.

Programs I did NOT go to on Friday: Kill Doctor Lucky (live-action Clue game); Trust Me, I'm a Pro Gambler (how to get comped in Vegas); Speed Talking; Searching for the Soul of Judaism; Wine Sampling; Lexicography; Mead, the Forgotten Brew; Werewolves of Finsterwald (game, must be fun, they were very loud); Martial Arts in the Movies; Luke Ski concert; Hell's M's meeting (the hard party bunch); Cookie Contest; Sing-Along; Take My Punchline, Please (game - you start a joke, and the first person to come up with the punchline gets points).

FW missed almost everything. She couldn't get to sleep Thursday night, so she went to the hospitality room to get some beer, and ended up schmoozing until it was time to go on her field trip at 8:30 am. After returning from that, she took a nap and didn't wake until the costume contest. Then she went back to bed. Or something. I didn't ask.

I got to bed around 3:30 am.

I have bags under my eyes.

FW checked out of the hotel at 10 am, because she's (believe it or not) got a blind date with a gay guy in the city this evening, they're going clubbing, and she's going to stay at his place until her flight home on Monday. She has a quite different lifestyle from mine.

Because I was paying for her room, and because she was checking out early (the reservation went through Monday), I had to go to the desk with her, and futzing around with that I missed the hospitality breakfast. The hospitality meals have been very good. I'm determined not to miss breakfast tomorrow.

Programs I went to on Saturday: Moral Absolutes: Do They Exist, and if So, Can They Be Known?; free hospitality lunch; Squirrels - the Mensans of Our Backyards; a hour in the whirlpool with myself and a book; the big Banquet; Computer Geek - One Nerd's Search for His Soul Mate; Pretentious Drinking; Foreskin Restoration for Fun and Profit; Saturday Night Dance.

Programs I did NOT go to on Saturday: Introduction to Unicode; Musical Surprises; Threatened and Endangered Species of Illinois; Yoga; Logic Puzzles; Web 2.0 Mass Collaboration and Emergent Coolness; Schemes, Scams, and Flim Flams; Poker Questions and Answers; 2007 Space Flight Update; The Journey from Hunter to Hero to Sovereign to Wiseman; Fiendish Armchair Treasure Hunt; Harry Potter and the Secret of the Giant Sales Figures; Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament; Nanotechnology - Many Small Steps to the Future; Etiquette - Keep Your Elbows Off the Table; Obie's Opus - Adventures in Classical Music; Return of the Werewolves (game); In Extremis (extreme accidents and natural disasters caught on tape); Laugh and Learn about Personalities; InQUIZition (game); Sexyg Fishbowl; Midwinter Mensan on Mars (Mars research facility in Utah); Social Dance Lessons; Movies (all night long, various cult horror movies); A Melancholy Hope- A Musician's Personal Creative Journey; CAM-- CAM Jigsaw Challenge. And I didn't visit the game room AT ALL - those people are weird!!!

Now I'm going to bed.

Friday, October 26, 2007

1520 Map of Where I Am

Friday, October 26, 2007

We're pretty far out from the city, without a car. Zoom to level 6 on the map to get the idea.
Map of 3400 W Euclid Ave Arlington Heights, IL 60005-1052, US
If anyone can tell me how to imbed a map from either Mapquest or Google, or at least how to get the link right for the zoom level I'm looking at, I'd pure-D appreciate it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

1519 Settling In

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm in the hotel, after a frantic morning. I set the alarm for 7 am, planning to leave the house by 8:30, but then didn't wake up until the alarm STOPPED buzzing at 9. I made it out of the house in a record 20 minutes, made it to the airport just barely in time to get my suitcase checked onto the plane.

The Mommy Letter (informational letter you get from Mensa when you register for the gathering) said to arrange for a taxi from O'Hare to the hotel by calling a taxi from a courtesy phone. By the third try I was almost in tears - the guys who answered the phone barely spoke English, and I couldn't understand the letter of the door they wanted me to stand at and the number of the taxi that would come, and the first two hung up on me when I couldn't understand the number. The third guy was nicer, and worked with me until I got it. ("E, as in fervid." "E as in Edward?" "No, E as in fervid." "Like, A B C D E?" "No, A E E E." "Oh, D, as in dog?" "No. E as in David." "Ok, I've got it. A B C D!" "Yuh." "Uh, that's the door under construction that doesn't have a letter on it, right?" "Yuh, that one. Next one up from E.")

At the desk, they asked me if I really required room 906 (or whatever), and when I said no, they moved me to a "preferred" floor. My room is HUGE! Beautiful matched cherry furniture, a king-sized sleigh bed with five pillows, sofa, free wifi, etc.

The hotel is pretty fantastic, too. They have a 60,000 sq. ft. indoor waterpark, with slides, water cannons, whirlpools, and movies you can watch while floating in an innertube. On the other hand, a cup of tea in the cafe is $3.

FW's plane was delayed out of Newburgh. No idea when she'll get here. If she runs into the same taxi guys I did, she might flip out and go home, and I'm not kidding. I wouldn't blame her.

....FW just called my cell. She's here, her room's on the 3rd floor. (I'm on the 10th.) We're going to hunt down some food in about a half hour. (She's got big ideas about famous Chicago restaurants. We are NOT in the city - we're out in the middle of nowhere. I didn't see so much as a Denny's driving in. It's gonna be the hotel food or nothing.)

....Later - checked with the desk. The nearest restaurant is a 10 minute drive away. Nothing within walking distance. Ate in the hotel restaurant. Ten buffalo wings with celery, tea, key lime pie - $23 with tax and tip.

Located the Mensa gathering registration desk. All set.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

1518 Pushing & Spitting

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I got everything done today that I was supposed to get done, except packing. It's after 11 pm, I have an early flight tomorrow out of an airport a hour and a half away, and I haven't even started packing yet. Bad girl.

I accidentally caught a few minutes of "Pushing Daisies" earlier this evening, and it intrigued me, so now, instead of packing, I'm watching the first three episodes of that show online while simultaneously watching the world series on TV. (What's with all the spitting? Yuck!)

I'll sleep tomorrow. Yeah, sure. At a convention.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

1517 Running

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Big date last night. Among other things (dinner, walk along the riverfront, long drive, etc.) we went to a huge arcade, where I learned about breeding and training a racehorse. Yup. I don't remember what it's called, but you breed a sire and dam, and get a virtual foal (colt or filly), name it, and then you train it, and feed it, and race it. My friend had a stable full, so we picked a good pair from his stable, and I got a colt, which I named Silken Drum. He's young, and doesn't have his full strength yet, did well in his first few races, and then came in last in the race just before the arcade closed. It was fun, but they have time limits on how long you can think about what to feed, and how to train, and so on, and I just don't think that fast. His data is on a card in my purse, and I can't wait to get back to him. He's cute. I hated to leave him with such a bad loss.

Today I went to dinner with a friend, and tomorrow I have to pack for Chicago.

Mother is having a good time.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

1516 Math Woes

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I went to a symposium today, and got to talk with some friends after. I mentioned the math video of a few posts back (, and one of the guys told of an experience he'd had yesterday.

He was in a store, and his bill came to $12.82. He handed the girl exactly $12.82, and then remembered that he had a $3-off coupon, so he handed her the coupon. She turned to another cashier and asked, "Hey, how much is 12 minus 3?"

I laughed and told him that if he REALLY wanted to confuse her, on a $12.82 tab, he should hand her $23.02 (a twenty, three ones, two pennies).

I do that a lot, and they almost always try to hand the three dollar bills and the two cents (or whatever is over the large bill) back immediately. I say no, and they ask why I gave them so much. I tell them to do the math and then they'll see.

They do the math (well, they punch buttons on the register), are surprised at how it works out, and look at me like I'm some kind of genius.

Well, duh! I just know math.