My Egghead Convention Weekend (or, ModernAngel's First MENSA Annual Gathering, Short Version)

Today: Eve: MS Access 2000 purchase, grocery shopping, stir-fry, a nice long phone chat; HMM3, Fox Sunday evening TV lineup, and a little smot-poking before bed.
Morning: Wake at Adam & Cris's. Collect my stuff (except my wristwatch, oops) and drive 1.5 hrs home (Ringoes to Clifton, NJ). On I-78, wildflowers are no longer "in progress"; they are in full summer bloom, in big patches, on the median.

Yesterday: (SAT) wake ~7:15AM, shower and primp to arrive at Philly Phrolics Hospitality by ~9:45. Rye bagel with cream cheese, a beer is tempting but I stick with coffee. Presentations I attend:
  • 10:30 "Easy Travel & Packing Light", by a flight attendant
  • noon "Bad Science" by a historian
  • 1:30 "Stop Me Before I Kill God Again" by the author of Towing Jehovah
  • 3:00 "Emotional Intelligence" by a psychologist
  • 4:30 "The Essence of Reality", by some guy
  • At some point: MENSA Boutique: I can't resist a logo'ed coffee mug, and I pick up two copies of the Fluxx card game, one for my hosts and one for an occasionless gift to the first person I can actually imagine playing it with someone other than me. Maybe my niece.
    The drive back from Philly to Ringoes takes about an hour under these beautiful, luminous crystal weatherless driving conditions, with the just the lightest of traffic sprinkling the road. Dinner is bruschetta, spaghetti & meatballs in jarred portabello mushroom sauce, a little wine, an Old Deadly's Blackadder for dessert. Adam spins up a RuneQuest character.

    D-2: (FRI) The Philly Phrolics program says that registration ends at 9AM, so I drag myself out of bed (er, couch) at 6 to be on the road by 7, figuring it takes about an hour to get there and giving myself a full hour of cushion. Traffic on the PA Turnpike extends my travel time to 2.5 hr, and I arrive at the hotel resigned to missing a day of Phrolicing. The registrar is kind and animated, they pin a "My First Time" button on my nametag in honor of my first Annual Gathering. They send me to Hospitality, where I unwittingly rub shoulders with the speaker at tonight's 6:00 presentation.
  • Missed the coveted 9:00 "Sexuality and Chocolate", dang.
  • 10:30 "Information Evolution" by an electrical engineering professor.
  • long lunch break. The 24-hour hospitality suite offers such a range of sandwiches, ice cream, beer/coffee/soda/juice/etc., fruit, snack veggies, and sweets, that I could easily consume my registration fee in free food. I can't imagine how the AG can be break-even financial proposition.
  • 1:30 "The Reality of Near-Death Experiences" by some guy.
  • 3:00 "The Genetic Revolution and its Moral and Social Consequences" by a biotechology researcher.
  • 4:30 "Biblical Apologetics and the Pseudo-Intellectual, or Fundamentalism as the Thinking Man's Religion", by a liberal theologian.
  • 6:00 "For Men Only: How to Make a Woman Feel Beautiful", by a trademark/copyright lawyer.
    I get back to Adam & Cris's around 9PM, about ready to fall down after all the mental stimulation of the day; but of course they worked all day, they can get up late tomorrow, they're ready to watch TV and chat and show me pictures of their wedding and honeymoon in Italy (about 3 weeks ago) for a few hours. I nibble a slice of pizza, and eye the couch (aka "guest bed") as we sit through Lexx and that show about the guy who turns invisible and homicidal.

    D-3: (THU) I should have called them earlier in the week to tidy up plans, because I can't reach them by phone until about 8PM, and they weren't expecting me until tomorrow night. I arrive shortly after 9, we are all beat and interested in little more than TV and a round of beers.

    My two days of Philly Phrolics was a lot of fun, I practiced some spontaneity and social skills that needed some dusting off, the presentations were (almost all) entertaining and/or thought-provoking. Social grace seems to be generally lacking, but the widespread congenial tolerance makes up for it. I'll be adding my notes ("The Long Version") in bits and pieces over the next few days; there's a smorgasbord of practical info and mind candy I gleaned, a suite of hospitality/signal to share with y'all.