The Mensa AG 2009 is now a think of the past (HA! Puns.) There were some sessions at the AG that were GREAT! others sucked out loud.
Let’s start up front, shall we? Emilie’s AG GOALS:
- Be a good Wingman for AMY.
- Work toward getting my book published.
- Enjoy time with my friends and family.
Amy. My friend Amy is a sweet girl. Smart. Nice personality. She wants to get married. I think she is good people, so I can back her up. Bambi and I thought taking her to Mensa would be just the thing. Many people have met and married from visits to the AG. Why not fish where the fish are? As they say, the goods may be odd, but the odds are good. Our campaign was simple; we would wear buttons that said “Have you met AMY?” Just like Barney on “How I Met Your Mother,” we were ALL Amy’s wingmen. It worked pretty well. Amy got dates. In the end, Amy found a GREAT date on July 4th at the Mensa Banquet. Fireworks come in more than one form.
As a brief aside – and this is for YOU, Alias Mother, Amy was specific that she wanted a guy that would go to church with her. Hence, we went to the Christian Mensa Meet and Greet. The idea was to fish where the fish were, right? ANY-way, the leader of the session was horrid. Here’s the transcript from the session where people introduced themselves:
Leader: Ok, and you are?
Mormon Lady: I’m Nice Mormon Lady, and I’m from…
Leader: Well, your not Christian.
M: Um, yes I am.
L: You don’t believe in Jesus.
M: Er, yes I do.
L: NO! You DON’T.
M: It’s called The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Later Day Saints.
L: But you aren’t Christians…
And this started the general fight in the room. The leader of this session was a monster. After the M&G, I waited off to one side as Amy chatted up a handsome Christian man with commitment fears, but charming none-the-less, and listened as the leader continued the argument on out in the hall with one of the participants. John was his name. John started to get so upset he turned purple. I intervened as he was storming off and took his side. I told that woman she should be ashamed of herself for what she said. She really aught to have been, too. That’s no way to spread the good news. What a turn off.
For as much as the HAVE YOU MET AMY? buttons got the word out there, I can’t get credit for the AMY-JAMES matchup. Bambi gets the points there. We all went to the Saturday night banquet and had to find 5 seats together. Not the easiest of tricks. The hall was packed. Dr. Demento was the featured speaker. We share a table with James and his Entourage, and Bambi realizes that she’s sitting next to the single guy at the table, and so she makes Amy switch seats with her. The rest is history. BUT…
I have to tell you about the dinner we had. Mensans are smart, REALLY smart, but sometimes we have social problems. Inappropriate jokes. The inability to take a hint. A penchant for talking nerdy. You know the type. As it turns out, we may not be clever enough to dress our own salads. Dinner started with Caesar Salad. What came to the table was chopped Romaine lettuce topped with Parmesan threads. We all waited for a moment and then a waitress suddenly flung dressing over my shoulder and onto my plate. I yelped, partly in surprise but mostly in outrage. WTF? I said, “I’d prefer to dress my own salad.” She said, “No.”
That’s right – NO.
The same was true for the croutons, which were spooned from over my shoulder again. On the one hand, I’m thinking, if you aren’t going to let people doctor their salad to their own liking, then why not just toss and plate the salad before you serve it? I think the people at the William Penn Omni were trying to be elegant with the table service, but they forgot to inform their waitstaff about the ELEGANT part. They had a small chaos problem that clouded the experience for me. Whatever. I apologise for being an ass about it. Bygones.
The book: There were several sessions I thought would be interesting and useful as I work toward getting Chenda and the Airship Brofman published. The first was Chasing Joy: the long and winding road to getting published. The speaker, Gwyn Cready, writes romance novels. She had a number of interesting insights and I was glad I went to see her. The next thing I went to was Getting the Science Right. This was hosted by Diane Turnshek, a short form SF writer and Astronomer. I chatted with her before the talk and afterward asked her about a few more things, and ended up talking with her for the next several hours. NICE woman.
She took me to meet the other SF writers from Pittsburgh: Furma and Phil K and Bill Keith. Yes, that’s William H. Keith – writer of 85 science fiction novels. Wonderful people who told me all kinds of great things about places to hang out on line and where to get good critiques of my writing. It was a real treat.
The last session was the one I thought would be MOST valuable to me- Stupid Author Tricks: How not to get published. It was OK, but not great. On the one hand, I was pretty pleased to find out that I wasn’t doing anything REALLY stoopid. I didn’t meet any agents or publishers, but I did have a good experience. So- victory.
Lastly – I DID have a good time with my family and friends. Next year, in DETROIT, I plan on doing so again. And much more… I hope they will at least trust us with the croutons.