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gnat (29)

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Journal of gnat (29)

Tuesday January 29, 2002
03:58 AM

Biocon: Sunday

[ #2490 ]
Hackathon Day 2. I arrived at a decent hour, in time to record the progress updates. We had an amazing 45 minute "discussion" of file formats, in which everyone was avoiding the holy wars of XML to the point where they totally failed to get that all the proffered formats sucked, and they'd realize this once they started coding them. Well, maybe I'm wrong, but that's what it looked like to me.

I got called out for a staff meeting: updates on setup, last minute changes, how to tell attendees of the somewhat bizarre ever-changing location of lunch (we almost have a different location for lunch every day of the conference). I didn't suggest they sell the lunch thing as survival of the fittest, but I should have.

Then it was Quiz Show preparation. Lorrie and I came up with topics. Then Jennifer Weller turned up, one of the conference committee members. Our committee, Jennifer, Per, and Cynthia, are bloody awesome. It's been ages since I've "clicked" with people this well.

So, we yakked about biology and came up with questions, and I walked Jennifer through my tutorial as I'd walked Lorrie through it earlier. Jennifer had all sorts of great comments (from "um, you should mention Darwin somewhere" to "actually, plants are much more interesting than people"). It was great to go through it with her, because I knew what sorts of things she'd interject with at the tutorial itself, and could decide which to preempt by changing my tutorial and which to let her go ahead with.

Dinner time rolled round and Cynthia, Lorrie, Jennifer, and I attempted to find some. This dumbass ultra-expensive "resort" has two fancy restaurants, neither of which is open on Sundays. Buns of sitches. So we went back to my humongous suite to order room service. Then I saw the room service menu and freaked ("I'm not paying $23.50 for a goddamn STEAK!") and we grabbed the ORA rental minivan and headed off downtown.

We ended up at some "Pacific Rim" restaurant, which is a codename for "gussied-up Chinese". I should have asked if they had a lunch buffet, but wussed out. We got wine, discovering that Jennifer is a major wine geek (she worked in viticulture on breeding better grapes at one point, or something like that). She selected a fantastically smooth Merlot (I think) that tasted (she said) almost like a Zinfandel. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I'm a volume not frequency kind of person--it doesn't matter which wine I'm drinking (within fairly liberal bounds) so long as I can drink enough of it.

Lorrie was generous enough not to get as squiffy as the rest of us, and drove us around following Cynthia's alcoholic recollection of the location of the Trader Joe's. We wanted to get cheap good wine, you see. We arrived at Trader Joe's at 9:03, after various Cynthia-driven misdirections, only to find it closed at 9. D'oh! So we had to buy cheap okay wine from Safeway instead.

Back at the hotel room, we drank and tried to plot quiz show questions. Fat chance! Bloody biologists. Their science is almost completely incompatible with a quiz show. Every question I'd ask, I'd get a "well, it depends" answer to. Other than the fun of drinking lots of wine and listening to them talk shit, it was a tough evening.

Damian came round midway through, and after Lorrie, Cynthia, and Jennifer left, Damian and I caught up. By 1am we were both knackered, and we called it a night. More to follow ...


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