I got a letter from the city last month that prior to the re-surfacing project in Tangletown, they will be re-doing some of the curbs.  (I am technically part of the Tangletown neighborhood, but my street is actually a county road, so I am not affected by this.)  Every morning Guinevere and I have been seeing signs of the project; they dug up all the affected curbs first and then are going back to add the new concrete.

When we came around a corner yesterday, we were surprised by a group of ELEVEN construction workers, all in their neon yellow vests, standing around one of the holds where a curb had been.  While we watched, the concrete mixer started to whirr and soon there was concrete glopping into the hole.  Two of the eleven worked to control where the concrete was pouring and the other nine started smoothing out the mixture.  I’m not sure if they really needed nine guys to do this, but I’m sure it made the job go quickly.

As Guinevere and I continued on our walk, I said to her “well, now you’ve been to a concrete workers’ convention”.   She was more interested in the smells along the sidewalk than the convention.  I kept thinking about it and realized that except for two Stampin’Up annual conventions about 20 years ago, I haven’t been to any other conventions.  Trade shows yes, conventions no.  Full disclosure — I did drive a friend downtown to a Star Trek convention once and drove around the block several times while he ran in to buy a couple of t-shirts.  But I didn’t actually go inside so I’m not counting that!

Have you ever been to a convention?  Any good stories?

33 thoughts on “Gatherings”

      1. I just noticed that I conflated conventions with conferences. I would guess that conventions were more oriented toward networking. Of course, conferences and conventions can have vendors and trade shows can have seminars and presentations, so there’s a lot of overlap.

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Like Linda, I’ve attended lots of conferences but no conventions. During my six-year stint as a legal administrator I attended the annual international conference of legal administrators in places like Anaheim, Toronto, St. Louis, New Orleans, Kissimmee, and San Francisco. The five years I worked for KMPG, I usually attended two or more such conferences annually, these aimed at administrators of large CPA firms. Of the two, the legal administrators’ conferences were more lavish and fun, the CPA conferences tended to be more focused on the bottom line.

      The days were jam packed with lecture presentations about everything from technology, to human resources, and records management. They’d have a nationally known key-note speaker, one of the more memorable ones was Grace Hopper, a computer scientist and a rear admiral in the US Navy. She had a sharp wit and told some pretty fun stories. I believe one famous quote that’s attributed to her is: “It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” I remember her telling about being stopped at some international border, to Canada, I think, and asked by the passport control what uniform she was wearing. When she informed him that it was the US Navy uniform he responded, “you must be the oldest officer they have.” To this she retorted: “No, they actually have one that’s older than me.” She was, of course, referring to Hyman Rickover who was born in 1900. Rear Admiral Hopper didn’t come along until six years later.

      A big part of the conference was the exhibits by vendors of office technology, filing systems, office products, and other equipment often targeted specifically for use in law firms. Some of the larger vendors like Xerox, for example, would sponsor quite elaborate outings for their customers. At the Anaheim conference Xerox had rented Disneyland for an evening where it was closed to the general public. All rides were open at no cost, and throughout the evening, invited guests were treated to elaborate spreads of food and plenty of wine and other libations. Another vendor invited a bunch of administrators from the Twin Cities on an evening cruise past the homes of some of Hollywood’s big stars. I specifically recall seeing the home of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Not at all convention related, but this reminded me of the time I was in L.A. to shoot a television commercial and the director took us all out on a cruise around Marina Del Rey in his 40-foot sailboat. It seemed to me at the time to be an archetypal Hollywood experience. The only other time that compared was when I was shooting a commercial for Northwest Airlines with Peter Lawford and I had hired a still photographer to take still shots at the same time for print ads. The photographer took me afterwards to his studio and we drove there, down Sunset Boulevard in his silver Mercedes convertible.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. I think you are one degree. Peter Lawford is a great person to be a degree or less separated from. That puts you two degrees from the Kennedys, the Rat Pack and Marilyn Monroe, among others.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. No—I guess you’re right. I assumed that since I had direct contact with Lawford, that would be zero separation, but that’s not the way it works, apparently.

          Liked by 2 people

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I went to one, ISITDBT, in 2014 because it was associated with the first test for a certification I now hold. It was in Philadelphia, which I found to be an interesting and delightful city full of my own family history.

    The convention itself? Meh. The academic research presenters made presentations of research: good. Their ability to present: bad. They talked like Robin Williams on cocaine—very rapidly and without pauses. So what I could understand, I did not have ime to digest.

    There were about 600 people there. The thing was mostly meant for networking, so during the fast fire presentation, there were a lot of side conversations among luminaries in the field. The primary luminary, Marsha Linehan, had a back problem, so she was in pain and was crabby.

    I have not returned, and I know I will not return this year.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Just the Minnesota Education Association conventions in mid-October back in the day–late 70s, early 80s. Don’t remember much about it except the camaraderie of being around all those teachers.

    Oh, wait, I also went to a few Minnesota Music Educators conventions during that time period. Now THOSE were fun. I absorbed tons of energy from some of the directors and their groups. It was also a bit depressing because my bands were mediocre by comparison (partly due to teaching at a small school–the talent pool is rather shallow).

    Other than that, I’m not much of a fanboy for anything. Not into hanging around in large crowds, even with like-minded people. Hard to even muster up the energy to get up to a Twins game in the past decade or so.

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I once went to such a fishing and boating convention in Milwaukee. My motel room number was 411. It was a Friday night.

    The first call came about 10 that evening. When I picked up, an obviously drunk guy slurred “Paula? Paula? Izzat you?” An hour or so later, an even drunker caller phoned to say “I wanna speak . . . talk . . l gotta . . . talk . . . hey Sharon is this you?” Then I understood. Lonely guys would drink themselves into a stupor, then call my room trying to connect with the telephone directory information operator. The last of five calls was around 3 AM.

    I slept only a few minutes that night. In a mood, I complained next morning to the clerk as I paid my bill. She wasn’t comforting, saying, “Well, someone’s gotta get room 411, don’t they?”

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I’m thinking like tim ( scary in its own way) what’s the difference??

    Maybe the annual ‘Farm Show’ here in town that you just spend a couple hours at is a trade show, where as USITT, is a theater convention because I spend 3-5 days there.

    My first “United Stated Institute for Theatre Technology“ way back in the 80s when I was just a young theater kid, one of my mentors took me to the convention when it was in Minneapolis. Partially I remember him having to pay to get in. I don’t think either one of us knew there was a cost to get on the show floor. I sure didn’t know.
    The next was 2007 in Houston where we couldn’t find ketchup or root beer.
    A few years later I was in Cincinnati, then Charlotte North Carolina, St. Louis, and somewhere else, I forget.
    Oh, Louisville.
    Generally I am able to attend about every other year through the college these days. I wasn’t going in 2020 and it was canceled anyway. 2021 will be in Columbus Ohio mid March. Not sure I’ll be ready for that one yet either.

    OT- got my butter keeper yesterday! Got it packed full of butter.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Well, the Association of State and Provencial Psychology Boards has two meetings a year. I have been to about six of them. If you are not heavily interested in jurisdictional issues related to the regulation of psychologists, they can be pretty dull.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. i go to a start up thing every year called mini bar at the best buy headquarters it is ana amzaning get together with 200 presentations given in 1 day with the day broken down into 8 segments with 20 talks going on at a time and you pcik the one you are going to next.
    lots of energy and fun
    i go to hardware and trade shows where they have all the seminars i never fgo to . i wander around and hold my own little mini smeinars with the people i want to talk to. i do that in vegas china germany and england orlando and a couple other things every now and agian.
    im not much of a meeting guy but i have gone to stuff for the hops business i was looking to get into and the other new ideas i had worked on over the years .
    the airport hotel convention center way of seeing the world is interesting i enjoy travel

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Have to read later –
    My favorite was when I had the little book business, and got to attend the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association’s convention… so great to be milling around with people from Odegard’s, Micawber’s, Hungry Mind…

    I can’t recall attending any education ones, but then I was only in the public school system for a year and a half, come to think of it. The place I got my best teaching learning (interesting phrase) was the Kindergarten-First grade workshop one summer.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I did attend one MN Music Educators convention as a performer (piano accompanist for a MPS middle school choir). I did enjoy browsing some of the vendor displays. The choir director and I also got to do some shopping. We purchased a portable keyboard for the school – I had the major say in which one we chose since I was the one who would be playing it.

    A co-worker and I attended a NANN (Nat’l Assoc. of Neonatal Nurses) convention at Disney World many years ago. It was supposed to be in the Fall but Hurricane Floyd disrupted those plans. It was rescheduled for December. We stayed in a resort on the property. I don’t remember the the lectures and breakout sessions so much but do remember the enjoyable time we spent at the Animal Kingdom.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I think of conferences as being more business related, and conventions are shows where people celebrate their attachments to a special interest of some sort. Conventions have nicknames ending in -con, such as Comicon or Dragoncon, and conferences have acronyms. I’ve been to lots of conferences, but no conventions.

    I did once stay in a hotel when I was attending a conference in Chicago, and there was a Beatles convention going on in the hotel. My room was above a ballroom where the convention attendees gathered and sang Beatles songs till the wee hours of the morning, so I didn’t get much sleep.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I got to tag along when Husband went to conferences revolving around mainframe computer technology – they also had classes he attended during at least part of each day. The three I remember were in St. Louis (only time I’ve seen the Arch, VS), San Diego, and Toronto. Was kind of liberating to explore these cities while he was occupied. Then in the evenings, there was occasionally some event – I remember in St. Louis a wonderful dinner and evening entertainment on a Riverboat.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. OT-Move update: The built-in desks are being installed, and some of them cover the electrical outlets. The desks can’t be moved after they are installed, (unless you uninstall them), so someone will have to cuts holes where the outlets are presumed to be to reveal them.

    Liked by 3 people

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