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Megafest 4.2

Started: 2005-10-02 15:50:29

Submitted: 2005-10-02 18:46:34

Visibility: World-readable

Megafest 4.2 is winding to a close. Anya is sitting on the stairs waiting to go out. Bitscape is raiding the fridge for last-minute fortifications; Humblik just finished the same. Yanthor is gathering his things. Kiesa and I are sitting on the couch with our respective notebooks; she's researching the weekend box office gross for Serenity, and I'm writing a changelog.

Monday, 26 September 2005

My alarm woke me up at 0600 EDT. I drove through New Hampshire on I-93 to Concord, then turned onto I-89 to continue my trek across the state. I crossed the Connecticut river into Vermont, stepped out of my vehicle just to prove that I was there, and headed back across the river to a customer in Lebanon, New Hampshire. They were having trouble with their XY, and since I was in the neighborhood my superiors decided to send me. I waved my hands, performed some fixes, and made some things behave better. I narrowly avoided eating lunch at a steak house's salad bar (we headed to a grocery co-op's deli instead), talked to a guy who can help us with the Other Epic Problem That Won't Die we're experiencing, finished off the fixes on the XY, and headed back down I-89 to I-93, through Boston to Logan International Airport. My flight on jetBlue departed at 2130 EDT.

Tuesday, 27 September 2005

My plane landed in Denver a few minutes before midnight, MDT. I finally made it to bed (back home after six days) at 0130, almost twenty-two hours after I woke. (I made some pathetic attempt to sleep on the plane, but that never works well for me.) I resolved I wouldn't show up to another Megafest sleep deprived, but fate wasn't on my side this time.

At least I got a bit more sleep; I showed up to work at 1000 and mostly zombied my way through the day. To make up for arriving late I left early so I could attend Neil Gaiman's signing at the Tattered Cover in LoDo. We arrived at the bookstore shortly after they started giving out numbered tickets for a slot in the signing line. We got numbers 417 and 418. We acquired a copy of Anansi Boys (which everyone pronounced with three syllables, ah-NAN-si) and found a seat on the floor in the room next to the packed event room. Gaiman came on promptly at 1930, read two excerpts from his book, and answered some questions from the audience. He then began signing books; the bookstore staff called numbers ten at a time, and I knew we were in for the long haul. Which only promised to increase my sleep-deprivation even more.

We finally got through line and got our book signed at 2345. Kiesa got me a hardcover of Neverwhere; I got that signed as well.

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

I worked four whole hours on Wednesday; my manager was kind enough to break corporate protocol and give me comp time for spending entirely too much time in Mass over the weekend. I went to Temptation Zone and acquired a glowing keyboard and wireless mouse for my new Mac Mini and Mystery Men, which I couldn't resist at US$7. At home, I began rearranging the house for the Megafest, but I didn't actually manage to finish assembling the cubicles in the basement until after Yanthor and Anya arrived at 1900. I configured the sections so that they allowed two workstations in the north-west corner of the basement; Bitscape and Humblik occupied the newly-configured cubes. When he was present, bouncing took the card table, not far from Bitscape and Humblik. I sat along the northern wall, in my normal position; Ziyal and my new Mac Mini occupied an entire folding table. (That may have been a bit selfish of me.) Yanthor and Anya occupied the folding table to my right. Kiesa's desk was set up to their right, in the north-east corner of the basement, but she didn't actually occupy it for the duration of the fest.

Our primary amusement for the evening was playing Cities and Knights of Catan; if memory serves, Yanthor, Humblik, Kiesa, and I played. Bitscape and bouncing arrived as we were in the middle of playing and bouncing departed again before we finished.

After midnight, I amused myself by turning on my Mac Mini and debating whether to name it Drusilla or Kaylee before finally stumbling into bed.

Thursday, 29 September 2005

I got up early enough to make buttermilk waffles for breakfast. As we ate, we discussed two matters of Festing business: Who would cook when, and when we would see Serenity. We probably played one or more games of Cities and Knights of Catan. I managed to grab a short nap before supper, but it didn't seem to make much difference. As evening wore on, Kiesa made green curry tofu for supper and we proceeded to engage in movie voting; the results are available here. In preparation for seeing Serenity the following day, we elected to see several episodes of Firefly; to pick them, we had no choice but to vote for them as well. We watched the first three episodes on the list in plot order ("Shindig", "Jaynestown", and "Ariel"); by then it was after midnight and I had trouble doing anything other than going to bed.

Friday, 30 September 2005

Yanthor cooked bagel breakfast sandwiches with elite bagels bouncing picked up prior to coming over. (I must confess that I'm something of a bagel snob; the bagged bagels one gets in the grocery store are unworthy.) We watched "Objects in Space", the last Firefly episode ever, and headed to Longmont's only movie theater for the 1320 showing (the first in the day) of Serenity. The movie was great; it was everything I hoped it could be and more. (Although we don't learn much about the origins of Shepherd Book.)

I spent most of the afternoon playing with my Mac Mini. I moved my iPod to it and copied six gigs of mp3s from Ziyal over my network. I captured the video I shot during Megafest 4.1 using iMovie and tried to figure out how to use the movie-editing software, but eventually gave up. (I wanted to edit the footage before the Megafest started so I could premier it on the first night, but I didn't get enough time to do so.)

By Friday it was apparent that I was coming down with a cold; that probably contributed to my need for extra sleep. (I'm blaming my employer for screwing up my sleep schedule and weakening my immune system.) After Humblik cooked his famous stroganoff for supper, we decided to start watching movies according to the Official Movie Voting. bouncing had departed for the evening, and he had expressed some interest in seeing The Merchant of Venice, the top movie on the list, so we disenfranchised him and picked the next movie, House of Flying Daggers, which Anya had acquired on an afternoon shopping expedition to Best Buy. I could barely keep my eyes open through the movie; when it finished at 2300 I went to bed.

Saturday, 1 October 2005

Bitscape cooked a Delicious Dish for breakfast. I spent some time playing with an experimental conversion of my page to CSS, which didn't go too badly, although I didn't manage to complete it. Yanthor started working on a Catan Clock, which let us keep games from dragging on entirely too long. While he worked on the PHP-based backend, he recruited me to write some Javascript to make the count-down occur in real time once the page was loaded. I still claim to not know Javascript, but I was able to duct-tape together some code I found on the web with some old code from Bitscape (the DOM-editing code he wrote for movie voting) and make the whole thing work. It worked quite well to speed up games; we gave 10 minutes at the beginning, plus 1 minute for each move.

bouncing and Scott showed up, amused themselves by taking copious pictures of Cat5, and started making the "crazy hot sandwiches" bouncing promised for supper. Neal from Greeley and Zan Lynx showed up; we split the eight Catan players into two groups; one played Cities and Knights of Catan and the other played Seafarers of Catan. (Even with the Catan Clock, the Cities and Knights game took longer than the un-clocked Seafarers game.) After the games, I got to show off my Neil Gaiman autographs and we proceeded to discuss science fiction, Star Trek versus modern sci-fi television, Star Wars versus Star Trek, and a host of other entertaining topics. I convinced Yanthor to read On Basilisk Station and loaned him my copy. Scott and bouncing ducked out before the games completed, after cooking supper. Neal managed to leave a bit after midnight (longer than he planned on staying), and Zan Lynx didn't even manage to get his computer out before he departed, sometime after midnight as well.

Around 0100, the core Festors contemplated our destiny. No one was awake enough to watch the first movie on our list, The Merchant of Venice, but we considered seeing something instead. I shamelessly promoted my nominations, Shaolin Soccer (which ranked fifth in movie voting, thanks entirely to my vote), and Dr Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (which ranked tenth, also thanks entirely to my vote), but I couldn't interest anyone else. Yanthor suggested True Lies; he, Anya, Kiesa, and I ended up watching it. Humblik went to bed (he was also colonized by cold viri), and Bitscape headed into the basement with THX-1138 and said something about hacking before sleep.

As advertised, True Lies was purely fluffy exploding entertainment, although I was pleased that it didn't strongly insult my intelligence very often (it could have been that I was too tired to notice). Ten years later, it actually seemed a bit ahead of its time; the bad guys were Islamic extremists who got their hands on weapons of mass destruction. (They also mentioned "GPS tracking", five years before such technology was released into the hands of mortals.) It amused me to see a fourteen-year-old Eliza Dushku.

Sunday, 2 October 2005

I cooked breakfast burritos for the day's first meal. When we finished eating at noon, we contemplated our destiny for the next four hours before the Nebraska Festors needed to depart to return home by midnight CDT. Bitscape, Yanthor, and I ended up playing a combined game of Seafarers of Cities and Knights of Catan. At one point I was two points away from winning and would win as soon as I built a settlement on an undiscovered island, but I tipped my hand too quickly, letting Bitscape hammer me with his progress cards, which ultimately let Yanthor win.

After Catan, there wasn't much else to do; the Nebraska Festors packed, ate, and departed, leaving Kiesa and I (and Cat5) alone in our house once again.

If you want to kiss the sky, you had better learn how to kneel.
- U2, "Mysterious Ways"