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Granite Gathering 2004: Rock On, Old Man!

Exhausted Notes from the Chair
Lost & Found



Exhausted Notes from the Chair
by Lynn Pina

Wow. That's all I could think when I looked around at the sea of people in Hospitality and beyond on RG Saturday and Deb Stone told me we had 173 attendees in total, including approximately 10 of the non-Mensa program speakers who registered and stayed for at least a portion of the day. When Registration closed on Friday night, we had exceeded our total RG weekend 2003 count by one, for a total of 151. Awesome.

This year, we had goody bags and icebreaker game pieces waiting for first-timers and solos at the Registration table. We gave out halves of Finish Lines quotes and halves of nut and bolt sets so that folks had to find their match (multiple possibilities) in the crowd. Prizes were given to winners drawn from the pool of those who returned their completed sets. We had the RG Primer for the first-timers that night, a beer tasting (Biermeister Bill Alleman's selections are always a big hit), and the usual ice cream sundae binge and shrimp feast. We need to remember to get more ice cream for next year's crowd - I think we set a speed record this year for how quickly the ice cream went! A lot of folks turned out for the Sexual Trivia Challenge, which was this year's replacement for Sexual Fishbowl.

This is the second year in a row Bette Lewicke has graced us by taking care of Saturday breakfast - there's nothing better than waking up after a late night and stumbling into Hospitality, following the smell of freshly made pancakes. Saturday started with posted puzzles and eyeball bender games, workshops, and games tournaments. The Lunch in Acapulco was a huge success - all the food was GONE by 1PM! The evening events started with a new twist on the usual wine tasting, a cheese tasting event hosted by Games Chair, Darlene Alleman, with wines chosen to compliment the various cheese varieties. The Saturday buffet dinner was plentiful, and ended with a live auction hosted by Joe Zanca for benefit of the Scholarship Fund.

Then the most raucous fun of the evening began as Membership Coordinator (and RG Bartender) Bromley Baril rushed to crank out Headhunter drinks in coconut Tiki cups as fast as she could to the waiting crowd, and the contests began! We had many advertised, but less time and participants than anticipated, so it boiled down to the Best Hawaiian Shirt contest and the How-Many-Mensans-Can-You-Fit-in-a-10XL-T-Shirt? Contest. The funniest moment came when the kids came running down the hall from the Gifted Children's Room to plow into the t-shirt of the winning team (2 adults, 6 kids, for a total of 8). Despite the best efforts of Co-Chair John Lewicke, modeling his choice selection of used t-shirts to attract potential participants, a co-ed wet t-shirt contest never materialized - neither did the male version when the two registered participants were way too tired from the day's events.

Late that night, we had the Like Water for Chocolate Orgy and International Coffee and a Tiki Pool Party at the hotel pool. Sunday was the usual warm, wrap up and good-byes before people traveled home – Sunday brunch, some Hospitality fare and Games, then clean up began and we had the NH Mensa Special Business Meeting concerning this year's elections. Many thanks to Co-Chair John Lewicke for spearheading cleanup while many of the RG Committee members were delayed in that meeting.

Over the course of the weekend, Rich Conde, Movie Chair, manned the Movie Room with his entertainment selections and hosted the kids&' popcorn party. He also backstopped Youth Coordinator (and chapter Young Mensan Coordinator) Ben Thompson in hosting the Teen Lunch and Teen Pizza Party out of the Movie Room on Saturday. We didn't have a Gifted Children's Chair this year, so Julie Thompson coordinated the Toothpick and Marshmallow Sculpture Contest (the Bean and Spoon Race didn't materialize due to lack of participants) and Ben Thompson and I delivered craft materials, including those for a bead party, at staggered intervals throughout Friday night and Saturday to keep the younger folks entertained.

One of the most gratifying things about chairing an RG is overhearing membership feedback. During the months of planning, we brainstormed, we asked various members for input, we put out requests for volunteers in Momentum and on the website, but we really didn't start getting feedback until members arrived on site. A couple of things that I remember most were the comments of several folks coming through Registration saying that they were very pleased that the RG program was available on the NH website prior to the RG - we'll strive for that again. Mothers told me the 10XL t-shirt contest was the biggest hit for the kids. Several folks told me they really enjoyed the cheese tasting - that the selection of cheese and wines to sample was excellent.

Speaking of feedback, I would VERY much like to hear from you how we did this year, what you liked that was new, what you missed that was old, what was great, was less than spectacular, anything toward what needs improvement and what was a great hit that we want to bring back. Several folks mentioned the overwhelming appreciation for our own catering efforts concerning hot meals over the hotel Saturday dinner offering. We'd very much like to hear from other members how they feel about the traditional hotel-offered Saturday dinner and whether they'd prefer if we provided that meal, even if it meant additional RG registration cost to cover that. It all depends on your feedback and the number of volunteer staffers we have next year to make our own catering possible - it takes quite a bit of work and coordination for that portion of Hospitality. Please , or use the NH Mensa P.O. box address here or on the back of your Momentum if you have to use snail mail. I'm going to be working on the first draft of the RG Handbook, which will be nothing short of an invaluable collective effort by the veterans of this year's RG Committee and those past. It will probably be drafted as we go through the 2005 RG process, as this one was such a blur, due to the late start we got this summer.

Lastly, I'd really like to thank our speakers and staffers for all their efforts. The full RG 2004 Program can still be found from here for those who could not attend, and the full line of speakers are mentioned there along with their bios. The best attended workshops were Dann Maurno's "Paranormal as Early Science," Free State Project, Canterbury Shaker Village and Shoot for the Stars, but they were all well-attended. Our RG Committee members are listed in the back of the program as well, and I give them all a big thanks, especially Hospitality Chair Sue Barnes for the incredible amount of work Hospitality alone takes, and a special "thank you" to Deb Stone for coming all the way from California to be our Registrar this year.

To wrap things up, pictures can also be seen here, and, for all of you who took pictures at the RG but have not submitted them, we will wrap up the Best RG Picture Contest April 15th, so please get your pictures to , Bill Alleman or via the NH Mensa snail mail address. If you didn't get your RG t-shirt at the Granite Gathering, no fear! Email me, , and let me know your size and how many you want, I'll let you know what we have and give you the mailing address for your money order or check payable to "NH Mensa." It's $10 each for S-M-L-XL, and $12 each for 2XL or 3XL. Yes, if you want, we will sell you one of the remaining 10XL t-shirts!

Thank all of you 173 people who came and made this year's New Hampshire RG a record-breaking success! We hope you will enjoy your RG memories, and be thinking of them this time next year. We want you to join us again, if nothing else, to see how we deal with our dilemma of how to top this year's RG!

Actual Attendee Testimonials!
Submit yours!

John McGondel Walter Wakefield


Lost & Found

We found the following items left forlornly behind at the RG. Please email to retrieve them:

  • Faded orange polar fleece jacket
  • Kid's white plastic softball
  • Sunbeam alarm clock -- very small, metallic gray
  • Lion King hyena toy -- plastic, battery operated, with loops on the back
  • Adult's navy blue cloth visor with a "B" embroidered on the front
  • Kid's house slippers, size 3, navy blue plaid

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