Tourists of the Ohio Rivarrrrrrrr

An one-hour “complimentary reception […] open exclusively to […] Corporate Members and Exhibitors interested in
corporate membership
.” followed the show yesterday.

Sales pitch off the starboard bow! Whoop. Whoop. Whoop.

The exhibit staff made sure I knew I was invited: they placed a
brochure on my laptop keyboard; two people came by with reminders;
and, while I was wandering out, one supplied a course correction to the
shindig. When I saw a standing-room only crowd helping themselves
to crab-stuffed mushrooms, I did the
” and left. Crowds in cramped quarters make me uneasy.

Later in the evening was a riverboat dinner cruise. The prospect of 700+ people crammed onto a boat tweaked my unease, but I went because I figured the deck would a refuge if I needed.

Suspension bridge
Roebling Suspension Br.

Once the Cincinnati Belle set sail, The Voice apprised of The Plan: people were to
find seats; staff would manage the queue to the buffet — I think this
was called “Captain’s Choice” even though the captain was upstairs,
enjoying the view. Seats were sardined business meeting style,
so I wandered up to the top of the ship to take photos
of the cool bridges we went under.

purple people bridge
Purple People Br.

When the lines thinned out, I found a seat next to the (also) introverted
chief technical officer at a large industry-relevant company. Dinner
was so-so: bland chicken breasts smothered with brown, viscous glaze; vegetable
medley in ecru sauce; starch au gratin; and ANSI standard dinner rolls with
optional decorative seed coating. (This is my equivalent of food-punchiness.)
A Dixie-style band played underneath a teeny disco ball.

Dan Beard Br.

The compactness and noise was airline-uncomfortable. I excused myself and
went outside to enjoy the evening breeze. As the sun dipped below the tree line,
people congregated on the top deck. I moved two decks down, finding a comfy chair
near the front of the boat.

I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, but there was one guy who just
talked and talked and talked. Initially, he introduced himself as the
great grandson of the founder of a town thirty miles down river. He soon
became entertaining name-dropping:

I told Carl Sagan we should ‘strip mine the moon for Helium-3’
just to mess with him

and then talking about the suppression
of high-resolution images of “The Mars Anomalies
including references to
(and reminded me of the excellent (1993) DOS game
Enemy Unknown
). His audience wasn’t nibbling, so he moved onto verifiable
topics like Russian heavy rocket technology, the hydrogen affinity of
palladium, fusion (e.g., cheap energy means we could desalinate, creating gardens in the desert), and magnetic levitation trains on the moon to transport all that Helium-3. The guy I sat next to at dinner was a rocket scientist, and corroborated most of the information, adding his own insights. Better than TV!

Traffic at the booth was so brisk this morning that I missed out on the free
lunch. About the time I was going to take a bio-break, the exhibit staff excitedly announced that Ohio Governor
Ted Strickland had finished
his lunchtime keynote and might be visiting the exhibit hall. (“He’s on his way – put your pants on!”) The honorable governor stopped only at the five organizations based
in the Buckeye State – not that I expected differently. I just wished there had been an “Elvis has left the building” announcement.

мы будем дольше вы

They ought to have just ended the exhibition then but, inexplicably, had us committed
through 4pm. Around 2pm, the first vendor “cracked”
and packed up his exhibit. Around 3pm, the company up front that had been
giving away foam slingshot “rocket” tchiochkes tore into their reserve and launched a preemptive
strike into the other booths. Mayhem followed as the thirty-, forty-
and fifty-somethings forged alliances against the twenty somethings.

Finally, at 4pm, the show was over and exhibit tear down began. This, too, was
amazing because the place comes apart quickly. The crews move in to pull up
all of the carpet and haul out the crates used to pack boxes. Mine fits into a small,
rollable case. What took me almost an hour to set up was about 25 minutes to
neatly take it down.

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