Bad Feng Shui, Good solar system


Each exhibitor was set up with a rectangle table covered with the ANSI-standard White Top and Black Shroud (whose purpose is to prevent the table from looking as fugly as it really is).  It didn’t work well with the man-sized pop-up poster I came with, especially in the spot I had right up front.  I couldn’t move to the left because I’d be blocking a door.  I couldn’t move right because there was a pillar.  It was bad Feng Shui.  I was a cheap, plastic scuba diver toy from being in an aquarium.

The show host offered a smaller, taller round table.  This was a great solution, except they couldn’t affix my vendor sign on the front.  This made it indistinguishable from the other round table being used to hold dirty dishes trays.

You can see where this is going.

Any time I was gone for more than ten minutes to attend to any of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, something bad would happen to the spot.  By “bad,” I mean like my table would go missing with the stack of business cards and the 2Gb USB drives I was giving out.  The first time the hotel staff took it, it was kind of funny in the retrospective ironic way, “okay, bring it back.”   We finally got that straightened out.

The table’s proximity to the front, where the food and traffic were, made it an attractive area for people to convene.  I could have had some fun talking up the “captive” audience, but frankly, the spilling of partially-consumed food bits was gross.   When I was walking back to the table, some guy dumped his dirty orange juice glass on it.  (Insert daydream of asking him if Marcellus Wallace has wings.  ‘Cause he sure isn’t the dirty dish fairy.)  Sprawling out my stuff a little more felt territorial, but worked.

On the last day of the conference was very slow, a completely different group was holding meetings in the rooms near the exhibitors.  When they’d shuffle between rooms, they’d take the most direct route: through my display.  How you can not see a 6′ x 4′ black sign with a brightly-colored graphics of a plane dropping “intelligent payloads,” graphics of swimmers, floating plots of airplane, gas burners, and turbine performance? By noon, I hadn’t had any more visitors.  Rather than spend three hours worrying whether my display would survive a collisions, I rolled it up and left.  The inexplicably nice weather was too good to pass up.

Roar, baby!
Rowr'sup, geocacher?

I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around downtown Boston, seeking out geocaches.   The most memorable one was a scaled version of the solar system, hosted by Boston’s Museum of Science.  Logging the cache as “found” required one to find four planets and take one’s photo in front of the display.  I’d found “Jupiter” in Boston’s South Station during the peak of Friday rush hour.

“Mercury” was right outside the Museum of Science, and very easy to find.  “Venus” was up on the fourth floor of the glass-walled stairway of the Museum of Science parking garage.  With the … large scary bright yellow thing … out, the room was oppressively hot.  In July, you could probably fry bacon.  “Earth” was located next to Charles River, near the Royal Sonesta hotel. “Mars” was pretty challenging as it was inside the Cambridgeside Galleria.  After a lunch break, I walked the perimeter to triangulate likely positions.  The display was up on the second floor.  I wonder what mall security thought when I started taking photos.

I walked back to the museum to find the “sun” — Yes, Seattle has conditioned me to not easily recognize the brightest, hottest thing in our solar system.  I completely missed it the first time — and some additional geocaches on the way home.  According to the GPS, my total walking distance for the day was just over 17 miles.

I learned:

  • It’s very hard to take clear, self-photos in front of a scaled planet.  Full-size would probably be harder.
  • The emptiness in the solar system is mind-boggling.  I walked ~11 miles while visiting the sun, inner four (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars), and (re-visiting) Jupiter.  Covering the rest wouldn’t have been doable in one day, on foot.
  • The sun’s not as bright indoors.
  • Indoor geocaching is hard.
Solar System Compendium
Solar System Compendium

3 thoughts on “Bad Feng Shui, Good solar system”

  1. I love reading about your geocaching adventures! It sounds like the solar system cache was a nice (if exhausting) way to recover from the frustrations at the conference (argh!).

    Your dinosaur picture made me crack up. 🙂

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