KC Meetup After-Action Review

I have thanked the attendees privately via e-mail but wanted to post some thoughts here. Leading off with a plus/delta exercise, because this situation needs a quality tool …

+

Δ

  • highly enthusiastic and convivial attendees
  • excellent weather
  • fun events
    • Friday night in the Crossroads
    • Saturday morning brunch, also in the Crossroads
    • WWI museum
    • legendary KC BBQ, dined al fresco due to good weather
    • Sunday morning brunch at Union Station
    • Truman Library
  • good discussion during “symposium”
  • my circadian rhythm, as affected by my work schedule
  • at least three attendees had to cancel only a day or two before the meetup weekend
  • communication gaps may have prevented at least two more from attending
  • low number of formal presentations during “symposium”
  • no video of “symposium”
  • parking challenges
  • one relatively expensive meal

Lessons-learned database entries:

  1. Reaching back a bit to the Denver meetup in late April, a twice-a-year, spring/fall rhythm seems like a good idea.
  2. The overall structure of a Friday night kickoff get-together, then ~4 activities on Saturday (including 2 meals), then a brunch and one more optional activity on Sunday, seems about right.
  3. There is pretty much no such thing as too much communication.
  4. Lead time should be at least a couple of months, and 3 – 4 months is better.
  5. The expectation of structured presentations/discussion should be clearly set, and prospective attendees should be encouraged to have something to deliver in the 20 – 40 minute range.

I am uncertain about future locations. I want to think that central US, generally longitudes 85° – 105° W, is preferable. We’ve done Denver and KC; the next two obvious possibilities are Chicago and D/FW.

Admittedly, if I could get away with it, I’d just keep having them in KC. It’s very centrally located and (mostly) cheap, and I’m confident I can get us free/extremely cheap conference-room space even if attendance grows well into double digits.

Anyway, feedback/suggestions welcome.

 

Newspeak

In addition to the other corruptions of our major national establishment and institutions, I think that I am most annoyed by the corruption of language. Certain euphemistic terms have come to be kind of newspeak in the Orwellian sense. In themselves such expressions are bland, anodyne and seemingly harmless, but what they mean in reality is horrific. Reproductive health care; that sounds so much better than ‘abortion’. Gender-affirming health care instead of ‘amputating breasts and male genitalia, surgically removing vaginas and massively administering puberty-altering drugs’. ‘Diversity, equity and inclusion’; there’s another harmless-sounding term, which actually means conformity, hamstringing the talented, and exclusion of the designated disfavored categories of people. ‘Disinformation’ is a much more elegant term for information that may discomfit the progressive ruling class or counter the established narrative, and ‘systemic racism’ means that minority criminal offenders are automatically excused, no matter how violent or vicious the crime they are charged with.
So, what other examples of corruption of the language can you suggest? What other newspeak terms have, as the expression has it, gotten your goat in a big way. Add in the comments.

REMINDER: ChicagoBoyz KC Meetup, 10/7-9

Original post here; minor schedule changes reflected in the version below. I will be sending an e-mail to known likely attendees shortly after this post appears and will follow up as needed with any additional prospectives.

When Friday 7 – Sunday 9 October; details below
Where Kansas City; Missouri side and generally downtown-ish; details below
lodging should be in or generally near ZIP code 64108
Who ChicagoBoyz contributors, fans, and general associates; if you have not already done so, provide an e-mail in comments, using such discreet conventions as “john [UNDERSCORE] doe [AT] provider [DOT] com”, unless you know that I already have a good e-mail for you, in which case just indicate that you hope to attend
Why primary objective is fun
secondary objective is exchange of interesting ideas

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Another Texas Road Trip

We took Wee Jamie on another road trip, this last weekend. My daughter and I have decided that we should dedicate one day a week to “Not Doing Work Stuff” – and have an outing of at least half a day, doing something … something diverting. This long weekend demanded a whole day of ‘Not Doing Work Stuff.’ My daughter suggested a road trip to Fredericksburg, and I thought that we should check out the Museum of the Pacific War, as it has been at least five years since I visited it. It was indisputably the last war which we won, after all. The first time I went to the War Museum was maybe in 1995 – when it was all still contained in the old Nimitz Hotel on Main Street, and an annex down the road – IIRC, a side-less pole barn. (And Fredericksburg was still a sleepy little town with an attractive Main Street, with local-oriented business situated in profitable commercial real estate, where they tended to close shop and roll up the sidewalks at about 5 PM. Well, that has come to a screeching halt, I assure you.)

We took the back way, to Fredericksburg, after stopping at a local restaurant for a breakfast which turned out to be more substantial than expected – a local outlet for the Maple Biscuit Company. The fresh-squeeze orange juice was fantastic, and yes, I would know about all that, having grown up with orange trees in the back yard. The biscuits and sausage gravy were so generous and so good that we were resolved to split an order next time. (This was the last place I saw anyone wearing a mask, BTW. The staff were all masked-up.) The back way to Fredericksburg meant driving up 281 to Johnson City, passing memories all the way; Blanco, where we had done market events at the Old Courthouse, and where once we scored some amazing deals at an estate sale at an old house just off the highway. Johnson City, where we had a wonderfully fun three-day long market one year, for the lighting of the Courthouse, the weekend after Thanksgiving. (We had to stay two nights for that in a cabin at the Miller Creek RV resort, which meant that we barely broke even.)

Johnson City, when I first went through in the late 1990s, was sad and depressing in comparison to Fredericksburg. It seemed to be hanging on based on the relation to LBJ, the Johnson ranch and various residences where LBJ’s family had lived. Now it is the beginning of the Texas Wine Road and has a new lease on tourist life. Some years ago, I had suggested that the Hill Country had all the components save castles, villas, and quaint hilltop towns to become the New Provence, since they produce such Frenchified specialty items as lavender, wine, olive oil, goat milk cheeses … and wine. Oh my gosh, have they gone into producing wine. Someone has even built a castle! The usual maps of the Texas Wine Road usually include only the top twelve or fifteen of the biggest and most well-established of the wineries along 290 – or at least, those with the flashiest central building. As we discovered, just about every commercial or retail business along that road was posted as a winery, and even a couple of places, like Wildseed Farms, which initially specialized in some other commodity – like peaches or wildflower seeds – had added on a wine tasting room. If you started at the two wineries just outside Johnson City to the south and stopped at every single winery or tasting room and had a single glass … your liver would be screaming for mercy when you got to Stonewall, and you’d be on the list for a liver transplant once you got beyond Fredericksburg itself.

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ChicagoBoyz KC Meetup, 10/7-9

[7/13 UPDATE: Truman Library substituted for Nelson-Atkins]

So, I shot my mouth off at the Denver meetup about doing the next one in KC, and Jonathan reminded me yesterday that I should set a date. I knew I wanted to do it before the midterms, and looking at my calendar, the first weekend of October is best, so there you go.

Strawman schedule:

  • Friday (7th) evening
    • First Friday in the Crossroads (north-central portion of ZIP code 64108); we will meet at a predetermined spot and poke around for at least a couple of hours
  • Saturday (8th) morning
  • Saturday (8th) afternoon
    • MAIN SESSION, venue TBD but probably ~25 min S of museum
    • early dinner, B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ, 5 min from probable main session venue
  • Saturday (8th) evening
    • weather-dependent: Powell Observatory, Louisburg, KS, ~35 min from B.B.’s
    • alternatively, we just hang out at B.B.’s for the live music or go somewhere quieter nearby, 5-10 min away
  • Sunday (9th) morning/afternoon
    • brunch, venue TBD
    • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 10 min from downtown Truman Library, Independence, 20 min E of downtown KC

Next Steps/Non-Steps:

  • Interested parties, provide contact info in comments, using such discreet conventions as “john [UNDERSCORE] doe [AT] provider [DOT] com”, unless you know that I already have a good e-mail for you, in which case just indicate that you hope to attend.
  • Airport code is MCI, due to early-’70s optimism about trying to name it “Mid-Continent International.”
  • I don’t pick a hotel, but you are advised to begin your search in 64108.
  • A vehicle is a sine qua non in the KC metro, which is physically large and low-density, with all that that implies. You may wish to coordinate/combine with other attendees.
  • In general, the above venues except for the Nelson will have some kind of admissions charge, and the Nelson gets you on parking (typically $10).
  • The “main session” will be in a conference room and ideally consist of multiple ≤ 30-minute presentations, each of which is followed by Q&A/discussion. I may attempt to get this video’d. You will need to let me know if you expect to be a presenter.