Back on the road and on the stage

I went to Boston Mensa’s Wicked Good RG this weekend. It was a bit smaller than in the past (but then again, what convention isn’t these days?), but it was a very good time. Most of that, of course, was due to seeing friends in person who I hadn’t seen in almost two years. But I also got a chance to play a few strategy-type games, which I hadn’t been able to do in a long time, so I enjoyed that.

And I gave a brand-new talk, one that I finished writing (oops!) about twelve hours before we left home to get there. It was my first time on a live stage since before the pandemic, so getting my legs back under me to interact with a live audience was a bit nerve-wracking, but I quickly fell into the old rhythms (I really do love being on that kind of stage). And the audience was quite enthusiastic, so I’m going to polish the talk a bit more. If your group would be interested in hearing about “Punctilious Punctuation,” let me know. I describe it as “telling tales with (and of) those jots and tittles, including why they’re called jots and tittles, and the horrifying story of why the period goes inside the quotation marks.” And the long-form write-up is:

What sets humans apart from the animals is our ability to miscommunicate with language. With thoughts, ideas, musings, and maunderings on what we’re trying to communicate, with a plethora of words meaning almost exactly the same thing, we stumble to communicate; sometimes even to think. But as confusing as all those words are, they would be much, much harder to understand if it weren’t for the punctuation we use—when writing—to divide them, group them, emphasize them, and combine them. The horror of texting (and newspapers’ space-saving attempts) may be responsible for turning punctuation into a dying art form. But Ian Randal Strock posits that punctuation is not only necessary, but beautiful, evocative, meaningful… and a heck of a lot of fun. Come listen to this talk… if you dare. You may find yourself agreeing that the “schmutz” on the page really deserves our love.{[(‘/’, “;”, ‘:’)]}

fivervcsThe weekend was also remarkable for a certain group of attendees. We managed to take a picture with five of the six Region 1 Regional Vice Chairman who are in attendance. Left to right are: Lisa Maxwell (2015-17), Deb Stone (1999-2000), Teresa Campbell (2021- ), Lori Norris (2007-11), Ian Randal Strock (2017-21). Not pictured, but at the RG: Andrew Heffernan (2011-15). And talk about Mensa leadership positions: Lisa also served as Secretary. Deb was Chairman and Treasurer (the first person to serve on the AMC in another role after serving as chairman), and is currently a trustee of the Mensa Foundation. Lori is currently the First Vice Chairman, and was Secretary. And I’m currently the Secretary of the American Mensa Committee (the board of directors of this member-led organization).

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