Monday, May 12, 2008

Projection Dejection

I'm getting ready for RSA in Seattle next week, entering data for years eight and nine of what will be a twenty-years thick map, when I realized that I've been calculating the grid coordinates all wrong. The place markers draggg to the south and east with each new instance. Then again, that's the point (of one of the two panels I am involved with): wallow in your amateurism.

About RSA: Seattle from NY is a long, expensive trip. I called the Westin (i.e., the conference hotel) today to learn how much I would be paying for six nights of parking--six because we are making an extended family trip of it. The Westin gets $35 for parking. Eeeach night. Oh? That's more than the rental itself costs. I also read this about their Business Center on the Westin web site:

The following services are available in the Business Center:

  • $5.95 per 15 minute session.
The following services are available in the Business Center:
  • Time countdown window that allows each guest to see exactly how much time they have left in their 15 minute session.

I wouldn't quibble over a few bucks, normally, but my 07-08 conferencing fund was sapped by CCCC, and since RSA's theme is "The Responsibilities of Rhetoric," I have a conference-goers obligation to question whether it is responsible of me to shell out better than 200 chips to park a rental car for less than a week. After some thought, I decided: it's not. So I jumped on, grabbed a better deal (much better, in fact: two room suite for less per night than the Westin's "conference rate" and $10 parking), and doing so simultaneously motivated me to drop in a bid on a cheaper rental, which shaved $170 off of the bottom line of the vehicle rental for the six days we'll be out there. I can hear the Space Needle scratching up a grungy melody already. (Yes, consider this a plug for

Did I mention that this is my first RSA? Another first: the first time in four years that I will give a paper without projection of any sort other than vocal. No projector, no slideshow. Just me and my crumpled, sweat-dampened paper. And! a handout. Since 2004, since we moved to Syracuse, I have done eight live-in-person conference presentations. LED projectors have been available at every one of them. But my co-panelists and I learned last week that RSA could accommodate only 80% of the A/V requests. The conference provides six projectors (one is the old shadow-on-the-wall, bright-bulb-and-transparency type, another is a TV w/ VCR), so that makes six rooms with projectors and each room will hold panels during nineteen different time slots (A-S sessions, right?): 114 panels with projectors. And with just one more projector, another 19 panels would be accommodated (in this, the HQ of Microsoft). I suppose it sounds like I am grousing about this. I don't mean to. It's just that I find it surprising and a little bit disappointing, even if the total ratio of projectable panels, at 114/266, is over 40% (.429). Better than most conferences?

Bookmark and Share Posted by at May 12, 2008 10:00 PM to Slouching Toward

Welcome to RSA. Royal pain in the ass. I panicked when I saw that some rooms wouldn't even have overheads, which is my stock in trade, but fortunately my room is supposed to have one. Good Lord.

And yes, Seattle is ludicrously expensive (and my family asks when I'm moving back!), but it's gawgeous, and you'll enjoy yourselves.

Oh, and MS is across the lake. Downtown Seattle is the home of...what, these days? Overpriced retail, I think. :/

Posted by: susansinclair at May 13, 2008 3:37 PM

I've been to Seattle twice before, but I haven't spent a lot of time downtown (hit a few spots around the Space Needle in 1980, when I was in Kindergarten). Pricey like most major metropolitan centers, I suppose. But I was beginning to see that the Westin was going to be one of those sites that nickel and dimes you even after you foot the nightly rate. Resort fees for workout facilities. Connection fees for in-room wifi. Parking. I know that much of this is to be expected, but it makes me feel especially much like a graduate student who can't justify casting dollars upon dollars into the thin air.

About MS being across the lake: Couldn't they get a ferry to bring one more projector to the conference? No biggie, I guess, since my handout it almost finished.

Say, how good/bad/worth visiting is Mike's Chili Parlor? Is it as wildly indulgent and satisfying as the reviews make it out to be?

Posted by: Derek at May 13, 2008 3:52 PM

I've probably driven by that place a kabillion times and never even noticed it! But the guy out front seriously looks like he could be a member of my family...hmmm....

Posted by: susansinclair at May 14, 2008 2:55 PM

I learned of it here. Thought I might try it out for lunch one day.

Posted by: Derek at May 14, 2008 3:12 PM