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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Today was eventful.

After actually staggering out of bed at 7:30 to have breakfast (great waffles, mediocre eggs), we were herded to the Opening Ceremony, which was reasonable music, boring drivel from the ex-mayor of Texas, an amusing presentation by Baylor's ACM team from 1982, really boring drivel from the director of the ACM ICPC, a kinda cool IBM presentation, and boring "please work for us" drivel from IBM. I would say I only barely stayed awake, except I didn't stay awake for all of it. At least the theatre was dark enough I wasn't caught...

After that was a half-mile walk to a mediocre taco lunch, at which time we (for "we" being defined as the Washington University team) ran into the MIT team, including staticentropy. I wasn't at my best; the heat was putting me in a poor mood. After finishing eating (way too long a line...) I tried to join in the flinging around of a Frisbee that the MIT team plus several other people was participating in, but they got tired and were done right about as I headed over there. Oops.

After that was the first of two practice sessions, in which it was discovered that none of the teams could actually log in because they'd screwed up the passwords. After fixing that little blunder, we had to write a program on the difficulty order of "Hello World" and deliberately botch it to get experience with the PC2 system used for contest judging- it's a good system, but the practice is worth it.

It was revealed that the contest director here is a type-A personality, and that's being charitable to the man. Let's just say he was rather aggressive about wanting us to have our notebooks correct, including very loud and repeated definitions of the stunningly vague term "blank paper". Graph paper is not blank, but an engineering pad is. Unless the engineering pad is too finely ruled, or the graph paper isn't.

With how much value we got out of the "mandatory" opening ceremony, James and Albert decided to skip the mandatory Upsilon Pi Epsilon meeting which was supposed to be just... propaganda, really. But due to a reschedule, that's when they were handing out the $300 for teams just making it that far, which doubled as a roll call. I couldn't convince James and Albert to attend, but I did, so we got let off with a stern warning about not showing up for mandatory events rather than immediate disqualification. And I was there to pick up the form to fill out to get the $300. It will be made out to the CS department, so it's even odds at best as to whether or not we'll actually see any of it, but it beats not getting it at all by not being there to pick it up and not having a good "my airplane was two days late" excuse (like one of the teams from India); it's still not clear as to whether or not Georgia Tech got their $300, since they came in five minutes after the meeting adjourned. Or, for that matter, whether or not they're disqualified.

James heard about this over the telephone, yes.

After that was Practice Session II, which was of no value because we got no new information. So we wandered back to our rooms to rest; I caught up on e-mail in the lobby. (Sort of. And I'm on a public access computer now, which is convenient.) Then it was time for dinner, which involved us walking to the Alamo and discovering that "dinner" was chips and cheese dip and salsa, or wraps of lunch meat and enough onion that I was worried about my asthma, even if I did extract the onion. Of course, the entire team was sick of Texan food by now, so we plus the Duke team plus an IBM employee who found us interesting walked to a local Italian restaurant for dinner. (The Duke team got involved because Albert used to be from Duke, and he wanted to catch up with his classmates and old coach.)

James, Dr. Smart, and the leader of the Duke team all ordered beer and didn't get drunk, but got noticeably intoxicated. Which probably contributed to the assholetastic "it's what you're paid to do, get over it" response to the server's frustration at having to scan two credit cards a total of nine times to pay for nine meals when he suggested printing up one check, having us mark which of the two credit cards each meal should go on, and then doing them with two credit card scans. It took fifteen minutes instead of the three it should.

I was embarassed by that behavior. I found a (valid) reason to duck out early- the cigarette smoke from the adjacent table- and on the way out, apologized to the server. He was pretty pissed off, for good reason. He appreciated the apology, especially when he felt the $10 in my hand when I insisted on shaking his. Suddenly, he was in a better mood- I figure he needs something for the trouble of dealing with that when it was completely avoidable, just my professor being a jackass. There was an 18% tip automatically added to the cost because of the size of our group, but I still figured the apology and extra gratuity was in order.

And now I'm up on the 22nd floor, writing this post, and I think I'll head back down to the room and go back to bed now. I wonder if James (with whom I am roomed) is going to have a hangover in the morning.

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I hope there's nothing early tomorrow that would be jeopardized by a teammate with a hangover ...

I've already wished you good luck with the competition, but I think I'll wish you good luck on putting up with all the extra stuff that surrounds it as well as the actual competition itself.

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