Events in 2012

Events in March, 2012

On the 14th, the Pi was excellent!
March 14, 2012, we met at the Golden Corral in Rock Hill. In addition to the usual dessert fare, we were treated to Pi courtesy of Kristen K. Abernathy, Ph. D., from the Winthrop University Mathematics Department.

That’s right, we met on 3.14, or Pi Day. Dr. Abernathy gave us a brief history of the number – how it was discovered, mathematicians who have devoted their lives to calculating digits of pi, the different values used in different cultures.

PiDay2Dr. Abernathy then showed the results of modifying the distance formula, normally restricted to the Cartesian plane. While most of us think of Pi as fixed, she demonstrated (complete with video) that the value does depend on how we calculate the shortest distance between two points. Surprisingly, the irrational value we try to approximate is the minimum.

Kristen Abernathy is a first year professor at Winthrop University. She received her Masters in mathematics from Wake Forest University in 2006 and her PhD in mathematics from North Carolina State University in 2011. She lives in Rock Hill with her husband Zach (also a mathematics professor at Winthrop University) and her son Justin (a pi enthusiast).

And Games Night was fun!

BalderdashOn the 28th, Joyce Borst hosted a Games Night – bring your favorite, or play one of hers. We started the evening with Rummykub, and then moved on to Balderdash – both good games.

Rummykub (a Mensa Select game, 1999) is based on Rummy-style runs and sets, but uses tiles instead of cards. In Balderdash, most of the players create fake (but hopefully plausible) definitions for uncommon words. But one gives the real definition – and everybody tries to guess which is which.

But we did get a slow start at Fringe….

We tried a new location in a more central location, but it didn’t work very well. Turned out the restaurant is PACKED on Friday evenings, so they have a policy that requires all parties to order together and be seated together. Makes sense, but doesn’t work well for us.

The early arrivers reportedly never made connections, and the late arrivals took what looked like the only open tables – outside. Fortunately, the warm spring weather made that a pretty pleasant option.

Events in April, 2012

Main event: Camp At Kings III

Village1Over the weekend of April 13-15, our group of campers made the third annual trip to Kings Mountain State Park, outside of Blacksburg, SC.

The weather this year was excellent, with our biggest challenge being a chilly Friday night. Saturday was beautiful hiking weather.

After some discussion last year about the length of some required night hikes, we decided to make things easier on our chronologically enhanced campers. So we expanded our equipment and brought in our own chemical facilities.

Fortunately, we weren’t here for the major windstorms last summer. That rootstock in the background really is six feet high. And the trunk attached to it is roughly 15 to 18 inches in diameter.

Complete with history lessons!

Every time I visit a revolutionary era site, I’m reminded of the huge difference air conditioning has made in our life styles. Cooking outside wasn’t just a pleasant option in this region, it was essentially a necessity during the summer. Why heat your living quarters during a Carolina July??

As you probably saw in the IdioM, the cotton gin was rather large. The entire ground floor was dedicated to providing power, with room enough for two horses or mules to turn the main drive beam. Gearing and leather belts then transferred the power up into the second story, where the actual processing was done.

Events in May, 2012

There was the End Of Time …

GreenvilleGroupWell, at least a PARTY for the end of time. The weekend of May 19-21, a group of C/BR members and guests made the trip to the Regional Gathering in Greenville, SC.

There were actually more of us there – we knew of three other Charlotte folks that weren’t around when we took this picture. If that includes you, sorry! We really did look.Speakeasy
Among other presentations, some of the Saturday events shared a theme bringing the Prohibition era to mind. A morning session debunking wine myths, an afternoon session on legal moonshine in South Carolina, and the evening party in the “Speakeasy”, complete with required password.


Legal moonshine, you ask? Joe Fenton, President and co-founder of Dark Corner Distillery explained it. Similar to a mirobrewery, a micro distillery is licensed for limited production.

PuzzleFloorI know, I’m probably just weird…. but I thought it was neat that we were at a Mensa event in a hotel that provided built-in puzzles.

Which way IS Room 228, anyway?

… and a Monthly Mensa Mixer!

Lawrence Toppman, who has been writing for The Charlotte Observer and now-defunct Charlotte News for 32 years, shared his philosophy as a movie critic.

In short, he believes that the critics job is not to decide that a movie is “good” or “bad”. The critics job is to describe the experience clearly enough that the reader can decide if they would enjoy it. No spoilers, of course – but there are a lot of ways you can compare one movie to another without revealing the plot.


In explaining how that can be difficult, he used analogies from his experience as a food critic. Terms such as “delicious” or “perfectly spiced” are subjective enough to become almost meaningless.


After he opened the floor for questions, hands went up all over the room and kept going up until we realized it was almost closing time. We did take a few fun minutes at the end for a door prize drawing, before we left.

June of 2012 was a bit more relaxed…

The MMM was a Genealogy Update.

200YearUpdateDave Birley (an avid genealogist since 1987) did an updated presentation on genealogy. Just in the last three years, genealogy has undergone an immense overhaul. Computer resources have made searching more comprehensive and infinitely simpler. The selection of powerful software programs that allow you to integrate your home data with that online has grown tremendously. Dave reviewed some of those changes, and reemphasized his belief that the most important genealogy you can record is the “here and now”.

There were also drawings for door prizes. Cheesy, you say? Well, yes… specifically a blend of shredded parmesan, asagio, and romano.

These weren’t the only events, of course. Reports came in about a very good Tuesday Lunch, and the third Friday Lurching Toward Oblivion was well attended. Both events included the usual excellent conversaton – but it seems nobody was there with a camera.

July saw some big events…

First we got a new ExComm.

We do it every year, and 2012 was no exception. May balloting elected the incoming members of the Executive Committee, who take office July 1st. And the first order of business is to elect the Local Secretary for the coming year.

For 2012/2013 it will be Dave Birley, in white. For full minutes of the meeting, see the 2012 Minutes page.

Then we had another picnic!

As usual for our picnics, we were well supplied with good food – nobody complained about going home hungry! The Gourmet SIG chose American food for their July meeting, and offered to share their expertise with the rest of us.

It wasn’t as sedate as it looks, though. There was a lot of swapping seats for the older members to change conversations, and the younger group got into some yard games. The bubble blowing contest was fun to watch.

The October Speaker Meeting

At the MMM in October, 2012, Chris Emanuel presented “How to fly from Charlotte to London — A pilot’s perspective”. During his career as a management pilot and international captain for U.S Airways, Mr. Emanuel earned over 29,000 hours of national, international and simulated flight time.
Chris is also known for his portrayal of “Captain Cy Emerus” on the nationally syndicated radio show “Trends, Taste, & Travel”.

In November, we gained a playwright!

Former ExComm member (and recently certified Proctor) Jefferson Fortner has written a play. It was presented for the first time, as a staged reading, at Gaston College Myers Auditorium on Thursday, November 8.

Here’s the cast:ProhibitionsCast
Standing, leff to right: Mike Farmer (Director) and Jefferson Fortner (Author)
Seated, left to right: David Mattucci, Laura Hines, and Jacob Watts
(Playing Alex Daniels, Cassie Daniels Burden, and Tom Burden)
On floor, left to right: Amy Paige and Brian Weaver
(Playing Callie Daniels and Jamie Daniels)

After revisions, a full performance was planned as part of Gaston College’s 50th anniversary celebration in April.

Naturally, some of our other members made a point to attend. Our current Deputy Local Secretary Nancy Campbell congratulated Jefferson after the reading. And thank you to Local Secretary Dave Birley for the pictures!

In December, we partied!

Of course, we started with our Christmas Party on December 7th. Dave arranged an icebreaker game with questions for everyone, and those giving the most interesting answers had the opportunity to raid his socks. (No, he wasn’t wearing them… they were stuffed with coins.)

We had a good turnout, including several who were attending their first event. The icebreaker started some conversations about the answers, so had a good opportunity to get aquainted.


The White Elephant Gift Exchange went quickly, with an unusually low number of gifts being “stolen”.



On the 21st, we partied like there was no to-maya! On the much discussed last day of the Mayan calendar, we went back to one of our frequent venues (the Golden Corral in Matthews) for an End Of The World Survivors party. Nancy arranged a “Bingo” type game based on various members histories, and we enjoyed comparing notes on who met the conditions for each block. It was also nice to have our RVC and his wife join us – Bob Cox, in the white sweater, and Mary Ann Cox, half hiding behind Nancy.

There was more, but…

Most of these pictures were taken by the Webmaster – the good ones are probably from someone else. We can always use contributions! If you consider yourself a decent photographer, just send your pictures to the Editor and/or Webmaster.

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