- free beer
- reunions with geology nerd friends/colleagues/GSA buddies from last year/profs/friends who are the authors of the textbooks from your u-grad education
- field trips
- making new GSA friends
- meeting the program director for the exact NSF grant you intend to apply for over free beers
I started this meeting off with a geology field trip called "cycling the Mississippi Gorge", it involved learning local geology, riding bikes, eating really yummy yogurt, making new GSA friends, and learning local "fun facts" like: when Minneapolis was emerging as an up and coming mill city it was also the biggest producer of prosthetic limbs, and no, not peg legs (I asked), real jointed top-of-the-line-for-the-early-1900's prosthetics. There was also this random park with giant polished slabs of hematite in it. And giant mirrors glued to other rocks. It was a little weird...
I was not presenting at GSA this year, but instead going to enjoy the meeting and be flashed momentarily on the 2011 Hall of Fame screen.
Oooh - there I am! Don't blink or you'll miss it! Really there was a big fancy (and extremely nerve wracking) luncheon with presentations and speeches and things. The 4 of us getting awards and our "citationists" (the people introducing us) all had to eat lunch awkwardly on stage while everyone in the audience got to eat their lunch while NOT sitting on stage, which would have been far more preferable.
There was an amazing quilt that someone had (painstakingly) made of the geology of Minnesota. Unbelievable!
I finished off the event with another field trip, although I completely FUBARed the original plan. I was supposed to go on a relevant field trip, but stupidly scheduled my flight back in the middle of the trip. Amazing. So, since I realized this exactly 1 week before the meeting I could not get a refund and changing plane/hotel would have been too expensive, so I traded trips. Unfortunately this other trip involved much less learning and cool geology and fun facts. I did find a handful of fossils, which I gave to a guy from New Zealand who couldn't seem to find any himself and was far too excited about these run of the mill crinoids and brachiopods.