Thursday, July 28, 2005 ______________________________________________________________________________

Beach Barbeque Party 

Two days after I have returned from the conference and I've almost repaid my sleep debt.

Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP) 2005 was held in Parksville, B.C. at the beautiful Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort and Conference Centre. The first lesson I learnt was that if I ever wanted to organize a conference, I shouldn't organize it at a beachside resort on one of the best weekends in the Summer. I doubt I ever witnessed full attendance at any of the talks/presentations. To be fair though, the topics were so diverse (from Linguistics to Computer Science to Electrical Engineering...and pretty much everything in between) that it might have just been the case that not everyone present was interested in everything there was to be said.

I myself skipped out of that one poster session where everyone was talking about their various talking head models. I'm interested in the capabilities for obvious research reasons, but I'm really not all that turned on by how to make them work, and I really didn't have anything useful to suggest by way of improvements to the various systems. The beach is gorgeous. It was low tide when I walked out and the water was ankle deep for at least half a mile. The fine sand underfoot was squishy. Tiny crabs, pikes and very pretty mollusks scuttled and darted to avoid my gait. The horizon held overlapping mountains covered in lush evergreens. I could've stayed there forever. No wait, I couldn't have because I wasn't supposed to pontang any of the talks. From what I gather, that isn't even the best beach on the Island. The best beach is Long Beach in Tofino, a scant drive from where we were. I guess it is just as well that we held the conference in Parksville and not Tofino. At least the talks and presentations were decently attended.

Two out of the three nights culminated in a Barbeque in Eric's log cabin (I shared a log cabin with Jolien, Nicole and Victor). The meat was alternately charred on the outside and raw on the inside (and on occassion, simultaneously) but no one noticed because most everybody was at least a little drunk. Understandably the cost of the conference did not support the sometimes gratuitous drinking habits of the attendees, but that was solved when a call for liquor money was put out. Everyone was encouraged to chip in $10 (more if they felt that they drank much more than that, teetotalers were exempt) and people were surprisingly receptive to the idea. Not having a particularly high tolerance for alcohol (as documented by this) I only drank two cans of beer and two bottles of cider (hardly worth $10). Eric even bought some lamb that was cooked rather rarer than I appreciated, but was very good nonetheless. Pity I missed the banquet prepared by the resort on the last night. Apparently the lamb was unsurpassed, but Neuropsych was calling again. Seeing as how I need 96% for this, I figured that a well plated lamb was a price I had to pay.

Speaking of exams that I wouldn't mind doing well in, I have a developmental psych (infancy) final tomorrow. Ending the entry here seems like I price I have to pay for a ncie grade (I got 90% in the last exam).


posted by Joie! at 11:16 AM

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