Just got back from a 2 night trip to Orlando, FL for a summit about the US Census. It was dissatisfying on many levels but after griping about it for 2 days, I am now resolved to let it go and move on.
What I did find really useful was the connections with other people there. And the last segment about the actual census data make the demographer in me stand up and go squee!
However, what I enjoyed most was getting to know better people I already knew from Atlanta. People who I see at collaborative meetings, people I kind of know through work. Here, as we had to find lunch and dinners on our own, were great opportunities to get to know them better. Find out how many, if any, kids they have. Where their parents live, who takes care of them, how do they navigate being bicultural people. Where are they from?
I got to know better people from Nigeria, Kenya, France, Cambodia, Bhutan, and Arkansas via Nebraska. It was nice.
I also had lunch with someone who went to Dragon*con and so we talked about scifi. He's really into Battlestar Gallactica but we both like Firefly and so we had a great discussion about Sci Fi and Bring Your Own Subtext. His is religion and mine is race and gender.
Another good thing about the summit: I got a lot of knitting done. Knitting my stockingnette/reverse stockingnette scarf got me through hours of talking heads.