Perhaps the largest organized gathering of Cemetechians occurred two three nearly four weekends ago, ostensibly because of the Great ‘Merican Eclipse (Vol. 2). Click any of the images in this post to enlarge them

First on the itinerary was SIGBOVIK. This annual satire conference (a spoof on the ACM Special Interest Group series of conferences) is held at Carnegie Mellon University. kg583, commandblockguy, and I submitted a paper (paper here), and KG and I presented it (video there).

During the intermission we got to talk to tom7 about how broken TI-BASIC was, which he found very amusing. I, at least, had a blast and will probably submit to and attend future SIGBOVIKs, pending my availability :)

The next morning, womp, logical, and commandz got brunch and snapped the below picture before meeting up with KG and I for talk #2, this time at my university’s competitive programming club. KG, a noted Python golfer, presented a brief overview of the world of Python code golf. No good photos exist of this talk, but the slides are available.

We also got a “nice” I am in visible pain trying to focus a phone camera while staring into the sun photo of the five of us:

My partner’s birthday was around this time, so we had a small celebration. This was exciting both because of the gathering and because they haven’t had any kind of celebration for anything more or less since pre-pandemic times.

from left to right, the complete cast: kg583, KryptonicDragon, Kryptonic’s partner, Hedgehogs4You, commandblockguy, my partner, myself, Nik, Nik’s partner, LogicalJoe, mr womp womp

A bit of an aside here, a couple years ago my partner was interested in desktop paper cutters, but most of these are pretty trash. Cricut in particular seems to be very interested in locking users into their system. Actual “prosumer” or industrial vinyl cutters, however, usually just expose a serial interface and will do whatever you ask them to. Anyway, a few years ago, I got a truly amazing deal on a used Creation P630, but it arrived in relative disrepair.

While Hedge, Nik, and I wrangled with the hardware, Kryptonic and commandz did excellent work figuring out how to talk to the almost impressively dumb board on the vinyl cutter.

Not having any vinyl to cut, we used it as a plotter. Nothing excites a group of geeks like emulating long-gone technology– getting this to work was a great, unexpected joy of this trip; we only brought it out on a whim and it occupied a lot of our time.

This was our least-scheduled day, so lots of things happened at once.

We convened around lunch time at the local Panda Express to enjoy some orange chicken, a delicacy for the non-Americans.
We built the oh-so topical Lego set #42179, “Planet Earth and Moon in Orbit”. I carefully parallelized the instruction book, not for efficiency reasons but so that more people could participate in construction.

Further vinyl cutter shenanigans ensued, including printing dragon curves at higher iterations, speeds, and precision. We used it to print a mockup of the iconic Online Users sidebar, which reflects not only the Cemetechians who were present but also our guests. All in attendance got a copy, complete with a CE-style serial number and replete with signatures.

Kryptonic and KG each brought card games to play, which entertained and provided ample socialization.

This was the momentous day, whence the moon and star joined in a rare and spectacular display.

We played Mahjong with commandz and went on a brief hike through the nearby trails.

Our locale proved almost immaculate for viewing the eclipse, as you can see in this extremely blurry photo

Many of us had to depart shortly after totality, but we could not have asked for a better conclusion to this meetup: an event of cosmic proportions to reward the planning of cosmic proportions it took to get us all in one place for the weekend.

N.B: This grew a little bit larger (both in length and in scope) than the average Candids post so we collectively decided that a thread was more appropriate.
The vinyl cutter plotting a dragon curve:

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