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Trip Report: Cozumel and Florida

FDG is one of the few gaming conferences, so you tend to see a lot of the same people every year. The upside is that it’s actually like going to a big ol’ family reunion. Gillian and I are taking pictures of each other because we’re dorks.

Last week I was away at my Foundations of Digital GamesΒ (FDG) conference. It was lots of fun, although there wasn’t NEARLY enough talk about quilts. I did make sure to bring it up from time to time, though, so probably for everyone else there was a surprising amount of it. Of course my BFF Gillian was there, so I did get to talk quilts with someone who understood.

Liberty of the Sea, our home away from home for 5 days.


The conference was held on the Liberty of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) which was sailing to Cozumel. Most of my days I spent in the conference center which was on a lower deck that was underwater, so no windows.

See? Proof that there was a conference. (And that we academics can make anything sound boring.)


I made sure to take a picture to prove that there really was a conference going on.

I’m the one wearing the rather dizzying black and white dress.

On the shore day at Cozumel, there were no talks, so a bunch of us piled into taxis and headed to Chankanaab, a National Park.

The water was AMAZING! I wish I could have just snorkeled the whole trip!

It turns out that Mexico’s national parks are not exactly like American national parks, in that this was a very touristy place. On the other hand, the snorkeling was amazing! I was lucky enough to see a whole group of Caribbean Reef Squid (squad/shoal/school of squid depending on where you look) which were both beautiful and creepy!

When we started snorkeling, I noticed one of my advisors from my thesis committee pausing at the water’s edge.
Me: “You okay?”
Him: “Yes..I just don’t know why I’m doing this. I don’t like fish.”
Me: “You…don’t like fish.”
Him: “Yah, they swim at your face and stuff, I don’t like it.”
Me: “Snorkeling is awesome! What are the fish going to do with you anyway?”
Him: “I know you’re right. Okay I can do this.”
*He swims around a bit*
Him: “Okay you’re right. I’m calming down. This is amazing.”
*Gillian and I swim off*

When we get back…

If this scars, imagine how the tale will grow at each subsequent FDG.

Him: “Look at this!” *shows off red mark on his arm*
Him: “I got bit by a fish! You can see the teeth marks and everything!”

One of these things is more authentic than the other.

Seriously guys, who gets bit by a fish?! The person afraid of them, I guess!
After that, no one wanted to go back in the water, so we wandered around the park and saw the crocodiles and “Authentic” Mayan Ruins. Which were really replicas made in the 80s.

Crocodiles! They were sleeping with their mouths open. We think they were panting because it was rather brutally hot.

Then it was back on the ship for more talks.

Bye bye Cozumel!

The day we got back to Florida, Gillian and I were chosen for special screening by customs. “Oh you want to go through my suitcase full of a week’s dirty clothes? Um. Have fun.”

Our besties bracelets!

Customs guy: “What do you do for work?”
Me: “I’m a programmer.”
Customs guy: *makes notes on customs form, studies it a bit more.*
Customs guy: “What’s the primary language you use?”
Me: “Uh..English?”
Customs guy: “….”
Customs guy: “What’s the primary PROGRAMMING language you use?”
Me: *feels dumb*

In my defense, who expects a customs guy to ask about programming languages? Not me, apparently.

Airboat ride!!

After our 30 minute detour inside the creepily designed customs building, we were set free. (Seriously, I was going to take a picture despite the “NO PICTURES” signs, but figured I couldn’t exactly post it to my blog without them knowing I took it. You’ll just have to believe me that someone was paid a lot of money to make that place feel REALLY uncomfortable.)

This bird came right up next to our airboat while we sat in the grass waiting for gators to surface.


Our flights didn’t leave until later that evening, so Gillian and I rented a car and went on an airboat ride in the Everglades, which was AWESOME! I can’t help but smile when I’m on an airboat, they are just so cool.

Me with a baby alligator!!

Then we did the touristy thing and held the baby alligators, because DUDE. Baby Alligator!

This was when Gillian first got the alligator in her hand and she started baby talking to it while grinning from ear to ear.

After some cuban food for lunch, the long day of flights commenced, with Gillian heading back to Boston and me back to Santa Cruz. Our day had started at 6am Eastern, and we both got home at 3am Eastern/midnight Pacific. It was a VERY long day, butΒ such an amazing trip!

21 hour day, two boat rides, two plane rides, two car rides = one tired human and one VERY happy cat.

I’m already saving for next year’s FDG, where we’re going to try to hold a workshop on computational crafting. Next FDG: More quilts!



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