1992 Annual Gathering of American Mensa

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Program book cover

The 1992 Annual Gathering of American Mensa, Pacific AG, was held in San Francisco, California (actually in the nearby town of Burlingame), at the Airport Hyatt Regency Hotel. It lasted from July 2nd through July 5th. Attendance was 1501. Dick Amyx was the AG chairman, a position he took over in midstream after the departure of the previous chairman; thus, some of the blame he got for things that went wrong at this AG may be undeserved.

One of the things that went wrong was the excursion to the Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum. This was advertised as including "a sumptuous buffet supper catered by an award winning caterer", but when attendees finally made it there (after a long wait for buses at the hotel, and a lengthy trip across town), they found only hors-d'oeuvres-style food, and an insufficient quantity of it; the paper plates also ran out. The food line was so long and slow-moving that it could take up to an hour to get whatever meager food might be found. The AG committee ultimately apologized to those who went on this trip, and refunded part of the $35 fee.

The hospitality suite was also criticized for relatively meager food (which perhaps was judged by the standard of the copious cuisine of the 1990 Orange County AG two years in the past). Reportedly, a greater quantity of food was prepared, but there were insufficient volunteers to bring it from the preparation areas to the hospitality rooms. In one famous (or infamous) incident, some attendees barricaded themselves in the hospitality suite bathroom (where the beer kegs were kept) to protest the policy of closing the suite at meal times (to the distress of the subset of Mensans who are accustomed to living on an exclusive diet of hospitality food for the entire length of the AG), and referred to it as the "Beer-O-Sphere" in homage to the "Biosphere 2" science experiment where some scientists remained in a hermetically-sealed environment. Depending on whom you ask, this was either a clever, courageous stand for freedom, or a disruptive, immature act of hooliganism.

Things weren't all bad, however; there were two Carnelli game sessions, a lucrative auction to benefit the Mensa Education and Research Foundation, and interesting speakers including author Richard Lederer and the popular "Dumb Things Smart People Do" talk by Abbie Salny. Many of the activities and games resulted in attendees being awarded cards with letters on them, which could be combined together (along with two letters each attendee got in their registration packet) to spell words, which scored points towards prizes. As usual, this AG proved entertaining and worthwhile for most of its attendees, regardless of the things that went wrong with it.

Registration and hotel fees

Registration for the 1992 AG was $35 by 12/31/1991, $45 by 3/31/1992, $55 by 5/31/1992, $65 by 7/1/1992, $70 after. The day rate was $35. There was a 4-meal dining plan for $79. The hotel room rate was $79 (single/double) or $89 (triple/quad).

External links

Preceded by:
1991: Kansas City
Annual Gathering of American Mensa
Succeeded by:
1993: Orlando