Past RG Programs

 

 

 

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Schedule

The following is the tentative schedule for SynRG 2015. This will be updated as we finalized and confirm with our speakers. You can find details on the program below.

* denotes a kids program

Friday, May 22

4:00p - Registration Opens

7:00p - Poolside Mensa Mingle

9:00p - Moth-style Story Telling

11:00p - Carnelli

 


Events

 

Pride O' Bedlam

Be ye a captain or lowly swabbie "The Pride of Bedlam" has something for your sea chest. If you are searching for a bunch of rum drinking, sea shanty slinging pirates look no further. For 8 years the crew has tellin' tales and singin' songs to drink and roar along with, so bring a yo ho ho and a bottle of rum and prepare yourselves for a piratical good time with the captain and crew of the good ship Pride O' Bedlam.

The Pride O' Bedlam will be traveling from their home at the Sea Devil Tavern at the Texas Renaissance Festival to join GCM and kick off our Saturday night. Piratical costumes are not required, but they are HIGHLY encouraged.

 

Sundown Karaoke

Our Saturday night party will conclude with karaoke and music for your listening and dancing pleasure. Sundown Karaoke's songbook is over 500 pages long. If you want to sing it, the chances are pretty good that they've got it!

Houston native and Gulf Coast Mensa member Jim Morris has been performing Karaoke and DJ shows throughout the Houston area since 1999. He believes that there is music in each of us, and with enough coaxing (and perhaps a dose of alcohol) it can be brought to the surface and shared.

 

Moth-style Story Telling

This is a storytelling event for YOU to come share your stories, or listen while other members spin their yarns! The stories can be true or made-up, happy or sad, or somewhere in-between.

Examples of Moth-Style storytelling can be found at:

http://themoth.org/
http://www.youtube.com/user/mothstories

Sam Beckerman, member of Lone Star Mensa is hosting this popular event for the second time.

 

SynRG Carnival

Don’t miss one of our most popular events of the weekend - the SynRG Carnival!! On Sunday night from 9:00pm to midnight come and enjoy your favorite games and booths, including the perennially popular spaghetti towers!

 

SynRG Poolside Mixer

Be sure to arrive in time on Friday night to mix it up with your fellow Mensans for a lovely, informal, night time poolside get together. Some light snacks will be available, beverages can be brought from hospitality (no glass please) and bring your swimsuit to take a dip! More details to come!

 

Mensa Admission Test

The Mensa Admission Test is offered for the convenience of those individuals interested in joining Mensa who either: 1) do not have a qualifying intelligence test score on a previously-taken exam (see partial list), or 2) prefer to take the admission test.

This test is intended for individuals 14 years of age or older, so if you are between 14 and 17, you must have parental permission to take the test.

The Mensa test has two parts, so you'll have two chances to qualify for Mensa membership!  Allow 2 hours total for the two tests.  The standard Mensa Admission Test features "fill in the blank," "which item comes next," and "which one doesn't belong" sorts of questions, as well as some math and vocabulary.

As an added bonus, anyone who sits for the test is invited to stay and enjoy Saturday at the RG at no cost..

To sign up, please contact our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Name That Movie!

John & Geri Neemidge

Name That Movie consists of short clips from about 40 movies. Each movie clip presents one or more themes. We ask that you identify each movie and the themes. Play as individuals or as a team of up to 6 members. We try to make each clip interesting on its own, so even if you don't know movies very well we hope the game will be entertaining. Clips (not the movies themselves) are chosen to be PG or G rated. We'll provide a key with information about each movie and themes at the end. 

 

Silent Auction & Raffle

Various items donated by GCM members as well as some of the speakers will be auctioned. Smaller items will be raffled off with auction tickets. Auction tickets are given to attendees who exhibit particularly worthy behavior, tell particularly good (or bad) jokes or puns or bribe the Ticket Fairies with cash. Higher value items will be available for the silent auction. The proceeds will be given to the GCM Scholarship Fund.

 

Weird Owl Wine Tasting

Join us for the unveiling of Gulf Coast Mensa's Weird Owl Leibfraumilch, hand bottled by our very own members at this February's Meeting of the Wines! Our own Katie Pira will be leading the tasting. Enjoy a glass of wine and nibble some chocolates and crackers as we vote on what to make for next year's wine. Come mingle with some Mensans and help us continue one of our most popular traditions!

Katie has been a Mensa member since 2011 and served on the Board of Directors for 3 years. She's worked hard to come up with new and interesting activities for our members and Meeting of The Wines has been one of her crowning achievements. 

 

 

Make Your Own Slime

Jennifer Sheffield

Come get your hands dirty making your own slime.

Jennifer is an elementary school teacher in Katy ISD and member of Gulf Coast Mensa.

 

Altered Altoid Tin Craft

Leslie Stevenson

Learn how to repurpose your old Altoid & other small tins into mini-altars, gift boxes, sewing and other small kits, games and more using mixed media techniques. Lots of materials will be included, but if you want to bring your own small toys, mementos, photos, and kit supplies, which would fit into a small, please feel free! Bring your own tins or we will have a few on hand.

Leslie is the Assistant LocSec of Lone Star Mensa. She also was the 2014 LoneStaRG Chair. She's very excited to actually host this craft and hopes her body will cooperate this time!


Speakers

 

Communicating with Resonance in a Global World

Mariam Haddad

(1) We are the Instrument of Communication
(2) Creating Clear Function of Our Internal Communication Microsystems (auditory process and listening beyond internal bias)
(3) The Result of Resonance - Being Heard

Mariam was raised in a tight-knit Middle Eastern community in the U.S. surrounded by the Mexican culture. She has enjoyed performing leading roles in operas as well as in solo and chamber music recitals as both pianist and singer, nationally and internationally, on stage, television and radio. Her extensive training, coaching and performance background gave her the tools through which she found her inner voice and understood that we are each an instrument of communication playing a global symphony.

 Mariam is passionate about assisting the people around her to be their most vibrant selves, to create the greatest resonance possible in all of their interactions and to resonate as a part of the larger harmonic structure that emerges when humanity can connect beyond cultural identity, varied perspectives, gender, age and race. Fluent in English and Spanish, Mariam also sings in 9 different languages.

She has been a featured speaker at: TEDx Houston, The Business Maker’s Show, University of Houston Bauer School of Business, Boeing, NASA, The Diversity Summit, The OCA Leadership Forum, Shell, BP, Chevron and other Fortune 500 Companies.

 

Complete - Separation and Connection in the Everyday

Patrick Miller

A conversation on "Complete" and the concept of separation and connection in the everyday. The conversation will follow seven basic metaphors of Foundation, Flow, Soldify, Sublimity, Dying, Separation and Connection as a basic theological understanding for what a I believe leads to a mature, whole, and complete life.

The Rev. Patrick J. Miller Received his BA from Austin College in Communication and Philosophy in 1990.  He received his MDiv from the Seminary of the Southwest in 2000.

In February 2008, Patrick became the ninth rector of St. Mark’s church and school.  He serves as Executive Chairman of the school, and as a member of the St. Mark’s Endowment Board. He serves the Diocese of Texas as a member of the Executive Board, the Episcopal Foundation of Texas, as Trustee of the Seminary of the Southwest, and as a Trustee of Camp Allen.  He has recently served as a deputy to The General Convention.  He has served as Dean of the East Harris Convocation, secretary of The Standing Committee, the Bishop’s Transition Committee, and Diocesan Youth Ministry transition committee.  Outside of the parish he serves as president of the board of the Christian Community Service Center.  He has served the board of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston.  He is an alumnus of The Texas Lyceum.

Patrick has served as Canon for Christian Formation, Christ Church Cathedral, and as assistant rector of St. Richard’s, Round Rock, Texas.  As youth minister he served St. Alban’s, Austin Texas, Christ Church Greenwich, Connecticut, and the Waco, Texas, Episcopal Youth Community.

 

Teen Meet & Greet

Emily R.

Did you know that Mensa isn't just for adults? Whether you are a member yourself or a child of a member, come meet other teens in the area. 

Emily is a teen member who joined Mensa in 2014. She's looking forward to hosting regular teen events in the GCM area.

 

Music and Mathematics:  From Fractions To Fourier

Jack Follis

This program with give a general overview of the mathematics behind music.  Topics include basic mathematical concepts, probability, group theory, and Fourier Series and their relation to different musical concepts such as, tunings, harmonics and rhythm.

Jack Follis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Cooperative Engineering at the University of St. Thomas.  In addition to his interest math and music, his research interests include sports analytics, neurological/biolgoical signal analysis and statistical methods in epidemiology.   Dr. Follis is also a faculty member of the Music Preporatory School at the Univeristy of St. Thomas, where he directs a week long Math and Music Academy and assists with other music camps every summer.  He plays bass, guitar and various percussion instruments and can be seen playing around Houston in band Vagabundos Tres. 

 

Music and the Brain; How Music Therapy Helps the Whole Person

Veronica Butler

Attendees will get an overview about Music Therapy, the education and credentials to practice music therapy. In addition, attendees will learn where music therapists can practice and get to participate in hands-on interventions. This will be an interactive session so everyone should be ready to move around and have a little bit of fun. 

Veronica is co-founder and Director of The Music Therapy Center of Houston. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music Therapy from Sam Houston State University and Master’s in Science in Education K-12, Assessment, Curriculum and Instruction from Walden University. Additionally, Veronica is licensed and certified in several other therapeutic modalities/ teaching methodologies and is a Fellow of the Robert F. Unkefer Academy of Neurologic Music Therapists (NMT). Over the years Veronica has worked with a variety of populations and age groups in and around the Houston area.  She currently serves on different boards and holds memberships in advocacy groups to help educate and promote music therapy awareness locally, regionally and nationally. Veronica actively presents about a music therapy and related topics nationwide. She was asked to be an adjunct writer for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and had the opportunity to serve as a Music Therapy/ Educational Consult to a school for children/ young adults with special needs in Agadir, Morocco. Aside from her present position at The Music Therapy Center of Houston, Veronica has been the music therapist and music therapy internship program director at The Rise School of Houston, a non-profit early intervention preschool for children with and without developmental disabilities ages 6 months to 6 years of age since 2000. She was awarded the Music Therapy Harmony Award for Clinical Practice in 2011 and given an honorary membership in the Tau Beta Sigma Sorority Chapter at the University of Houston for her service and work with children and charities over the years.

 

Heather and Honey: A Beginner's Guide to Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Jim Stanley

We will taste four or five single malts, beginning with the widely available Glenfiddich and Glenlivet, moving on to more esoteric Macallan and Laphroig, with perhaps a surprise entrant.

Jim Stanley, Mensan since the mid 80's, is a retired high school and junior college English teacher.  His interest in single malt dates back to the early 90's.

This program will have an additional $10 charge and will be capped at 20 attendees. Tickets will be available at the Registration table.

 

 

Fundamental Home Organizing and Productivity Principles

Meredith Brister

An overview of basic home organization. We'll take a look at the core concepts behind categorizing, sorting, and the disposal of excess along with the fundamentals of paper and time management. I'll also provide you with a few very easy ways to make your life and home more organized and effective!

Meredith Brister is a newcomer to MENSA. She graduated with highest honors from Montana State University with her Masters of Science in Public Administration and her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science. She spent seven years working out of Las Vegas as a print and spokesmodel, most notably as the sideline reporter for the nationally televised “Deep Stacks Poker Tour.” She is currently a professional organizer based in Houston.

 

Cigars 101

Charles LeMay

This will be a class detailing the basics of cigars.  Instruction will be provided on selecting, cutting, lighting, and enjoying cigars.  Suggestions will be given for cigar pairings as well.  Questions welcome, answers if I have them!

Charles works in a Houston-area cigar lounge. He is a member of Gulf Coast Mensa and is currently serving on the GCM Board of Directors as Treasurer.

 

 

Yet Another Raunchy Romp through the Reading List

Bob Hrncir

Bob presents a pernicious plethora of poetic parodies, from Shakespeare to Dylan Thomas, as well as original social satire. To those who cherish literature, Bob apologizes in advance!

Bob Hrncir, after studying for two years in the seminary, completed his B.A. and M.Ed. at Sam Houston State U. He taught High school English & theatre for 35 years [3 as Language Arts Chair of one of the largest high schools in Houston], and was a 4 time laureate in Who’s Who among America’s Teachers, as well as a semifinalist for the Excellence in Teaching Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also taught college English for 36 years. Bob has won GCM’s Punkin Award. He is a past board member, coordinator, RG & Holiday Party chair, Voice of Mensa [calendar-phone], & columnist for Informensa.

 

The Energies of Astrology

Richard Russell Fleece

This program will explain of the planetary workings or energies patterns have a viable influence on us as individuals.

Having been a student and teacher of astrology for over 35 years , Richard has an interesting and different way of interpreting the craft. Astrology is the study of understanding the subtle and obvious energies of the planets and signs on one ‘s life plan.

  

Information Technology, New Media, and the Theatre

Michael Bell

Increasingly information Technology has been seeping into all aspects of theatre.  From how it’s created to how it’s marketed, IT has become an important part of this centuries old art form.  We will look at how it’s used and implemented in the operations of today’s modern theatre. 

Michael Bell has been in the IT field for nearly 20 years and has been the Director of Information Technology at the Alley Theatre for 7 years.  Previous to that he was the System Administrator for a local ISP, and provided network consulting for many different companies.  He has a background in web development and programming.  Additionally, for over a decade he performed as a DJ at clubs in the downtown Houston area. 

 

The Resurgence in Vinyl

James Sherwood

Vinyl Albums have gained popularity today with both the older and younger generations as compared to Digital Downloaded music.  The analogue sound of a vinyl album is much more pleasing to the ear, and the music itself has now returned to a tangible piece of art, something to collect, showcase, and share with other music lovers.  Music is no longer a collection of ones and zeros that can be downloaded, stored on any device, and played by the simple push of a button.  Consumers are quickly transitioning from digital to analogue as there exists no satisfaction in owning music that only appears on a pocket-sized device.  The program on vinyl albums as the next big thing in music will consist of:

  1. The popularity of vinyl albums reaching multiple target demographics, and why.
  2. The increase of analogue music sales verses the decrease of digital music sales, and why.
  3. Statistics to support claims, 1 and 2.
  4. The artistic differences between digital music and analogue music.
  5. The technical differences between digital music and analogue music.
  6. The mathmatics and physics of both digital music and analogue music.
  7. How digital music is produced as compared to how analogue music is produced.
  8. How digital music is delivered to the consumer versus how analogue vinyl records are delivered to the consumer.
  9. The listening experience and sound quality of vinyl albums as compared to the listening experience and sound quality of digital music.

James Sherwood is a musician, songwriter, recording engineer, producer, and owner of Black Dog Records in Bellaire, Texas.  James took piano lessons as a child and later taught himself how to play the guitar and drums.  He played guitar in a 'garage band' in middle-school and started writing songs at 14 years old.  James' pasion for music continued through high school as he played both guitar and drums in several different 'garage bands' performing at high school dances, local talent shows, and community centers.  James also played the drums in high school marching band and high school jazz band.

His education and background is in Construction Management and Engineering.  However, his passion is music.  James worked in the oil and gas industry as a Project Controls specialist creating and analyzing major project schedules and cost control for ten years.  Recently, he purchased Black Dog Records and is in the process of expanding the business and its operations.  James has ample knowledge of audio engineering and the music industry.  His presentation will cover all aspects of analogue versus digital music and the reasoning behind the popularity of vinyl albums in today's marketplace. 

 

Behind the Microphone or "Make with the Funny, Chuckle-Boy!"

Jesse Lundy

This is a "Behind the Scenes" look at the world of Stand-Up Comedy. How to get started, writing material, getting stage time, polishing material, getting paying gigs, dealing with hecklers, what to expect on the road as a road comedian, etc. This talk will not tell you how to write comedy material, but explore one way it could be done.

Jesse James Lundy started on the comedy scene in 1989 in Detroit, Michigan at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle. Jesse has performed comedy all across the country, from Michigan to Texas, from New York to California. Jesse has even performed for our neighbors to the north, Canada.

Jesse's style is very easy and comfortable. He is a storyteller and loves to share stories from the road, of life and of lessons learned. Jesse is currently residing in the Clear Lake, Texas area with his wife, who amazingly hasn't tired of all his stories….yet.

 

Songwriters' Workshop

Linda Lowe and Selia Qynn

Come hone your song-writing skills - or just learn how to get started. Linda Lowe and Selia Qynn will teach ways to develop your own songs as well as perform some of their creations.

Linda is the founding Artistic Director of the Writers in the Round Concert series. She is a prolific poet, songwriter, producer, and recording artist who has released three books of poetry and six original albums, which have won critical acclaim internationally. She won the 1984 Kerrville Folk festival with "Blow Out The Light”, and “Please Don't Run”. “Let Her Go Gently” was published in Sing Out Magazine and is used in Hospice’s across the country. Linda helped to launch House Concerts and songwriting series in Seaside, FL, Wilmington, NC, Little Rock, AR, Cotter, AR, Lafayette, IN, and in Houston, Texas. She has hosted and performed in numerous radio and TV shows including Bob Hope's Telethon for the Healing, as well as in major concert venues across the country. She has opened shows and performed with Bonnie Rait, Donovan, Carolyn Hester, Jesse Collin Young, Steve Gillette, Loudon Wainwright, III, Nancy Griffith, Arlo Guthrie, Trout Fishing in America, Lucinda Williams, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Townes Van Zandt to name a few. She was the Music Designer for Main Street Theater’s production of "A Piece of my Heart" in Houston and the Assistant Producer/Director of Mid America Hot Springs National Parks production of “Papa Bear Mama Bear". She has directed over 400 musical events. Linda has been teaching and performing for 35 years, and helps her students to record original albums, perform in concert and play music for the pure personal joy of it. Her teaching method is contemporary folk incorporating 60’s music, and she is well known for her laid-back, nurturing style. Linda helps kids to explore their creativity.

Selia Qynn has been a performing songwriter in Houston since the late 80s. Her music style is acoustic folk with an other-worldly flavor. Her soft, seductive edge is mesmerizing; and her clear vocals and image-rich lyrics make you want to believe in magic. She has four self-produced CDs of original music and a 6-song music video.

During the 90s, Selia hosted an open mic at the River Café every Monday night for 2 ½ years. She also booked and hosted a monthly Songwriters Showcase Series at Ovation during the same time period, booking the “best of” from her open mics. She currently hosts the Habitat House Concert Series during Spring and Fall in her Backyard Habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation, booking national and local artists.

 

 

A Prehistory of Music

Chris Kilgore

Using ethnographic and archaeological sources and images from art history, Christopher Kilgore will present a survey of evidence of early musical performance. Topics covered will include vocal performance, the variety of early musical instruments, and dance. Special attention will be given to art and artifacts from the palaeolithic era, including the most recent scholarship.

Chris, a Mensan, is an avocational archaeologist and art historian. He has spoken at Gulf Coast Mensa’s Meeting of the Minds, at Lone Star Mensa’s 2013 RG, and at Gulf Coast Mensa’s SynRG 2014, where he was keynote speaker.

 


Leadership Development Workshops

This year we are expanding our speaker offering to include LDWs. Each LDW session is aimed at leaders within Mensa, whether they are elected or not.

 

Engaging Your Millennial Ms

Taz Criss

Get your questions answered along with tips and tricks for helping your Gen Y members find value in their membership.

Taz is a second-generation Mensan who joined as a teenager. She got her start as both a volunteer and a leader as a founding member of TeenSIG and was instrumental to the growth of that group. She is the longest tenured former National Coordinator of TeenSIG, after holding that office for 5 years. Her SIG volunteerism has continued; she is the Gen Y Region 6 Coordinator and a member of the HELL’s M’s ExComm.

Taz has served Gulf Coast Mensa as treasurer, newsletter editor, Regional Gathering chair, membership officer and webmaster. Her leadership style is uniquely honest, upfront, and jovial.

 

Membership Overview

Pam Donahoo

Pam Donahoo will share data from the recent American Mensa membership survey, which was distributed to approximately 36,000 members. She will highlight trends among our membership as well as provide information regarding resources that are available to local groups through the National Office.

Pam became American Mensa’s Executive Director in 1997. Prior to that she was the Director of Meetings for the Independent Automobile Dealers Association, Executive Director of the International Furnishings and Design Association and held several positions with the Associated Locksmiths of America. She also worked for Radisson Hotels in operations management for several years.

Pam is an active member and a past president of the Dallas Fort Worth Society of Association Executives and also an active member and former board member of the Texas Society of Association Executives. She served for four years on the Board of Directors for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) as a Director and Vice Chairman. Pam is a Fellow of ASAE and currently serves as Vice Chair of that group. Pam earned her Certified Association Executive designation in 1992.

 

Fast and Effective Business Meetings

Roger Durham

Business meetings are key to the health of all local groups. RVC Roger Durham offers his experience and expert advice on how to turn these meetings into productive events rather than a necessary chore.

Roger Durham is the outgoing Vice Chair of Region 6. He is a member of North Texas Mensa and represents the Southwest Region, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

A member of Mensa since 1974, Roger has served as Regional Vice Chair since 2009, has been the Chair of the Name & Logo Committee and has served on the Finance & Audit Committee.

Roger is an attorney at Epiq Legal Solutions in Dallas and a real estate broker. Roger, who is a Vietnam veteran and a former municipal judge, lives in Dallas with his wife, Leslie.

 

Meet the Candidates and Mensa Governance Discussion

As the deadline for the American Mensa national election is May 31, candidates for office will speak to voters and answer questions about their respective campaigns.

There will also be time available to discuss the issues currently facing American Mensa and the various bylaw amendments up for vote on the ballot.

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