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TOJam #4 took place May 1 - 3, 2009. Jim McG details his experience helping organize it. For no reason whatsoever.

Jim McGinley, Blogger

May 14, 2009

6 Min Read

4 Days of TOJam #4 by Jim McGinley
Thursday   Friday   Saturday   Sunday
Upset Bowels, Sun Battles, A Lack of Bricks

Before the Jam
Ate dinner Wednesday. Tasted like "Roast Beef with Olive Sauce".
Discover afterward no olives in sauce.
Intestine surprised. Toilet unhappy.
Thursday Afternoon: Legs wobbly. Head spinning. Feel weak.
Ready to start TOJam #4.

Garbage... knew would be large issue.
How big, anyone's guess.
City doesn't pickup at Ground 0.
Caused last year's infamous 2am rainy garbage haul.

Recalled Rob in cold rain, changing flat tire in garbage filled car.
Not one complaint. Man has no limits. "I wannnt it that waaaay."
Makes one appreciate weekly pickup.

Finding space for 90 people easy.
Finding space for 90 computers impossible.
Baked 40 developers last year, swore wouldn't happen again.
Moved date to May 1 to keep things cool.

Avoided Mother's day, May Two Four weekend, TCAF, Anime North,
and Rob choosing between friend's wedding and jam.
Take that May weekends.

The Arrival

The GTCC - Greatest Clearinghouse in Toronto   Credit

Thursday evening.
Arrive at Innovation Toronto's Greater Toronto Community Clearinghouse.
Street parking suddenly unavailable. Movie shoot.
Action Plan: Ignore Parking Problem.

Clearinghouse divided into 4 distinct areas:
   1. Bullpen & Bedroom - 56 spots
   2. Boardroom - 12 spots
   3. Round Table room - 12 spots
   4. Front Office area - 10 spots
Total: 90 spots

Earlier, TOJam advertised optimistic "room for 100 game makers!"
Need to empty "Chair" room to compensate for 10 shortcomings.
Problematic. 2 reasons:
   1. Filled X, Y AND Z with chairs
   2. Physically no place to relocate them

Due to GDC 2009 blogging, sickness, family emergency, and technical problems
registration form goes live 8 days before event - only 90 people able to register!
Lord works in mysterious ways.

Bullpen featured:
   Chair made of books
   Basketball lamp
   Breakfast island made from the front end of a car
   Wall of Monitors

Carpenter actively working in giant, closed center room.
Sawdust everywhere, accompanied by intermittent wafts of varnish.
Occasionally, screams of a circular saw echo throughout complex.
Carpenter holds the glue that binds us together.

Em madly maps teams to tables while Milan Chotai, Christopher Murphy, Benjamin Rivers, Michael Todd, and organizers get bizzay sprayin', wipin', and movin'. Table layout more art than science. Horrible Tetris variant that requires walking space between pieces after assembly. Plan almost destroyed by scattered wooden church pews. Safely upend. Stand like tall, imposing gatekeepers.

Removed 90 chairs from Chair room, made no difference.
Chairs deformed by age and constant pressure,
effectively glueing stacks of chairs together.
Separating chairs like pulling stuck nails.

Mop bucket instantly filthy.
No-one can face emptying sludge. Hide instead.
Rented Tables dirty. Filth begets filth.
Benjamin cleans fridge with quiet detachment, like CSI employee.

Q: How did previous occupants deal with garbage?
A: They left it for us.

Here Comes the Sun

Good luck with that   Credit

Sun has 2 Advantages:
   1. Giant wall of Windows on West & East sides
   2. Skylights sprinkled liberally throughout rooms.

Last year, taped everything we could find to windows to prevent blinding rays. Difficult, dangerous, time consuming. Couldn't cover large skylight openinigs. This year, came prepared. Plan to tape large black garbage bags to windows, and tape large rented tarps to ceiling underneath skylights.

1 tarp gigantic. Too heavy to tape.
2 tarps beyond filthy. Will rain crap & mud if pasted above.
(Only rented 3 tarps)

Divine Revelation #1
Rob dreamed of covering entire west window wall with obese tarp.
Plan required string which we didn't have.
Omnipotent carpenter provided perfect rope (not to thick, not to thin).

Rob & Chris spend next 30 minutes attempting to toss rope around ceiling pipe.
Eventual painstaking success. Improv pulley raised tarp to ceiling.
Amish would be proud.

Q: What about East wall of Windows?
A: When sun arrives, jammers will be asleep at home... or unconscious on keyboard.

The Roof, The Roof, The Roof is on Top
Michael spots ladder that leads to rooftop hatch.
On top it's cold, windy and pouring rain.
Send Michael to evaluate feasibility of "2 Filthy Tarps for 2 Evil Skylights."
(1 Tarp to Rule Them All).

Michael "never covered skylight before" thinks tarps will work.
Need to subsidize translucent tarp with black garbage bags,
and weigh down both tarps with bricks.
Exhaustive search of brick Clearinghouse yields everything but bricks.
It's like rain, on your wedding day.

Divine Revelation #2
Toilet Tank Lids! As heavy as bricks, nowhere near as portable.
Chain is formed: Floor Jerry > Ladder Me > Edge Benjamin > Roof Michael.
Praise the lord, pass the toilet lid.
Skylights cocooned! Take that May weekends.
Debugging impossible due to hour (pitch black outside, Michael frozen).

Just noticed roof leaking. Front office only.
Slipping through empty fluorescent fixture.
Collect in happenstance jug.


Funny. Heavy. Poorly supported.   Credit

Rented 15 Power Bars. Feature 8 sockets and no length.
Have 3 extension cords.

Need 10 people in Bullpen sideroom "The Bedroom". First need to remove bed.
Headboard outlined in iron. Heavy. Standing on 3 Toothpicks. Fear for toes.
Carry to wall. Lean. Pray supports don't snap like twigs.
Box spring large, heavy, wobbly bookshelf.
Extra jaggy with a side of tangled nails.
Rotate until sobre, lean against wall.
Should it fall, theorize people would be hurt but not killed.

Using "found" pliers, Michael bends dangling wire from hanging basketball lamp.
Several tall guy eyeballs saved.

Jerry busts out Candy Stand Freezies.
Not yet frozen, look disgusting.
Everyone eating them. Profits dwindling.
Olive memories resurface.

Watch 2 strapping men struggle to unstick 2 chairs.
Formerly retrieved from stack, now it's a matter of pride.
Success! Both chairs extra deformed.

Test rented Fans. 2 speeds:
   1. Typhoon
   2. Hurricane.
Too loud to place in rooms. Damn.
Locate in hallways. Circulation shall be salvation.

Collected roof leak water light brownish yellow.
Even rain disgusting.

Test Internet using ungodly SSID. Success.
Connection slow for single user,
should be fantastic when shared by 90.
Action Plan: Weep.

Finished. Famished. Midnight dinner at Chinatown's Rol San Restaurant.
Ginger beef incredible. Feel pho obsessed Mak would agree.
Arrive home. Write long winded e-mail to all Jammers: "Final & Perhaps Important Details"
"Item #1: Bring 3 pronged extension cords."
Day ends as it began... on porcelaine throne.

Benjamin Rivers gets sick!
A Brown surprise!

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