ITW Boondoggle?

I have a paper (poster) at the Information Theory Workshop in Lake Tahoe for the first week of September. I figured Lake Tahoe has a lot of accomodation, and in early September it should be pretty easy to find a cheap-ish place to stay. Little did I realize that all registered participants are being coerced into staying at the conference center itself. The two cheap “options” (i.e. non-deluxe) that are available are the following:

Double room, per person + all meals – $700.80 for 4 days
Staying away from the center + all meals – $336.00 for 4 days

The “registration fee” is misleading. If you are a student from say, Berkeley, Stanford, Davis, or some other school within driving distance, and you think “oh, it might be nice to go to the workshop and the IEEE Student rate is only $100,” think again! In addition to your cheap hotel off-site, you will have to pay an extra $336 for food that is likely to be so-so and may violate your eating restrictions!

Is this the Standard Operating Procedure when it comes to workshops? Is my shock unwarranted?

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Quake!

This was by far the strongest quake that I have felt since moving here, and the only one that was mildly frightening. Of course it also woke me up, so maybe that adds to the terror factor.