I like stuff.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chicago, wrapup.

The truth is that this group of people that I know I won't get to see very often, are some of the smartest, wittiest, most awesome people I know.

I count myself lucky to know them.

Chicago, Day 2 + 3

Woke up somewhat painfully and booked it down to the hotel lobby to meet up with the rest of the group for early-ish antics.

The mission: Infiltrate the St. Patrick's day parade and pass one of us off as a celebrity. So we went around the group, looking for ideas, and one was chosen to be passed off as Dan Brown, writer of The Da Vinci Code.

Plans were made, and we were off.

First run was a success. A few wanted their picture taken, nobody questioned us, we met back up at the safehouse. It was asked if we wanted to go again, and most were all for it. Round 2 would be at a recognizable landmark, but while waiting for others to catch up, I missed it. Got down there eventually, had some fun, wandered back to the hotel.

The grossly hung-over (you know who you are) went up to take a nap, the rest of us wandered off to a restaurant of quality for a couple hours. Festivities, yeah!

Regrouped in a hotel room, spent a pleasant evening just hanging out, finally packed it in and collapsed again.

Next day, woke up late for the festivities, went and caught up with the group, much fun and knowledge was spread. Our mental capacities were dwindling, though, which is why I'm abbreviating that day into a single paragraph. But my memories of it will last orders of magnitude longer than it took you to read this.

With some difficulty, the group was rounded up again, herded to another hotel room, and we were festive and silly.

In short, I wouldn't give up my memories of the time easily. I meant it when I said this was the most inclusive group of people I'd ever met, and they mean a lot to me. This weekend was just the ultimate reinforcement of it.

My deepest thanks, all of you. You know who you are.

Chicago. Day 0.5 - Day 1.0

So there we are, standing on the sidewalk in front of the hotel, going through the mental list of other people that might've hit town already. Made a few phone calls, one friend was up in her hotel room, but was going to come down to meet us, others were still arriving.

Decided a nosh was in order, so walked up a block or so to some diner and got lunch. Sitting near the window, spotted another friend walking by, the others ran after him, I paid the check and collected their stuff left behind in their haste.

Some ill-coordination later, we hike up to the other hotel where people are staying, commit wanton acts of pizza-wrangling, poorly-conceived voice mail requests, furniture rearrangement, elevator impatience, etc.

Gather up the group (I think there were about 7 of us at this point, and hoof it down to the planned meeting point.) Another person already there, with a table acquired. Brilliant.

Some hours go by with conversation, threats of violence against the skipping jukebox, more people show up, fun was had.

Group attrition begins as some decide to call it a night. Us stragglers keep sitting around for another hour or so, and a group of girls end up sitting at our table.

No matter how many times we explain the way we operate, they just won't believe that we do creative collaboration over the internet, and one that was flirting with me ends up getting the postorg URL written on a scrap of napkin (I think she was expecting a phone number. I'm a nerd that's got a girl, no random hookups for me, thankyouverymuch)

Stumbled back to the hotel, wandered off to our respective rooms, collapsed.

End day 1


So, I guess there is an explanation.

Last weekend, I took a vacation. Not the sort of thing I do very often, but a couple days off wrapped around a weekend did me well.

Thursday, March 13th.
Prep day. Get the cat boarded, get some errands run that were hanging over my head (traffic ticket story to be recounted eventually), spend the evening with my girlfriend, get distracted by usual silliness, plan to stay awake all night catching up on the planning and preparation...

Friday, March 14th.
6:15am. The phone rings. I awake from my general stupor, realizing that I'd fallen asleep after all. Answer the phone. The girl, in her high awesomeness, called to make sure I was awake and would make my flight. I belt out "Oh my god, I'm glad you called, wish I could talk more, but I've got a ton of stuff to do in a very short time, talk soon..."

6:30am. Packed, spilled a bottle of liquid bandage (aka Nu-Skin) on my bathroom counter, made sure all the lights were out, put out the remaining fires. On the road, coffee is a must, but no dallying on the way to the airport.

6:40am. Coffee acquired. Sitting in traffic. Wondering why there is traffic at such an ungodly hour.

7:15am. Decide long-term parking is out. Going to suck up the costs of a couple days in short-term. Rationalize this.

7:25am. Checked in for flight. Boarding time: 8:05. Just got to get through security, and I'm golden.

7:55am. Through security. Called the girl to thank her and let her know I'd be on my flight ok. Discovered they'd decided to book early and were on final call already. Packed flight, got as comfortable as I could in a middle seat, released from panic-mode.

8:30am. Flight takes off. Close my eyes.

*dream sequence* wake up a couple times here and there, but I'm on "sleep to kill time" schedule.

1:30pm lost two hours. flight landing nearly an hour early. as soon as they give the all clear, call one of my friends I'm supposed to meet. Wonder why he's so adamant that another friend is picking him up from the airport and he'd call me later (even though we landed at the same airport and were headed to the same hotel. Give up thinking.)

Call the girl, let her know I landed safely (beginning of her lunch hour. I love it when a plan comes together.)

Notice I have a voicemail. It was work calling to ask me about something I had no power over at all. Said I'd look into it as soon as I had internet access (which is true, I did, but I still had no power over it)

Follow the signs to ground transportation. Can't figure out the morass of options, decide it's better to go have a cigarette and think with a nicotene-addled brain instead.

Back in the ground transportation area. Still confused. Wander up to something approximating an information desk, explain that I'm unfamiliar with the area, say the hotel name, ask if they can direct me the right way. They grab a postcard off a stack on the counter and say "This is the company you need, but you need to walk back to the terminal. Go out this door, turn right, walk down a ways, cross the street, go back into the terminal, and find their ticketing desk."

So I do.

Buy a ticket for the shuttle. Walk back out to the curb where the pickup should be. Guy there says that he's only serving the north hotels, but the other guy should be along in a few minutes. Decide to have a cigarette while waiting. Original shuttle guy announces other driver is taking too long, says he'll take the few of us stragglers.


Three stops and an hour and a half since deplaning, the shuttle deposits me in front of my hotel. I fetch my luggage and tip the driver, and run into previously mentioned friend on his egress. Check in, drop my bags off, and head back out to the front of the hotel.

Thus ends the first leg of my vacation, day 0.5

Friday, March 21, 2008

Chicago and a Monkey.

I make no attempt at explanation.

No attempt at all.


Jeff Atwood generally knows what he's talking about

Even if you aren't a techie, software dev type, consider reading some of them anyway.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

QuackerCon Teaser

I'll try to explain more soon, but for now, here's a bit of a teaser...

And today in comment spam...

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Fight the future.

Please, all of you out there, read this

And then come back and tell me that I'm wrong that older media is sucking up to old media as it is cutting off "new media".

Look, I know, it's a lot of buzzwords, and there's a lot of user-generated crap out there (trust me, I make my share of awfulness), but something about this struck me as "Oh look, here's how we can transition our ad-funded history into a new space, and stifle accessibility (i.e., the DIY crowd) at the same time!"

For all of the internet memes that drive me insane, for all the spam, and privacy concerns and this and that and whatever else, I'd still hate more to see this medium turn into a new broadcast top-down model.

Do you get that vibe?


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Saul Bass does Star Wars

Link found through Kottke.org

I am highly amused by this