ApacheCon 2004 in Vegas was definatly a good convention. Technically it was great, the speakers were good, the people were brainy, the partying was hard core and the demolitions were huge! Tracy came out to stay with me for the first 2 days of the confrence so there was a little bonus there too.
So, a few cool things. Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley Crusher of StarTrek and child star in "Stand By Me") was the keynote. He has been keeping a blog for years, and is one of the few (only?) celebrities to do so. This makes him mega cool in my book. I always identified with his character on the series (imagine that) and so naturally I thought he must be cool. Reading his blog, you realize he's a normal guy like you and me, and he's also a geek! I got to meet him, shake his hand, had a small chat, bought his book and got him to sign it. What a neat guy. The thing that I found intriguing was his keynote. He started off by telling us all he was scared to death to be up in front of all us geeks. A humble celebrity, rad. As he got into telling how the internet and software from Apache.org changed his life for the better, etc, etc (go read his book), he was dropping well placed, obscure and relevant jokes that I found to be quite funny. But most of the geeks in the audience weren't laughing...meanwhile I was giggling away. When I talked to him again later I mentioned this and he told me "I subscribe to the MST3K school of thought...if 5% of the audience laughs I've done my job". I just really like this guy. I felt like kind of a dweeb getting all nervous and telling him I thought he was so cool, etc. I mentioned the implosion, to which he got real excited. I hope he got to see it.
Implosion!? Yes, they blew up the Desert Inn while we were there. Damn, it was cool. We waited around till 2:30 am on Tuesday night just to see it, but it was worth it. While we waited on a sidewalk corner less than a block a way, a friggin jerk semi-truck driver cut the corner and drove over about 3 feet of the curb. He nearly crushed a reporter's camera and tripod and nearly took off this poor girls head with a ladder hanging off the side. The cops didn't even care! But who cares bout that...BOOM! The blast scared us...they gave little warning, just a policeman saying "you have one minute". He was off by 10 seconds. I got some pretty poor shots and a very lousy video. But I got some neat shots of the dust cloud! It shook the ground and thumped our chests. Way cool!
The rest of the trip was mostly doing some gambling in casino's and getting drinks. We stopped by the Las Vegas Hilton on the last night to do more gambling and get a nice dinner...Dan, Mark and I went to the Star Trek Experience. The Klingon Encounter was neat, a 3D ride in a shuttlecraft that feels very real...like the rides at Universal Studio. The Borg Invasion 4D was neat too...wore 3D glasses and got assimilated the chair jabs you in the ribs, it was creepy. They had some cool live action stuff...at one point a borg pulled one of the crew/actors thru the ceiling! It was neat! We went out later that night for some Japanese Steakhouse experiences at Beni Hana.
The rest of the pics are here.
The only problem with the trip in my mind is that we had to get up at 6am to catch a flight back to SD on Thursday, and GO TO WORK. Blech. Maybe skip that next year.
This next week, Tracy and I travel to TN for some t-day fun. Should be a good time.