December, 2003 Edition
by Ms. Duh
Do you feel it?
And I can hardly contain my enthusiasm. It's nearly busting out of my ears, the excitement. It's that time of year. I feel it in the air, and see it wherever I go. And boy am I ever possessed with the spirit.
Its ONE MONTH before Macworld San Francisco (http://www.macworldexpo.com/). I'm just dying with anticipation. I'm so excited, I'm going to plotz. Really. It is so going to be groovy. Got me some new sneakers, ebayed a camera, held up a liquor store for the scratch to buy a plane ticket, and rolled drunks on the street for souvenir money. I just got an email from Executive Expo Lady saying that my media pass is on its way, so I will be scarfing up the media room vittles, drinking that free bottled water, and between hangovers and hanging naked out cab windows, I'll be typing up some half-assed stories for RandomMaccess.com.
Can you tell that I have fun at expo? I guess its like my Spring Break. Daytona Beach for geeks. And there are all those embarassing pictures of a woman with a striking resemblance to me doing Jello shots out of some young man's belly button as evidence on how much fun Expo can be.
It wasn't always like that. But, like a St. Bernard with a Chihuahua's brain, I didn't let a bad experience deter me from having another one the next year. It's a sad tale to tell of determined perseverance, tenaciousness and, truth be told, stupidity, of how eventually Expo evolved from some vacation nightmare to a mind blowing, chemically induced good time for yours truly.
It all started with the internet radio show, "The Mac Show with Shawn King" in 1999 (now its "Your Mac Life with Shawn King", http://www.yourmaclife.com/). Actually, back then, I rarely listened to the show, but I dove in participation-wise to the email list the show had, posting much the same random dribble you all have come to love me for. After a couple months of doing that, and sucking up, Shawn had bestowed a Superpass for the Expo on me. Never mind the fact it was December, and I hadn't made any plans to go, I was stoked. But, not ever going to an expo, I didn't know what I needed to bring, where I needed to go, or what I should do. So, sadly, (everybody say, "awwww") I ended up with no money, having bellboys be mean to me, and wandering the show floor by myself for three days. Really. At one point, I called back home to Oz, and wanted Whahizface to come pick me up. Why he didn't drive the 1,782.8 miles to get me, Ill never know. But I did see the Woz, and David Pogue go in and out of the men's bathroom, plus I got inebriated in a piano bar, so I did have some bright spots in the trip. And its true. Steve DOES have an intense aura about him, and the reality distortion field was palatable. The keynote was SPECTACULAR.
Ah. No matter. Like the pain of childbirth, or a 17 tequila shot night, I had forgotten nearly all that when the next Macworld came about. This time, I decided to combine this trip with a visitation-tour of all my online friends who lived out on the left coast. One in particular wanted me to stay with her, and wanted to come to Macworld. GROOVY, eh? Well. Imagine that you are going to spend three days and nights with a poor man's Wendy O. Williams, and you pretty much can imagine my trip. I did meet three or four other NORMAL online friend-people types, but, alas, I was stuck with the crazy lady for most of the whole trip. Couple this with the fact that I took the choo-choo from Hell to Los Angeles for the trip, and you can see where massive amounts of anti-depressants could only help a situation like that. I pretty much was wishing for a slug of Jim Jones's special Kool-Aid that last day or two. Trust me, no matter how good it sounds, NEVER pick the insane as traveling companions. At least it gave me three days worth of material to write on.
Still. Just because 100% of my experience had been a bust doesn't mean that I shouldn't shell out another grand to go to Macworld the next year after that. I'm just that thick.
This time, I figured I'd spend the money to be in a nice hotel, the San Francisco Marriott, seeing as if I did have a horrible, rotten time, I still could get stinko in a nice room and watch the Simpsons for the duration of the trip. Plus, the quality of the stealables (shampoo, soap, shower cap) was head and shoulders above the other hotels I had stayed at, so I figured what the heck.
This trip was different in that, despite warnings from trusted friends, and relatives, and thunderous signs from god, a kind hearted woman named Sly, and an equally brave friend named Linda decided to stay with me as my roomies. And BOY, did that make a difference. Expo is always ten times better with normal people than it is alone, or (shudder) with crazy people. That year was a grand one, and includes such fun as me videotaping one radio on air personality and one hotel chef going pee. And of course there were Macs, and mac-macs, and the Steve-ster. Finally it looked like my expo luck was turning around.
My last one was in New York and was to die for. Except for the last day when New York reminded me that I was, indeed a small, small country mouse in the big, big mean city. I had a blast.
If you are considering going to Expo, I highly recommend going to one. It's like a giant circus that one must see at least once.
But here are really some important tips that I have gleaned from my illustrious experience.
1) Always, always have money. No telling when you'll really need a drink or bail. Poor is a sucky way to be in a city two thousand miles away from home.
2) Go with a friend. Ain't nothing more pathetic than geeks geeking alone. Plus, you'll have someone to watch your stuff while you go to the bathroom.
3) Don't spend your whole time on the show floor or in the conferences. Get out and see the city. Get away from the geekiness for a while. Fresh air is always a good thing.
4) Do not buy the food or beverages in the hall or near the hall. Unless you have money that you could take out of your pocket right now and set fire to without blinking, it is better to find a Jack in the Box or Burger King and eat there. If you have to, lug it from home to Expo. I'm not kidding. You'll have to mortgage your house for the money to buy a bottle of water in the Expo hall.
Get on out there and have some fun. Tis the season for a Merry Expo. It's in the air, and I'm all a tingle.
Merry Christmas, too.