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Notacon: The First 48 Hours

It’s 6:30pm and I’m in my hotel room, scarfing down a protein bar (chocolate and peanut butter), a handful of “honey roasted dry roasted peanuts” (I guess they’re double roasted?) and a small pile of Oreos. Parking is impossible to find here in downtown Cleveland; I valet parked, which costs $20 and takes roughly 15 minutes to fetch your car. I found a few restaurants within walking distance (Subway and an Italian place), but I found it simpler this morning to venture out to the nearest Dollar General Store and buy $20 worth of groceries. I could probably live for a week on all the white cheddar popcorn, pop-tarts, and Pringles I have stock-piled in my room. I have enough protein bars and peanuts to keep my protein levels from dropping, and I even picked up a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter and grape jelly mixed together, and a four-pack of spatulas to make sandwiches for breakfast. Go me; I’m domesticatized.

I am set to take the stage at 8pm and I’ve never been more nervous about a presentation — not because I’m not prepared, but because there have been so many other fantastic speakers this weekend that I don’t know how I can compare. I just got out of a presentation by Drew Curtis of Both he and Joe Peacock told me they plan on attending my presentation tonight. Man I hope I don’t suck. Much.

This weekend I sat through speeches on everything from turning the Wii remote into a musical instrument to implementing Chaos Theory and Fractals into computer demos. Most of them have been really good and I have been surprised at how well some of these hackers are at talking to a large audience. I don’t think I will be the best presenter at the con and based on what I’ve seen it would be impossible to be the worst. I hope to be the funniest. And the least smelly.

About an hour after my presentation ends, Blockparty begins. A dozen or two demo coders have been holed up in a room on the third floor (the con is split between two levels; speakers on the second floor, work spaces on the third) for a couple of days now. It’s dark (it’s the only room with the lights off), there are flashing lights on the ceiling, and there’s a disco ball. I have spent probably half an hour standing around the room over the past two days and not once have I had a clue as to what is going on in there. When I came up to my room at 6:30pm there were still people down there “finishing their demos” to enter in tonight’s competition. The competition begins at 9:30pm and the deadline was at 5pm, and yet they are all still down there, happily coding away. It’s like a sweat shop for gifted programmers.

I submitted two entries to Blockparty: a song (“You Can’t Handle the Commodore”) and a photograph. Maybe waiting until the last minute is something those guys enjoy. I feel kind of bad knowing my stuff’s been done for a week.

Tomorrow around noon is the show’s closing ceremony, an awards presentation and couple of other last minute gatherings. Originally I had booked the hotel through Monday morning but at this point I don’t see any purpose in staying that long. I plan on loading the truck up some time Sunday morning, checking out before noon, watching the ceremonies and then hitting the road sometime shortly after that. To be honest, most of the people I know here have been so busy that I have spent most of my time by myself and I don’t expect that to change tomorrow; I can say my goodbyes in the morning, catch the closing act and hit the road. I won’t be home Sunday night, but I’ll be closer.

It’s 7pm and I go on in an hour. Time to head downstairs, grab a beer, and get ready to break a leg.

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2 comments to Notacon: The First 48 Hours

  • Larry Willrath

    Ahhh Cleveland….that is why we always referred to it as the mistake on the lake. What other town in the world had its river catch on fire??

  • 1. The song is awesome. I think I said this before, but two weeks earlier and it might’ve appeared somewhere in PDF Level 2. Maybe there’s still a case to be made for doing “PDF Level 64” with the rest of the video you recorded for me.

    2. I’ve probably said this before too, but why in the world do people go to these shows thinking that, well, frankly, bathing is optional? I was so fresh-out-of-the-shower for OKC last week that my hair kinda air-dried into a mad scientist ‘do, or, as I call it, “Doc Brown in his mid-30s.” But crap, I’d rather go in looking a bit frazzled than have a shockwave of pure stink following me around. I’m an ubergeek who spends hours at the computer each day, but I still bathe and brush, you know? I even do the deodorant thing. I don’t get some of these folks.

    3. $50 says that about half the guys who are “finishing their demos” will still be “finishing their demos” a couple of weeks after the show.

    White cheddar popcorn rocks, by the way. Just FYI.