The other day Gregg Eldred tweeted that he had gotten 54 referrals from people looking for "Gonzo Lotusphere 2010."
There actually IS no Gonzo Lotusphere 2010.
I was mortified.
So, here I am, after the fact.
First, let me explain why I was such a slug about doing the Gonzo Lotusphere page this past fall and winter. There were a million things going on in my life... illness, an involuntary job change, difficulties in relationships, rabbit duties, and the malaise that comes from being old, sick and put upon from seemingly every direction. I looked around, thought, "shit, this is 2009-2010, not 1998, people can get assloads of information from a million sites. IBM/Lotus is putting out more information than ever before. People don't NEED me any more."
I keep forgetting the difference between "need" and "want." No, you all don't "need" me any more. You can find out everything you could ever want to know about Lotusphere from lots of places with better bandwidth and better design than mine. But some of you seem to want to know what I have to say, so I guess I still have some small role to play.
So, let's go.
Day -1 -- Friday, January 15, 2010
Early that week it was obvious the venerable Passat TDI wagon was not going to make its third trip to Lotusphere. It was leaking everything it could leak, and I didn't have the time or the weather to repair it. Nora and I arranged to pick up a rental car for her to get to work, and after driving her down to get it in Purcellville, Virginia, I set out for the Sphere in her Kia Sedona minivan. You know, the one with the purple "Bunny Mom" sticker on the window and the "WABBITS" personalized plates. That one.
It was plenty cold, but open and bright out, so I headed down US15 to Manassas, and across to Interstate 95, hours earlier than my normal time for getting to those milestones. Normally, I'll leave home at 1:00pm or so, but here I was, already on I-95 at 10 or 10:30, hours ahead of usual. The Sedona was comfortable, I'd rigged up one of those FM-transmitter things to get the iPod playing through the non-iPod-friendly factory stereo, and traffic was decent for once.
For lunch, I stopped at the best barbecue place on the planet, King's No. 2 on Crater Road just north of Wagner Road in Petersburg, Virginia. After a pork sandwich and some apple pie, I got back on the road and left the Richmond area. Remember, after Richmond, the next major metro area is more than 600 miles south, Jacksonville, Florida. Normally, I stop somewhere in South Carolina.
This time, I was so far ahead of schedule, I did an informal Tweetpoll and asked my followers if I should just punch all the way through to Lotusphere on Friday night. Tales of other Sphereians' early arrivals and adventures were tempting anyway, so sure enough, I decided to roll all the way through in one shot. 913 miles in one big blast (minus a short stop in Florence, South Carolina for the worst steak in the world). As the sun started to fade, I was already in South Carolina and hours ahead of schedule, so I stopped at Western Sizzlin' in Florence, South Carolina, a place that as far as I am concerned will be known henceforth as Western Jizzlin'. The worst steak on earth, $15 and didn't even include a salad. Eff this, I could get a better deal at Ponderosa. So, eff you, Western Jizzlin' and your dancin' cow logo, your "Flame-Kist" steaks fried on a griddle, and your mealy-mouthed service staff. Eff you and everybody who smells like you.
Midway through Georgia, a minor calamity: I was escaping out of Google Maps on the usually-reliable old Blackberry 8800. Just like that, black screen, red light, endless reboot cycle. It's dead, Jim. I drove the rest of the way down without communications, occasionally pulling into the parking lots of cheap hotels with free wi-fi (the kind local and cheap enough to not know how to turn on a password) when I needed to check in with people or see what was going on.
At 12:30am, I pulled up in the circle drive of the Dolphin, parked where the waiting limos usually park, and ran in. Who should I see, first thing, but Bill Malchisky and Andrew Kelly at the lobby bar.
"I... AM... IRONMAN!!!" I proclaimed. Bill and Andrew knew that the sensible thing to do was buy me a drink. The three of us set off for Kimonos, where we ran into John Head, the Elgorts, and both Burgesses. This surprised me, since the last word I'd had was that Colette would not be on hand this year.
"As of last night, that was what we thought, too," Sean told me. We stuck around and talked for a few minutes, and then I headed back to the wabbitvan and set off for my offsite hotel. Lemme tell you about that... you know normally I like to stay in the Dolphin, specifically room 17-103 or 17-109, but being as this is the Year Of Poverty around my house, I couldn't rationalize spending that kind of money. One full week at the Rodeway Inn on Route 192, barely two miles past All-Star, was less expensive than one night at the Dolphin, so I went.
Sure, there were limitations and things I missed... like high speed networking. Sure, the hotel had wireless, but only in the LOBBY. Normally I'd just tether the laptops to the Blackberry, but since it had bricked itself, that option was out. I did diddle away three full hours of sleep trying to persuade the Blackberry Desktop under VirtualBox and Parallels to reinstall the firmware and recover the Berry, but it was utter failure even after downloading the original 4.21 firmware (you know, the one that's so old Fred Flintstone used and which T-Mobile never updated).
NOTE TO RESEARCH IN MOTION: UNTIL I CAN REFLASH A BLACKBERRY UNDER OSX, YOUR MAC SUPPORT IS MARKED WITH A #FAIL.
I gave up and went to sleep. Day -1 was in the book. Iron Man was frickin' tired.
To be continued...
1. Kelly Grimm01/27/2010 12:02:05 PM
It's been years now since I've attended Lotusphere, but I have lived each one since then vicariously through your posts and musings. Please keep going..... :)
2. MIke01/26/2010 08:26:34 AM
Ditto @1, @2 & @3! We don't need the Gonzo site any more, but your diaries are worth paid admission. Keep it up -- remember you may feel that you're not needed, but WE ALL need our dose of the Turtle's diaries!
3. bill01/26/2010 05:34:11 AM
Me? I'm waiting for the pictures from the fish
4. Roy Rumaner01/25/2010 11:59:59 PM
Reading you posts are my only way to actually feel like I was there. It is so enjoyable to read them that I almost didn't mind not being there. Okay, that is crazy, I really did mind not being there but your posts are fun to read.
5. Gregg Eldred01/25/2010 11:45:26 PM
shaming you? LOL! I really didn't mean it that way, I was simply letting you (and everyone else) know that there are still people out here that enjoy your perspective on Lotusphere. Sure, we can get all the news we want from PlanetLotus and Twitter, but you have a great perspective on the conference. Thanks for the post, I look forward to the next part(s).