I woke up on Sunday delighted with the new Blackberry 9700. I had used it to listen to Pandora all night, and it never missed a beat, the 3G flowing nicely at around 670kbps. I do that often when I'm on the road... I'll take whatever music-playing device I have and park it next to my pillow, as if it was the old 1948 Zenith tube-powered clock radio I grew up with for many years. Even better: no AM static. And in these days, when AM is a wasteland of shout radio, when you can't even get a decent ballgame on the radio most nights, internet radio is a ton better.
I still had slides to do. After the earthquake in Haiti the previous Tuesday, I had thought for a long while, and then late in the week tossed a bunch of slides out of the beginning of my Sunday night show and replaced it with three simple slides. The first was a seismograph in multiple axes recorded Tuesday evening from the Galapagos Islands in the eastern Pacific. A rather boring five-color jumble of what looked like background noise. The next was the same time period, except recorded from the Dominican Republic on the eastern end of Hispaniola. It was a mess, an abstract blast of color as the ground energy blew out in all directions at incredible amplitude. The last of the three was a simple message: Lotus knows we can help.
I had run this idea by Kristin Keene when I checked in on Saturday, and she was enthusiastic, so I hope it worked.
But on Sunday afternoon, I still had slides to do. I completed the show, had a lot of laughs in the hotel room doing it, and then, as I do every single year, I tossed on the laptop, opened the hotel door, and said out loud, "let's get to the gig."
I got to the Dolphin and found the previous JumpStart question period dragging on as several attendees seemed to (as they always do) want the presenters to solve their particular and peevish business challenge in real time while most of the audience just wants to go get a beer. Thus, we had just a few minutes to set up the tech connections for the show. Not a worry... those guys are good, I am not picky, and I know everything will work.
And it did.
If you weren't there, don't worry about it. I polled the audience and about 3/4 of them were first-time Sphereians. That's exactly the audience I want. Sure, last year, you long-timers came to the show mostly to see what insanity I might unleash, and some of you apologized for not making it to the show, but honestly, you're not the droids I'm looking for! You are absolved!
I will say that I was delighted that one gag in particular worked just about perfectly, a segment where a video clip of three of our new kits was running, and just as I tickled #2's nose with my laser pointer, she flapped her ears in indignation. I'm certain there's somebody still trying to figure out how I did that. Timing, boy, timing!
Thanks to Declan for videoing the session and for everyone who heckled. Most of all, thanks for delaying your beer consumption the necessary 15 minutes so I could get through the show and get us out of there quick.
And then it was over. The tech staff had to kick us out, for they had to rip the room apart to set up for the next morning's Opening General Session, but I will say that one of my tech guys was astonished that I did the whole show in one shot with no rehearsal and no script. Yeah, that's how I roll.
Anyway, we all meandered over to the beach. This year was particularly bountiful in terms of Women Who Do Not Listen To Me When I Tell Them Not To Wear Heels. After all these years, though, fuckit, you're adults, do what you want and I'll just admire the view, OK?
I did have to work a bit to find food that wasn't a hot dog or nachos. At one point someone carted an enormous shank of cowmeat past me, so i followed it and got to indulge in some pretty good prime rib. That was quite welcome. Smoked turkey would have been great, too, guys...
I never did get any ice cream.
After the beach, and after the football games were done, I ended up in the Dolphin Lobby of all places, which will be a surprise for those of you who know my pattern. This year I broke my pattern mostly because I ran into friendly people who were willing to stand me a drink, something for which Nora and I had only a minimal budget this year. I have to say, Kimonos can get expensive. Holly gave me shit about my absence there later, but economics ruled.
It was now Sunday night, and I had only a minimal warning about the nastiness the week would bring.
To be continued, y'all...