In the morning, we ran into Jim Dennis and Heather Stern
at the breakfast buffet. Other than that, the first day was rather
uneventful. I buzzed from panel to panel trying to suss out the LA
SciFi crowd, and generally found that they reminded me, for the most
part, of people I'd known in high school. There were a lot of folks
in flimsy capes and bejeweled staffs, goths, and the usual portly
Rick and I noticed that there was to be a Macintosh panel at
10am the next day. The title was "freeing yourself from the shackles
of WinTel", and it seemed like an opportune panel to crash, after
downing the Red Bulls (my kingdom for those damn penguin mints!).
Rick could argue Linux, and I could talk about NetBSD, to the dismay
of the folks who seemed to think that Macintosh and MacOS are
"The description said nothing about MacOS," Rick noted. The
man was right. Macs make damn fine machines once you install an OS on
"The Mac OS is an interesting proof of concept," I told a
hallway straggler at the floating suite parties that evening, "but it
really doesn't make use of the full potential of those machines."
But I didn't realize how bad it was until I turned the corner
and stumbled into the Mac room. Suddenly I figured out where all the
goths came from--the room was filled with iMacs, and they were being
attended by a scrawny guy in a white polo shirt with the "Think
Different [sic]" logo. Rather than try to explain adverbs to the poor
bastard, I panicked. I left the room with a start.
This is too much. We're in enemy waters, here. We're already
two San Franciscans on the outskirts of LA, and I'm almost completely
outside the sphere of fandom. But to have these Cupertino vultures
descend upon the place---that's too much. They brought those damn
breath-mints-cum-computers with them, but why? To free themselves
from the WinTel shackles? How does running a machine with integrated
IE4 free you from the WinTel shackles? And what the fuck were all
those damn goths doing there? This required thought. This required
planning. This required...
"A childish, yet pointless act?"
Rick hit it square on the nose. There's a time for this sort
of thing. There's a time when you just need to make a scene. It
won't change anything, but it'll make a damn fine scene!
Gnawing on a carrot from the Conolulu party ("In Hawaii,
carrots are used as talismans of fertility" I told one woman who was
perusing the ancient onion dip of Maui), I realized that we couldn't
tip our hand too soon. To cause a serious scene here would be
remembered by no one. We were just two men against an army of goths.
How could we stand up? No, we needed to regroup, and we need to hit
them at the nerve center:
Our story concludes