One of our star reporters was sent to Comdex by his
employer. El Destino reports live from the biggest,
geekiest trade show in the world.
Dateline: Excalibur Hotel, Room 14501, Las Vegas, NV
"Comdex wants you to know about prostate cancer... For every completed session
evaluation returned, a donation will be made to CaPCure by Key3Media."
Yes, I'm at Comdex -- that Dante-esque sworl of geeks and marketing exhibits at
edge-of-the-earth Las Vegas. It's a town so crazy, there's a billboard for
vasectomy reversals. My room is at the Excalibur, past the Jester's Cafe and
Sir Gallahad's Steakhouse, where Queen Guinevere and Merlin appear in a
non-stop infomercial on channel 17 reminding hotel visitors of such handy
features as the hotel's "gaming instructors," available 24 hours a day.
AdultExpo is next-door at the Tropicana -- but most of the other Vegas
entertainment is eerily unappetizing. There's countless billboards advertising
"The Rat Pack is Back" dinner show, even though it's on hiatus until next week
-- but unfortunately, Siegfried and Roy are still in town. David Cassidy is at
the Copa, and soon, Dokken will be appearing. It's all a little surreal. I
don't understand why, but for some reason in the lobby of the Excalibur, they
play adult favorites from the 70s and 80s. Tonight, it was Styx.
Savor the thrill of colliding cultures. Every cab driver spouts resentful
diatribes during the entire ride. ("You FUCKING COMDEX people. I HATE COMDEX!
They make us work FIVE DAYS A WEEK driving you geeks to COMDEX. I HATE
COMDEX.") And most of the exhibits are about things I don't care about,
while most of the people speaking in the educational sessions are saying things
everybody already knew. The only real benefit is the increased job satisfaction
from knowing your employer shelled out big bucks to fly you to a hotel next to
AdultExpo.com. Sure, Palm loaned us all Palm IIIs to play with, but even then, I
disappointed by Vindigo's "sleazy" entry for Nightlife. "Larry's Villa?" Crap,
there were people on the streets passing out coupons for sleazier joints than
The most educational thing I did today was go on the Star Trek ride at the
Hilton. At first it seemed a little odd that they wouldn't let you use your
cellphones on "Star Trek: The Experience," but I guess they're worried it
would spoil the illusion. ("Larry? No, I can't talk now. Klingons are
attacking. I'll call you later.") At the end of the ride, you're disgorged
into the Star Trek gift shop, where a giant placard advises you to "Apply for
the Star Trek MasterCard today."