Vegas again

Well, here I am back in Las Vegas for another big IBM event. The flight here was pretty uneventful, except that I was so early to the airport that I was able to get bumped up to a standby seat on an earlier flight to Dallas, giving me time for a relaxed (albeit crappy) lunch.

When I arrived at the Venetian Hotel in Vegas, they didn’t have a reservation for me. Or at least, not for the day on which I was actually arriving. Fortunately, the company that had arranged the hotels and travel for IBM had a desk right there, and I queried the situation with them. They had a different view of the world to the hotel’s. I stood around for 15-20 minutes for a reconciliation to take place. First I was offered a smoking suite instead of my booked room, and asked if that was OK; I said that no, not really, it wasn’t. There was some more discussion with someone in an office out of sight. It turned out to be worth the angst and the wait, however, as I ended up with my own room. That may not sound like much, but IBM generally requires people to share rooms, even if that means sleeping on a fold-out sofa bed. Last year, that was my assigned sleeping arrangement, and I took the floor instead.

The café area containing the pedestal I’m helping to staff was a complete zoo last night, and I was already exhausted from a sleepless night followed by plane travel. As soon as possible I returned to the room and went straight to bed. I slept pretty well, and through the miracle of time zones managed to wake up in time for breakfast.

IBM takes the view that I’m definitely not here to enjoy myself, as breakfast starts at 6 and ends at 7:30. This is a deliberate ploy to push people to attend the first sessions, which start at 8. It wouldn’t be so bad, but the days typically go on until the other 8, and I’m the kind of person who doesn’t usually see 6am unless he’s failed to go to sleep the previous night.

As was the cast last year also, the Venetian Hotel was hosting another event at the weekend. Porn queen Jenna Jameson returned to her home town (they must be so proud!) to host yesterday’s big AVN Awards. I haven’t seen anyone who’s obviously a porn star this year. I did think it would have been cool to get my picture taken with Ron Jeremy, if I had happened to see him wandering past. I’d also have been willing to do my best to settle the question of whether Asia Carrera is really a Linux geek.

This morning’s big kickoff didn’t really have anything to compare with Steve “Monkey Boy” Ballmer, and didn’t seem as good as last year’s. Part of the problem is that the star guest was some Olympic sports athlete I’d never heard of; I’m sure there are lots of sales guys who get pumped up by tales of sporting triumph, but I just don’t get sports at all. Bread and circuses, people!

After that, I unexpectedly turned out to have the afternoon free. However, it’s cold and rainy outside, the network’s down, and I’m tired again already, so I think I’m going to take a nap… Oh, the exciting life I lead.