Wednesday
Airport. Waiting to board.
A blond heading home sits between me and a man.
mentions something sounding like a strip search, stops short
the man conjures camaraderie with me.
says we want to hear more.
humidity and hair
compliments and conversation
business or pleasure, my line of work: computers
he tells me that common people (not that I'm not one)
don't think about these sorts of things

Arrival.
I spot a hacker on the tram.
We exchange a greeting
Do we own the city already?
This should be fun...

pick up supplies, walk the strip,
most amused by a midget with a microphone at Doublin' Up
scout the Riviera
the devil is pouring drinks

We are asked "Do you speak English?"
Then she borrows my friend's cell phone.

A well-dressed woman asking for money
is agitated by my ambivalence.

Thursday ("pre-con")
registered, walked around, going free agent.
Trapped in perimeter.
Pacing, bounded by an invisible fence
afraid to leave, afraid to integrate.
I feel like I recognize these people.
But like me they are insular.
Coagulated into cliques.
Presenting a high barrier to entry.

Toxic BBQ launch area.
Crowd reaching critical mass, I'm shedding the shell.
Sit by a laptop, friendly faces.
Meet Cenobyte and Cygnus. Canadians.
Then through them H20 and SnowMan. Brothers from Bronx.

Taxi to the Wynn for fancy cars, walk to TI for the show.
H20 is giving us lessons in confidence.
Pictures of pretty ladies with Cygnus.
Walking back to the Riviera.
It is night.

Someone gave me a parachuting ninja.
"It's okay, it won't hurt you."

I don't have a hotel room
so I borrow some floor space

Friday (it begins)
Breakfast at the Pepper Mill
Late start due to inspection.
Fierce crowding and confusion.
iPod boom box plays our soundtrack
I feel cooler than I should be allowed to

First talk: atlas script kiddie to hacker
net cat is your friend

another talk
harmony of multiple personalities
madness to go half-way

spend the day in sessions, wandering.
I find Elonka, follow her to the cafe

hard drive forensics
Nathan comes to check on me
tail end of a Johnny Long talk

a talk on bioinformatics (my core interest)
I was hit by a beach ball

the sun has set, night takes over
by the pool security tap on SnowMan shoulder,
requests the music off.
he asks for respect
some jocks attempt to escalate,
speculating upon our gathering
a number of security disperse those evil hackers
We're being followed
duck into the end of hiding data in file system

tcp/ip drinking game
these are the men that get things done
awe and reverence and laughter
head to the skybox on rumors of strippers
moose gets us into hacker pimps.
life's transience is here in ink saviored

a man, visibly intoxicated,
attempts to inform me of a party at...
the end of the conversation
he seems to have forgotten that it began.

heading to the Hilton
I break off from (a growing) congregation

back to the (quieting) box.
I am a mortal that has stumbled on to mount Olympus
everywhere I turn I can see a god.
I hear the story of a little Jewish boy in a catholic school.
his first communion: "Thanks for the cookie"
(I never expected to see nerds with doey-eyed groupies)

I wander: surreal, as if in a dream.
Follow someone following a goon
Wind up in the penthouse
I'm not cool enough for the black ball
Find Cenobyte and Cygnus up there
The Bronx boys arrive and I follow them out

to a different Hilton building for a shmoo con party.
Fish saw Madonna on a tootsie roll inside a bible.
pouring miraculous drinks.
spiritus sancti, beautiful blasphemy
he whispers to me 'there is no god'
We leave as they start to make waffles.

Back to the Pepper Mill
to a glut of beautiful women.
watching H20 operate

The sun is rising
Walking another first-timer back to the Sahara
I catch a few hours of sleep
Sizable blister on left foot

Saturday
never been so happy to have
my synapses firing as erratically.

EFF dunk tank. An entertaining representative
in a Microsoft shirt, singing its praises
mocking the penguin boys.

Visual log analysis beauty of graphs
log analysis and correlation

hacking unix with FreeBSD jail(8)
layers of complexity
in India they love rats, in NYC they don't

hunting for metamorphic engines
liken viruses to genetic diversity
interesting overlap with bioinformatics talk

Hacker Jeopardy most amusing.
A drunk wants to exchange badges as a sign of friendship
almost an altercation, but they pull him off of me

leave the room, see a crew struggling in the hallway with old hardware.
A prize, a relic
They keep dropping it, so I help them carry it.
They let me in the room, give me a sticker
keep asking who I am.
And I never know quite how to answer that.
Am I a demigod or just a simple daemon?

I'm drinking SoCo & Red Bull in a former water bottle.
They insist that I'm drinking my own urine.
I offer them some. Strangely, they decline.
We head out into the street.
An interesting chat with cops.
Literally asking to be arrested (really, but not really, you know)
He sniks out his baton and pretends to assault for a photo op.
The cops here are pretty cool, I guess

Solar powered personas find fuel in neverending nights
guardians of requisite sanity gain wrinkles from worry

life, it bleeds in all directions
hear the peace that permeates
achieve stealthy stability
try not to worry, sweet children, try not to cry
try to turn a blind eye to these travesties that accrue
an angel checking ids, but the devil didn't have to
this one cares not
let the light last, and the confusion reign

The Wynn was wild, a drink over the edge
gut damn these women if they couldn't stop a heart

I reach the point where words fail.
The language center is soaked, the periphery only doused
And so I communicate with Spanish and sign language.
Neither of which I really know that well.
I think the surrogate crew knows ASL,
they made me stop for fear of ghosts

One is gambling: craps at circus, circus.
I remember not-hearing a comment
that sparked some controversy
an underage kid denied entrance
I think I promised to see his talk tomorrow
consent by 'too confused to argue'
I'm entranced by the wise red hat giving him a life-lesson
he talks like a stream both calm and fast

I find myself back in the hotel.
Alone. I must have surreptitiously escaped their company.

Sitting, writing.
a few drunken conversations with strangers
one informs me that there might be hackers in this building.
wink, wink

Hotel staff made me move, made me hide from fear of dominoes
(afraid those bastards will steal electricity if they see me operate a pen)
but the dominoes have hit the floor, the power is held captive in batteries
and is being made to perform unspeakable calculations

So I move upstairs and kneel at a table in the hallway and continue to write.
I am seen.
Hackers move me to a couch
in darkness.

Looks like I've made it, accidentally, to what they call a "party"
exhilaration, exuberance. the liberation of libation
as I attempt to explain that I am nobody
and that I am Dave to souls that mostly understand
but will never, can never remember.

like that state of living that is pure
my state of identity, belonging, is fleeting
the ink flows in beautiful patterns, music moves my hand
manifest to an unwilling, unknowing mind
shadows of form swaying in my periphery
constitute the only other part of my existence

they lament my killing of trees
brain cells are the prey du jour
what can we glean from these minds focused on debauchery
one of more mettle than I would integrate
one with more edge would prowl
I am a dagger among swords

I can't compete with this noise so I withdraw
asking for too much food in too little a mouth
but I love this energy, this beat, this feeling
where else can we find salad days for the mentally inclined?

words are my medium. except in them I do not exist.
and they are (each, alone) mundane.
in sequences they can be (but rarely) brilliant
illuminating.

I am face down, furniture.
But it is a forcibly social environment.
Conversation ensues.
Incoherent connections. I now know I am not alone.
I could live forever between these words.

Sunday
A daze. My brain has failed to cycle after the last power down.
I failed to attend two talks I wanted to see.
don't have a change of clothes with me
So I jump in a shower with my shorts on.

Sitting at a table with a man with blue hair.
I am introduced to the term "rollin' balls"
as his excuse for not really remembering we met last night
He's playing World of Warcraft.
Small talk, system administration
He touches my knee and continues to hit on me.

Come evening I again hook up with my core four.
Tropicana in a limo looking for a Cuban restaurant.
Eat Italian instead, coffee perks me up.
learn about Sleep, Time management, Study skills
Talking physics with the local girl that H20 found.

Monday
Con over, back to being a freak
called my host on a stranger's cell phone for no answer
I'm not there for his call back, but I hear that I was abducted by ninjas.

Shrink Wrap
We must be humble, we must be plastic.
But bullshit sounds sweeter than truth when it slides through sly lips
We must be vigilant and know what is axiomatic.
Building immense towers by stacking grains of sands.
A rush, a thrill. Akin to panic. To get it all done today.