Sunday, July 15, 2012

Riding the Wave Rolling Toward Def Con XX

I head for Las Vegas and the ensuing madness of Def Con XX in 9 days. For the last several weeks, the preparation for its chaos has been consuming many of the people I know, turning ordinary life on its head and creating a time-sucking black hole of anticipation and frenzied, unsettled energy as the players realize it's coming. Def Con is coming. And we're not ready.

It was like this last year too...and the year before. Before that, I wouldn't know. I didn't know most of these degenerates prior to Def Con 18. At least, not in this context. One can only assume it's just gotten bigger, weirder, and more frantic as the Con itself has gotten bigger, weirder, and more frantic.

The 303 area code is well represented at Def Con. From Spux, art nerd, who is ultimately responsible for some of the main DC art (she did the logo this year and some other stuff I'm not sure I'm supposed to mention so I won't), the SkyTalks art, as well as the 303 badge design, to the heavy on the 303 Goon Squad (including Acr0nym and TC), to the MoHawk Con - a fundraiser for the EFF started by Ed Word and Spux that takes place on the contest floor every year, and the 303 party which has become a staple of insanity all by itself, most of my inner circle - 3 of the 4 non-husbands, in fact - have been in over their heads for months.

Last year, in particular, I hung out on the fringes of this madness, watching the prep, lending an ear to the venting of frustration when someone *cough* FBus *cough* FUBAR'd the badges, giggled with glee when they managed to land MC Frontalot as the 303 party's entertainment, and generally just offered my moral support during the planning of what sounded as though it was to be an epic I wouldn't get to see executed.

I was able to stay relatively removed from the excitement mostly. I was disappointed I wasn't going to get to attend but I'd managed to keep a distance between that disappointment and the fun my 303 family was about to have while still enjoying their company.

At least, that is, until I was asked, at the very last possible second, to write a portion of the text adventure they loaded onto the 303 badge (if you had a badge and played the game, I was responsible for the dead hooker. That was me. You're welcome). In return, I was rewarded with a badge of my own and all the swag that came with it. A badge that would have gotten me into a party 800 miles away.

The day the crew left for Vegas and Def Con 19 was a very hard day in the World of Jane. I felt left behind, though I'd been instrumental in helping plan a major life event to which I wasn't invited. I heard from both Acr0nym and Spux sporadically over the 4 days of Con, which was nice to be thought of, but mostly I just felt...empty and kinda lonely. Fine. I felt abandoned. OK?

Like...they'd all been Raptured and I wasn't.

Hold on a second, I'm laughing maniacally at the thought of them all getting Raptured. Hee hee. Hee hee. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

*whew* OK. I think I can move on now.

So that was last year.

This year, I'm going too and no one can stop me. I'm not going to be left behind again, waiting to hear all about Con - something no one actually wants to talk about after Con is over - and marking time until life gets back to normal. No no. I'm a part of this wave of frenetic energy and I cannot wait!

However, along with the wave we're all riding is this wicked sense of unrest. It's not a bad thing necessarily. There's been a huge upswing in attendance at weekly meet ups. There have been extra gatherings - BBQ's, weekday suppers out, and, in the case of last week with the special guest appearance by Jason Scott, together time to reminisce about Def Cons past. There's a lot of DC history among this crew. A couple who have been attending since Def Con 2 and vastly more who've been making the annual pilgrimage since 4. All of the extra activity has been fun - perhaps especially for me as it gives me context for just how far back some of the relationships travel. I'm seeing the threads connecting individuals, weaving the web of community, tying people together in ways I hadn't expected. Also too, it's been wonderful to see people like DJ Jackalope come strolling out of the woodwork just in time to get her fancy dance pants on to work all the parties.

But this wave? It's also wildly distracting. And I feel as though I'm looking at the world from a bottom of a well. Not knowing what to expect or what to want out of my first Con. I'm certainly learning Con isn't a 5-day adventure. Con is also a 4-month ordeal leading up to it.

My only goals now are three-fold:

1) Come out of it alive
2) while remaining law enforcement record free and
3) unmolested by that instrument of hilarity known as The Sharpie.


Gaelyn said...

Don't know about DefCon. But Vegas is only 5 hours away from the North Rim. Glad you won't be left out this time. Have fun!

Margi said...

Have a totally fabulous time, don't wind up on CSI, and tell us all about it when you get back!