I found a note I wrote at DefCon in 2006. It’s on Mandalay Bay stationery (yes, because I had no idea where the Riviera was, I stayed at the Mandalay Bay. The upside was that I got to explore the entire Las Vegas Strip).
With HOPE X this weekend, it seems time-out-of-time timely, so I’m sharing some of what I wrote on that paper:
I’m sitting outside on a sun-heated patio, hoping I wore enough sunscreen. I’m at a self-imposed break in the conference action and exhausted, but not ready to give in and go back to the hotel. I’m loving every minute of this. Here there are people who are questioners, who rarely take anything at face value and aren’t here just because work requires them to be here. They all have spent considerable time and effort to be here and learn.
Las Vegas is a facade. I knew this, but it’s different to be here. I’m seeing one Las Vegas — the fake one — but there are four or five different other ones, I think. I want to see the Vegas where people really live, the one where, I’m told, fewer people than anywhere else go to college. If I were 18 and could make reasonable money as a dealer in a casino or unreasonable money as a dancer, I wouldn’t want to go to college either. When I was 28, I might feel differently, but it would be difficult to start over. That’s what I imagine, though I don’t know.
Vegas is lights and lights and fake shoes and gambling and trams and great bathrooms. Vegas is limbo. Vegas is hope. Vegas is faith, Vegas is a soul, in black on neon.
Now I’m late for HOPE X. Back to Manhattan to see what talks I can catch. And stay far away from nerf darts.