If I were famous, I would be spending way too much time hiding in bathrooms

As some of you are aware, I recently went to a conference. Those of you who are aware of my attendance at this conference are most likely thinking, “Another post about the damn conference???” Which is why I had to trick you into coming over here with an obscure title. Do NOT worry. This is the very, very last post about the conference… unless I think of another one later. But, I probably won’t.

The conference simultaneously terrified me and made me realize how little it takes to strip me out of my comfort zone and make me feel completely out of place. I had more in common with the homeless dude sitting outside of the train station than with any of the conference attendees. Granted, I don’t know why he chose to sit on the steps with all the broken glass on them. I’d like to think I would choose a more desirable location to sit if that was what I had planned for the day, but @lahikmajoe said I have a lot to learn about being homeless.

I spend a lot of time trying to pass myself off as normal; however, the guise is thin and easily dissolved. Walking into the conference ballroom for lunch and finding cards on each table denoting the required conversation topic horrified me.  It is bad enough they expect me to make small talk with a bunch of people I don’t know while trying not to spill food on myself.  They shouldn’t be able to tell me what to say.

Also, I am not going to get all enthusiastic about whatever the keynote speaker is talking about in order to sell his new book.  I’m just not built that way.  Surrounded by all of these serious people with their wholehearted eagerness, I constantly felt a strong urge to go somewhere and hide.

I felt really depressed for being like a fish out of water at this thing until I read through Jenny’s blogs looking for quotes I could use to make fun of it. In her post, “I shouldn’t be allowed to mix with real people,”  she describes spending four hours hiding out in the men’s bathroom during a BlogHer party she was hosting. That is when I realized that real problem in this scenario was NOT my social ineptitude, but the fact that men’s bathroom at this particular location failed to provide an accommodating hiding place.

Due to the lack of men’s bathrooms available as hideout locations, I propose we install Anxiety Rooms for people with social incompetence and/or genuine anxiety disorders.

Don’t feel like having lunch today with a note card demanding you to discuss the Analysis of Community Marketing? Exhausted from cheerful people handing you business cards after PowerPoint presentations? Tired of burying yourself in cocktails so everyone around you will start making sense? Try our new Anxiety Room! It is quite comfortable and much similar to a men’s room without the urinals.

To make an unnecessarily long story less long… I survived. After a grueling three days, I gave the bum on the steps a commiserate nod, and boarded the train toward home. I would like to take a moment to thank my Twitter followers for keeping me company and putting up with the conference play-by-play. I appreciate you more than you know. And also, thanks to Jenny for reminding me that even though lunch table topics terrify me, I can still count myself in good company.

And….

To close with the last part, what you’re drinking at Starbucks is not national security.

How to Endure a PowerPoint Presentation

Some of you are excruciatingly aware based on my Twitter and Blog rants that I recently went to a conference.

This conference, which sucked all the humor out of my brain, was divided into two tracks, Business and Technical. After a day of watching people type and then point to lines of code, my head went numb. Therefore, I decided to take a break from the Technical Track, and cross over to the Business side.

The first thing I notice about the Business Track is the change in dress code. The polo shirts and torn jeans from the Technical Track have given over to power suits. Also, no one in this room has an iPad, or a laptop open. No one is even typing into a phone. They all have notepads and tablets. Not ThinkPads or electronic tablets either… they are using pens. I decide that I too will get out a pen and take notes. By ‘take notes’ I mean write down random crap I’m thinking during the presentation. My plan is do this with a very serious look on my face so as to appear productive.

Pablo, our presenter for the afternoon, is Italian. I’m not sure if all Italian men resemble a Ken dolls with longer than average side burns, but Pablo does. Pablo thoughtfully takes a moment to inform us of his hobbies. Apparently, he enjoys running, reading, socializing, and jazz. These seem like odd hobbies to me, but then again people describe my hobby as, “Typing sarcastic shit into the Interweb.” I discreetly enter Pablo’s list of hobbies into Twitter. A few seconds later, @Handflapper and I agree that Pablo most likely uses liberal amounts of Axe body spray.

There is a snack basket being handed around the room, but I have already had three bags of Cheetos today. I can’t possibly eat anymore Cheetos. Entering information about the surplus of Cheetos into Twitter results in @lahikmajoe challenging the ‘real’ cheese aspect of Cheetos. Sadly, I fail to defend the cheese content and admit to eating orange powder. My potential marketing position over at Cheetos is now in serious jeopardy.

The next slide of Pablo’s Business Track presentation says, “INFORMATION OVERLOAD.” I write this down in huge letters on the notebook. I am so winning at taking notes right now.

I don’t know if all Italian men frame their sentences oddly while using a thick Italian accent, but Pablo does. He declares with enthusiasm that we are “very much overloaded with information.” Apparently, he fails to see the irony that he is very much contributing to the overload.

I check Twitter again. @jbrown3079 suggests that the Cheetos’ lack of appeal means it is time to leave the conference post haste. Pablo seems unaware of both @jbrown3079′s timely advice and my strong urge to leave his presentation. He pushes on to the next slide which is a picture of Facebook. “Knowledge is evolving,” he states with confidence. I am unsure how this message is connected with Facebook. He really should have gone with Wikipedia for that one, or maybe YouTube.

Pablo’s next slide is inexplicably a Jackson Pollock painting. I am suddenly missing the screens of code. I had a good setup over there with my laptop and duck. Why did I come over here to listen to Pablo? This has been a huge mistake. I check Twitter again to consol myself. @bottledshiny states, “My brain went far, far away.” She must be at this conference somewhere. If I didn’t have to keep my brain in my skull it would have made a run for it a long time ago.

Proceeds from the sale of this shirt go to @bottledshiny. Wait… I suddenly remembered this shirt doesn’t exist. If you see @bottledshiny, just hand her money. Thanks.

About mid-PowerPoint, I notice that Pablo likes to end the most important points of his presentation with the word, ‘whatever.’ Example: “These types of activities are directly linked to content growth and whatever.” “The link between a data driven community is evaluated by business integration, analysis, and whatever.”

Are we supposed to be furnishing the last parts of these statements for him? This could be a call for help. To salvage the rest of the presentation, I will combine Pablo’s statements with those of the most eloquent person I know: The Bloggess.

To decrease legibility, Pablo’s statements are in teal, while contributions stolen from Jenny’s blog are in pink italics. This is all I can do for you today, despite its skull casing, my brain has gone far, far away.

The link between a data driven community is evaluated by business integration, analysis, and I just got molested by a giraffe and I smell like urine.

There are endless opportunities in this type of methodology, but it is very hard to pretend you’re important when all you do is write about clown porn and dead kittens.

A social community is drafting new challenges and homicidal monkey cards for hopeless romantics.

Taking a step forward, we are making this process more useful. You will see the metric here, distracting you with animal tails and mouse skull necklaces.

Who are the influencers of the most important sources of information? Are they prepared for a long vaginal court battle with Eve Ensler?

Hard-linking communities and business improve the internal process, and there are some things that you shouldn’t have to worry about spontaneously combusting and one of those is jam.

To close with the last part, you can dive deep with this in-depth approach, and what I would imagine syphilis smells like.

Don’t get all crazy just ’cause I threw a vampire monkey-wrench in your faulty zombie logic. (Okay, that one was free)

Your Conference Survival Kit

As some of you may be aware, based on my vociferous complaints on Twitter, I recently attended a conference. To be honest, I thought it would be more fun. If you are attending a conference in the near future, I want you to be prepared. Here is a list of things you will need with a picture below for reference.

Please do NOT place this picture into a PowerPoint presentation and force people to listen to you drone on about it for forty-five minutes. I will find out about it and hurt you.
1. Johnny Depp Pirate
While most items crucial for maintaining sanity are located within the conference itself, you will need to bring your own tiny Johnny Depp pirate.  According to @Debihen, a tiny Johnny Depp pirate is essential for “sending out periodically to pilfer and plunder bags of Cheetos.” Also, you can talk to him when you discover that everyone at your lunch table will be discussing the keynote speaker and the operating systems of their phones.
2. Name Tag
The name tag is your key for obtaining snacks and free pens. You can take the name tag off to operate under the radar when skipping the keynote speakers. You can also use the rope around your name tag as a noose for strangling people who cut in the lunch line or presenters who go ahead and take questions even after their time limit is over.
3. Duck with a Computer
You should try to pick up as much free stuff as possible. Pens will be prevalent, but if you can get a rubber duck with a computer, that is ideal. I like that this duck not only has a computer, but is also is giving me the ‘thumbs up’ sign. Ducks with computers generally approve of me. I rate highly among plastic ducks, especially ones with computers.
4. Perrier Bottle
You should be aware that the conference will most likely be filled with grown-ups. Some of them will be wearing suits, while others will have tiny phones in their ears. Absolutely none of them will think you are funny. If they do not think you are funny, you can cover by pretending you are insane. Do this by repeatedly muttering a prepared catch phrase. @lahikmajoe recommends, “Bee in my bonnet.”
In case you get tired of muttering
You can also try to blend in with the grown-ups by carrying around a bottle of Perrier. This is what grown-ups drink. I carried a bottle while muttering, just to be safe.
5. Zombie Defense
People at the conference will be talking in monotone voices and shuffling around with dazed expressions, making it impossible for you to tell whether they are actually zombies.Therefore, you will need to be on high alert and ready to defend yourself from likely attacks.
For zombie defense weaponry, @heinakroon recommends a katana since “those things will split any zombie’s head.” If you fail to find any Japanese samurai swords over at the SWAG table, try surrounding yourself with extra chairs you can use as weapons. The stockpile of chairs will also keep away people who want to hand you their business cards and chat once the presentation is over.
Regarding zombie defense strategies, @jetts21 states strongly that you must “wait till they are undead.” However, I recommend you start flinging chairs out during the question and answer session, just to be safe.
Please feel free to contribute below with your own zombie defense recommendations for the corporate conference environment.
Next post… Surviving the PowerPoint Presentation.
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