Any of you who know me as of late know that I have been spending a good portion of my time working. While I do try to work full time, sometimes missing the hours, I have not taken an overnight vacation in at least a year. So, when I realized that I had this past Thursday, May 26th off, I knew I had to take advantage of the situation.
Those that know me know that I frequent the message board of Leo Laporte, who used to host a couple of shows on TechTV and is now working on a number of media projects. On this board, members noticed that Leo was going to be speaking at a technical conference at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The event focused on the use of Macromedia projects in web development and gaming, among other topics; the conference was presented by the South Eastern Ohio Macromedia User’s Group. I had thought about maybe going for quite a while, since the first mention of the conference. I knew, however, that I would likely have to work that day. On the Tuesday night before, I was at my buddy Mike’s house and asked if he wanted to go on a road trip. He asked where we would be going; I described the event. He quickly agreed, and we began to make arrangements. Fortunately, there were rooms at the local Super 8. Our room was only $60 after tax and included free Wi-Fi internet access.
We got out of bed at 6AM and were checked out of the hotel by 7. Once at the Ohio University Inn, we were treated to a series of clips from the archives of TechTV, ZDTV, and MSNBC. Leo showed up at 8. The breakfast was very informal and humorous. We ordered and ate later than we expected; we didn’t leave the breakfast until about 11. Of course, the conference sessions were scheduled to start at 9. Obviously, we missed those, especially since we needed to travel to the Baker Center about 3 miles away and find parking. Noon rolled around and Mike and I, along with the rest of the group from breakfast, grabbed our lunches and our seats for the speech with Leo. He talked about the relatively new phenomenon of podcasting and the power of the individual to create and consume content on their own schedule. The session was due to last about 50 minutes so that the next session could convene right at 1. As usual for Leo, he ran over his time; no one seemed to notice or care.
After lunch, Leo went downstairs to the lounge to sign autographs and snap some photos. The folks from breakfast simply hung around and chatted with each other until long after Leo left at 1:40. Several of us stayed until nearly 4PM. I led a couple of the folks back to the Inn, and Mike and I were ready to head home. Before we got on the road, however, I decided to try calling my brother, since he is a resident student of the college. He happened to be free for a little while, so we spent about a half an hour to an hour talking. He had to get back to work, so Mike and I spent the next three hours or so driving back to Mansfield, managing to avoid getting lost… too much. Actually, I just wanted to avoid some construction and got turned around on one of the state routes on the way back. Fortunately, it only detoured us by about five minutes.
While I try to avoid being a fanboy, I have to say that I admire what Leo and the rest of the TechTV crew were attempting to do and what they are trying to accomplish now. And it was great to see my brother for the first time in several weeks. Most of all, I was just very glad to take advantage of a confluence of events for a short but rewarding vacation.