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I wanted everything
for a little while,
why shouldn't I?

DefCON 10 report...

I wrote most of this while driving back,and a fair portion in the days following, with editing later. It's not complete, not even that great, but it does give a general impression of what went out down there.

DEFCON X

Day 1

Everyone was supposed to meet together at Dee's in SLC at midnight. We got there at half past one. It's a long story but not worth writing. I think we left closer to three than two, as we had to get some sort of wireless LAN set up and running, and get the fm transmitter plugged in and running. Unfortunately the rear cigarette lighter assembly wasn't working at all, so we ended up linking two power strips together in order to get it back to where I was using the laptop, transmitter, WAP11 and sign. Grifter had his plugged in, and the Toshiba was also plugged in to let dedhed get his php program up and running for the scavenger hunt team database and records. This was all run off a 350w inverter, which was taxed with the load, but performed admirably for the duration of the trip down, and is doing a good job, albeit with fewer devices and less load, on the way back.

We finally got moving and decided that we'd get the LAN working on the way, which we did. By setting static IP addresses, we were able to get my laptop, Grifter's ThinkPad, and com4's iPaq on the LAN, though nobody else seemed to be able, or willing, to get connected. So, we dorked out and got an IRC server running and all logged into it. It was pretty lame, but we did get it working, so that was pretty cool in and of itself.

On the road, I started playing music, a pretty eclectic mix for sure, but the consensus was that it was good stuff all around.

We did stop a few times, for gas and whatnot, in Fillmore and again in St George. We left A mistakenly with Pollux, but he got a flat tire and had to stop. The funny thing is that they didn't have a radio that was working, or weren't paying attention when the call went out to make sure we had him in a car. Basically, for the rest of the trip we were pretty certain that we'd left him in Fillmore, which was funny in a lot of ways, because it seems like something that would happen to him in a situation like this.

So we finally arrived into Vegas around nine or so, tired and a bit frustrated that we hadn't gotten in much earlier. Perhaps it wasn't all that bad, because only one room was even available at a decent time, which was Grifter's. We kind of lounged in there, and a few of us got a few brief forays into unconsciousness that helped out the situation a lot. It didn't seem like we were going to get to sleep before the evening anyway, so it was best to get a bit here and there and stay up until we could be tired enough to get some real sleep. In retrospect, it seemed like the best decision, like trying to get rid of jet lag by forcing yourself to acclimate to local time

So, we generally dicked around and got into the scene a little bit after getting our badges. We went over to the hard rock hotel and had some food at Mr. Lucky's diner. I believe I had a French dip sandwich, the second one in the last day, as I'd had the same at Dee's, but it was questionably better. The problem was that the Dee's had a shitload of mushrooms on, which I don't like, but also had Swiss cheese, which is a good thing. Given that the Lucky's had neither, it was pretty much a draw, though I think the Lucky's was cheaper since we had mad coupons from the Alexis park for half price on entrees. This was an advantage we'd exploit many times over steak and shrimp that evening and two other nights, when the allure of good steak and shrimp for seven seventy seven plus drink and with a coupon that worked really well. Since the vendor area opened on Friday, we just messed around that evening, going and finding a table in the registration area where we could sit about and get on the wireless network.

The network was one of the most messed up environments that has probably ever existed out of a college campus. It was nearly impossible to get anything working very well, what with all the packets flying around with their bad intentions and Arp requests. Arp, heh, the better part of the network traffic was arp requests and I'm sure it caused no small amount of pain for each and everyone who tried to use it.

dedhed got a good portion of the scavenger hunt program together and gave up early on in the morning, after the caffeine that SigningIS had so generously donated towards the cause. Sleep came relatively easy, though the act of A coming in and opening two cabinets could have possibly woken the dead at that point, it was so ridiculously loud.

At about nine in the morning, Grifter came in to get us up and moving for the scavenger hunt, when the vendor area opened at 10. A was enlisted to get up and get moving on it, so he promptly took a shower, left and was MIA for about 20 minutes. Grifter then had to come back over and find out where he was. He wasn't here, so we pledged that we'd get our stuff in order and get setup before it was too long after ten. A showed up about five minutes later, back from the Wal-Mart or target, with some shampoo and a big thing of water. The water was a godsend; it saved my life several times.

dedhed and I moved our gear over to the Parthenon room 3, where we got in before anyone else, and got our stuff set up in time for the rush of people looking for deals and to get the latest DefCON gear. Grifter had secured a good number of shirts from a few vendors, some of which were highly sought after within hours, as they'd sold out quickly

The basic setup was to run on the Toshiba, with a php database running under mysql. I had my Inspiron with several ways of capturing media. A compact flash and smart media pcmcia adapter would take care of the lions share of camera formats, while a Sony dvmc-da2 was enlisted, but never used, for any analogue to digital transfers from camcorders. I also had my JVC dvcam on hand for the recording of any silly events that might happen. This proved to be a worthwhile tool, as I did indeed get a fair amount of digital footage of said ludicrous acts, many of which are of humorous value.

Several teams signed up in the first few hours, with Agape, the CO Boys and Exxodus taking an early stand and gaining points, pulling away from the other teams by the end of the day, we'd had several pool dives with clothes on, two saran wrappings and a few pathetic attempts at boots full of pudding. We were excited that the hunt was going so well, and were eager to see what the teams would have for us in the morning.

We went to Lucky's again, but instead of the Steak and Shrimp, I decided to go for some kind of turkey sandwich, which was very good. We also saw the better part of the TechTV staff from the event at the table right behind us. Some of them we'd met previously, some were probably just people that were hanging around.

After we got back, we found out that we had really good seats available for the Hacker Jeopardy, as com4 had been helping Grifter move some stuff into the tent, and was saving us some cherry seats. We rushed over to get in, and were indeed in the 2nd row center, perfect for good pictures and video, if it'd thought to bring either of my cameras. I was new to the format, but it basically involved a stripper, Vinyl Vanna, three teams of three, much alcohol and trying to get Vanna as naked as possible. This was more about pleasing the crowd than actually winning, but unfortunately there was one team that was more intent on winning than pleasing the crowd, which obviously didn't please the crowd, or anyone else for that matter. It was late after the first round, so we bailed.

Most every night had 1751 full of people drinking, loud music and a crowd, a theme that culminated on Sunday night. So big and rowdy it was, that it was asked to be moved to the pool, where it went till somewhere around six. Several thousand dollars in alcohol were consumed, I'm sure, but a lot of people met a lot more people, and that's what this is all about.

Saturday was the continuation of quite an exciting hunt. A was the first over to the table, and was immediately confronted by OctalPussy from exodus and a very, very large dildo. She then got a few extra points for attempting to give it head, which would be impossible, as it was gigantic. Exodus and Agape were the only two teams with the resources and desire to get the items necessary to be competitive.

Since Grifter was giving a talk in the afternoon with Skrew from LA2600, we left the table in the questionable hands of the Mac Whores and misc other SLC 2600 peoples while we gave support to Grifter. He'd said that it would be short, maybe 10 minutes, with a lot of participation from the crowd. It turned out to be about 35-40 minutes of Grifter and Skrew speaking their minds and explaining their scene. No one left, the place was mostly packed, and there were a lot of people that came up afterwards to congratulate them on giving them hope for their local scene. Good stuff.

The hunt was resumed, and more and more stuff trickled in. It soon became apparent that more than a few of the items that we had were much sought after, and no longer available from the vendors, as they'd sold out. Since Grifter's t-shirt table was now available after selling out, we moved the gear around and put one table in front of the other, making the items unmolestable by the crowds. Most people had seen them anyhow, anyways.

After the close of the vendor area, we got together and decided that we'd get something to eat. The Black and White ball was going on, but was less of a Ball, and more of a club scene than anything. We took three cars to the Rio, which made for an interesting trip in the VoJ, with tire-squealing antics, and a few wrong turns. When we finally got together, we found that the line was ridiculously long, but that Grifter and company had saved us a spot a bit further on in the line. We also ran into Patrick Norton from TechTV's the Screen Savers. We obviously let him in line and talked to him all the way through. When it came time to get seating, we had to settle for a long table and a few booths, much to the chagrin of Grifter, who wanted a setup where we could all be together. Ten minutes later, the table behind us cleared, but most of us were done, as the food was terribly unimpressive, equal to the service. We sat and talked to Patrick until the place was closing up. It was very cool, as he told us a bit about how he got into the industry, where he was from and basically how he's just a normal Joe.

After the eating, we headed back to the park. I rode back with SigningIS and Patrick in the Jeep, and went about trying to find everyone. I wandered over to Hacker Jeopardy and found ManicV and crew watching. A few minutes later, on a Daily Double, ManicV was picked from the crowd to answer the question of what Dr. Evil's mom's name was. Upon giving the correct answer, he got to go up and partially undress Vanna and get whipped, which I have pictures of. Eventually I ended up standing next to Patrick again until the first round was over, then I bailed back towards the room. Dedhed, com4 and copec were heading out to the strip to vandalize the place with hektik stickers. I decided not to go, and copec decided that he'd rather not, so we went back to the room and watched some of Blade Runner.

Sunday brought the conclusion of the party, with a big rush to get in the final items that the teams could muster up, and it was full of drama as well. Agape and Exxodus were in a virtual tie for the lead, with the third and fourth place teams having less than ¼ the points. A boot full of pudding, condom full of pudding and misc other items highlighted the early going. Pictures and video streamed in as teams were grasping for anything to give them an advantage.

Exxodus had a card to play, however, as they hadn't had anyone jump in the pool with their clothes on yet. They got siviak to put 31 items of clothing on and jump in the pool, making an astonishing 310 points, and grabbing the lead. Adding to the drama was a point deduction due to a complaint by an unwillingly photographed woman. Though Agape would still have lost, they went away pretty upset when noon rolled around.

Third place was captured in the final minutes, when Team Stupid Team Name found someone with a DefCON 5 shirt, which put them into a solid 3rd place. The same guy also had previously won the coveted black badge for the official DefCON phrase.

We divvied up the prized, with the most sought after items going to the first place team, and the lesser prizes were put towards the second and third place ones. As the prizes were mostly taken, we pilfered what was left that we wanted, and then went in search of food. The Hard Rock Café was mentioned by copec, so we went and had a very good lunch there. After lunch, we went back to the room and geeked out for a few hours, playing THPS on the projector and generally dorking about.

Thank God dedhed waited till after the Hunt was over to rm –rf his /usr directory, and mess up his Slack install. I think it would have put a pretty big damper on the operation otherwise. Com4 was dicking with SigningIS' laptop and sniffing people's passwords. It snow-crashed a few times, to our surprise, but apparently that's a “feature” of the Inspiron 3800 line or something. He needs a BIOS update or something.

In the process of said dicking around, we accumulated a fair number of people in the room. While everyone was collecting together before we went to dinner, we decided to go through the pictures and video that we'd accumulated so far. This was pretty cool because I'd left some Nightmares on Wax in the playlist, and it went really well with the show.

We bailed over to the Hard Rock Casino again, and to visit Mr. Lucky's for probably the last time this year. Lo and behold, Luke and entourage were in tow, so we made it a three-table affair, much to the derision of our waitress, who could have chilled my drink with her stare. We were going to tip here very well, but since it was such a large party, they included the gratuity in the bill. Oh well. We had some good laughs, got some hilarious pictures of Grifter being punched by rudeboy's sticker'd fist, and made a good amount of noise in a very loud restaurant. For some reason, com4 was on a roll, so dedhed and Grifter just fed off him, making for a good time.

After the food, we decided to go to the strip and make with more of the stickering, which dedhed and com4 had begun the night before. The boys stomped off for the hike to the Aladdin, while the ladies were going to meet us there. Unfortunately, we found that the keys for the cars were in the respective male companion's pockets. We found someone kind enough to give them a ride to the corner to get the keys, but for some reason, parking the car and getting to the front corner of the casino wasn't easily accomplished. So, we waited in front of the casino shops entrance, eight or nine of us at least. Luckily, serial decided that it would be cool to get people, people meaning hot chicks, to hold the hektik stickers so that we could take a picture. Dedhed and serial pursued this task with reasonable success, and many photos were taken.

After we finally got together, some of the group decided that they'd rather go back to the Park and sit in the pool. I wasn't looking forward to walking around that much, as the soles of my feet suffer some kind of affliction that makes them burn like fire when I've walked for a few miles. I left with the posers and decided that a nice shower would cleanse the nasty nico-tar residue from the vendor area from my body. The rest of the group stayed out for a few more hours, blanketing the strip in stickers and making hektik a household name, or something like that.

Monday morning. Con is over; we must pack up everything and leave for home. I don't know what we were thinking, but some people wanted to go to the Stratosphere. Sure it's cool and all, but it was the middle of the day! Las Vegas is much more glamorous at night from the Stratosphere, though the rides are surely a lot more interesting as well. Given that we finally gave up on that sidetrack, and that we still barely got home before 10pm, it was surely for the best. DCXI may see a sojourn at the tallest building in Las Vegas.

The trip home was uneventful. We did get the FM transmitter going, with much better placement of the antenna, but with only two vehicles other than ourselves listening. We stopped in St. George for some food, where copec tried Café Rio, Grifter tried Quiznos and the rest of us had some Chinese at Panda Express. We proceeded up the road till we filled up again in Fillmore, and took on some more beverages and junk food.

The rest of the trip was standard, with Grifter heading north a bit quicker to get his tux back to the renters before nine. We dropped Influx and VJ off in SLC and then headed for home.