Friday, January 11, 2013

New Media Expo Trip 1

So, here we go.  The trip took us four days, but a lot of that was driving, so I think I can manage this in three posts.  Let's get started, I don't have all day.

Actually, I do have all day.  Thanks for reminding me.

Big's car is not registered (and hasn't been since midway through the Jimmy Carter administration), so I had to drive the two of us down to Vegas.  He had, however, thought to bring his spiffy new Samsung Galaxy Tablet, with which he's been recording his own solo podcast this year.  The weather has been abominable these past two weeks, and we were happy to escape the five degree weather and head to lovely Las Vegas.

On the way, we talked a great deal (about movies, stories, the podcast, and womanfolk), but we also used his tablet to record a little for the podcast.  We knew the quality wouldn't be great, but I listened to his show (called "The Anklecast"), and it was still listenable, so we figured the content would matter more than the crystal clear signal.

Big has been really excited about writing lately, setting goals and working toward them.  It's laudable, and even though I currently have no goals to speak of, when someone around you is trying to better themselves, it's hard not to want to do the same.  One big goal that both of us need to work on this year is to put out some of our stories--ourselves--online where people can buy them.  I have long been worried about that sort of thing, but he described a scenario where somebody bought those stories, and that encouraged me to upload more, and somebody bought those as well.  That would be both exciting and nice, and I really think that all it would take is a single positive experience to get me hooked on doing it again and again.

Speaking of hooked, literally everybody (which means, "figuratively everybody") at the Expo had either an iPad or a SmartPhone they could surf the internet on.  It made me want to get one.  Of course, I felt the same way when we were in the Rio casino and I saw all the waitresses with their skimpy Amazonian outfits on.

It's not an extremely long trip, to get to Las Vegas, and I enjoy driving, but I'll admit my back started to hurt before too long. 

The Expo itself was at the Rio Pavilion, which was specifically made for conventions, yet still attached to the Hotel and Casino, which is right off the freeway, and only half a mile or so from the Strip.  We tried to get there before five o'clock, when the cutoff for picking up our badges was.  We made it with fifteen minutes to spare, only to see no one in line, and two bored-looking employees studying their iPhones with disinterest.

Due to Big's daughter having a birthday, we had missed all but the speed dating portion of the first day of the convention, and all I know about speed dating is that they do it in 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, and that I hate the very fugging concept of it.  I don't even know if I'm supposed to capitalize Speed and Dating, so I shall never mention it again.  Ever.

Seriously, if I ever bring it up again, call me on it.

But I guess I should explain what the New Media Expo is.  As far as I know, it's a yearly gathering of bloggers, podcasters, and web video people, who talk about technology and revenue, and use words like "monetization" and "niche-encompassing." In other words, it's a great deal about the business side of internet-based content, not so much about the creative aspect. But the organizers of the convention wanted to change all that, so they invited big names like Scott Sigler and Veronica Belmont to come out and, hopefully, increase the traffic in those areas.

That's where we came in, speaking in the Content Creation category of the schedule. We were ridiculously outnumbered, of course, and I have absolutely no marketing or schmoozing ability whatsoever. At one point, we got in the lift with a stranger, who, seeing our badges, told us we had thirty seconds to give him our "elevator pitch."

Big held him down while I punched him in the stomach and genitals.  Big got his wallet.  It paid for all our meals.

Anyway, Abbie Hilton's group were all staying at the Rio, so we went up to their room and got to meet Bryan Lincoln, Renee Chambliss, Lauren "Scribe" Harris, and see Abbie, who we'd met before.  It's strange that a collection of producers of audio would be such a good-looking bunch, since no one need see their faces.  Everybody was jet-lagged (Big and I were the only ones who drove), and tired and ill, so we didn't stay long.

There was one important thing I got out of the little time we chatted on the first evening: both Renee and Bryan have been recording audiobooks for pay and putting them out on  I've wanted to do that for years and years, and was a major contributor to my doing a podcast in the first place, so I listened with great interest to how they went about it, and vowed (at least until the heat of the moment passed, anyway) that I too would throw my voice in the ring, as soon as I got back home.

As I've said before, it's nice to be around ambitious people, as it makes me want to be more ambitious, and this group was nothing if not enthusiastic about writing, producing, and earning from their creative endeavors.  Hear, hear.

We went for a walk, the group of us, going over to Las Vegas Boulevard (on foot), and eating at Denny's. Lauren revealed she does an excellent Gollum impression, and must have brought up STAR WARS five or six different times. Nerd catnip, kids.

Two years ago, we came to Vegas to usher in the new year, and I had remembered staying at the Mirage hotel. They had had a karaoke bar amid the gambling halls, so we went there to make sure. Part of me thought it might have been the Sahara we stayed at, but my sister insisted it was the Mirage. Well, the interior of the Mirage was totally unfamiliar to me, and they not only claimed to not have a karaoke bar, but that it was 1961 and karaoke had not yet been invented. Sammy Davis Junior agreed with them, blinking both his eyes.

Big and I inquired about karaoke from a hostess with the mostest (at least in her blouse), and she actually looked it up on the internet to tell us where we could go. She said there was karaoke at the Imperial Palace casino, but that we could go to the Ellis Island, if we wanted to experience Old Las Vegas. She kept using that phrase, "Old Las Vegas" (as if it meant something other than organized crime), and I tried to keep count of how many time she said it, but I'm afraid she was too pretty for any math or concentration.

The weather in Vegas was pretty darn great. It was in the fifties that first night, and in the sixties the next two. When you come from below freezing temperatures, it feels a bit like paradise. At least to me.

I have several relatives who live in Vegas, so the two of us opted to stay with my aunt and uncle, who had prepared the guest room, and a converted garage room for me and Big, respectively.  Big has already told and retold this story, but he made something of an unpleasant discovery when trying to go to sleep that night.  There was a bad smell in the bed, and he got the sensation of creepy crawlies, so he turned on the light, and found a dead mouse under the covers with him.

He alerted me, and I woke my aunt, who felt very embarrassed about the whole thing.  I told her it was no big deal, but then we remembered the time my Uncle Len found those dead hookers under the mattress in that motel room in Reno, and we all had a bit of a laugh.

Actually, my aunt is a very nice woman, and I hope she didn't feel terrible about it, since it was just Big Anklevich . . . who has gone to bed with much worse in his time.

Rish Outfield

1 comment:

Seraph said...

'Big held him down while I punched him in the stomach and genitals. Big got his wallet. It paid for all our meals.' - I loved this line.

Very cool reading so far Rish. Looking forward to the rest !