Registration was a bear. I was told that as a speaker, I had to pick up my registration materials at Moscone South. While the speaker registration was indeed there, they sent me to Moscone West (which is a hop, skip, and a half mile walk away). The reason had something to do with how much I paid to register. I was a speaker, but I also paid (or maybe was just given out of the goodness of someone's hear) to get Oracle OpenWorld Club Gold and something called "Information Overload." I was also an alumna of various other Hyperion conferences.
Being Information Overloaded got me an iPod. I assumed it was a Shuffle or a Nano. To my shock and awe, it turned out to be an iPod Touch. I've been playing with it all day, and with one small exception (I can't create appointments on its calendar), I absolutely love it. It's my new favorite MP3 player. As an alumna, I got a jacket with the Oracle logo on it. The jacket makes me look suspiciously like a janitor, but I'm glad to have it: I moronically left for San Francisco, the arctic tundra of California beach towns, without a jacket of any kind.
The weather here is actually nice (though a bit breezy). I used my geektastic jacket to keep me warm while I earned some blisters walking the lengths of Chinatown looking for a vegetarian restaurant. I found one at 854 Washington Street called "Lucky Creation." My entire meal that I couldn't even finish cost me less than $15. It was also tasty enough to, I think, warrant the blisters.
Club Gold is interesting. In terms of swag, it earned me a solar-powered cell phone charger. It also grants access to a special lunch location and a lounge in Moscone West that provides snacks. It's kind of like a little American Airlines Admiral's Club without the airplane sounds coming from outside. The view from the 3rd floor Gold lounge patio is quite nice. The most important benefit to Club Gold is the early entrance (and reserved seating) to all keynotes. I used it to be one of the first in to the opening night keynote.
The opening keynote was 100 minutes of Oracle patting itself on the back for making it to 30 years. I actually did learn some decent Oracle trivia. I also was close enough to Larry Ellison (who talked for 45+ minutes at the onset of the festivities) to see that he's beginning to look more and more like Richard Branson. They had a band made of Oracle customers and employees (Gear Driver, I think). They were pretty good covering classic rock songs. When they tried to do one more about Oracle (something like "Oracle Rocks!" chanted 182 times) it was ear damaging. No offense guys (and one gal) in the band, but it was pretty horrible for that one song. Stick to the oldies.
The keynote was supposed to last an hour followed by an opening night "70's style" cocktail party. Since the keynote ended up lasting a lot longer than it was supposed to, I didn't even bother staying at the cocktail party long enough to drop my hotel key in the basket at the entrance. Kidding: it wasn't a key party. The food was horrible (hot dogs, chicken wings, and little/nothing vegetarian), but the booze was flowing nicely to my drinking friends. There was a 70's style version of Jeopardy. The contestants weren't that terribly bright, so the audience ended up having to shout out most of the answers. Come on, people! Everyone knows that the crew of Jaws called the shark "Bruce"! After 15 minutes of trying to find interRel clients, I retired back to my hotel to prepare for my presentation on day 2.
Louis, I dedicate this blog entry to you.