The trip to Austin was as uneventful as I'd expected. I had no trouble getting the pistol through the baggage check. The rental car this time turned out to be a Nissan Altima, a first for me, but nice enough. Traffic to the hotel wasn't bad either, especially for a rush hour afternoon.
I got into the lobby, and promptly ran into Eric and Cathy Raymond. We talked for a while, in the lobby, then their room, as Eric bemoaned the fact that the WiFi access point was in its factory default configuration and thus unusable (since it didn't know the network specifics). He got a faraway look when I mentioned that that meant it had the factory default configuration password.
While he hacked at that, I went to my room and unpacked a little, then back to his. Cathy was getting hungry. I asked Eric what he wanted, and he said that since he was in Texas, he wanted Texas food. We discovered that we both had been to Rudy's barbecue, and both loved it, and were ready to go again. On the way out, we found out that there was a group trip planned to Rudy's for later that evening. Cathy needed food now, however, so we went next door to the Chinese buffet. I drank iced tea and talked about philosophy with Eric while Cathy ate enough to keep her going until the trip to Rudy's. (Eric says he has a framework for resolving the question of whether man has free will. I'll take his word for it; it sounds plausible, but I'm not qualified to say if he's right.)
Back to the hotel just in time to collect everyone for the trip to Rudy's. While we were waiting, kinkyturtle walked up, and I introduced him to Howard. I volunteered to drive, since I'm comfortable with getting around Austin. I wound up with howardtayler, landley, and another of the con committee. Off we went. Rudy's was as good as ever. So was the discussion.
Howard has tried to draw me a few times since I sent him an autographed picture. He wasn't satisfied with the first try, and had vowed to try again when he saw me in person. I sat while he drew, and his next couple of tries got better. He was looking wasted, though, and so we headed back to the hotel. I went to bed not long after I finished unpacking.
I woke up at my usual early hour Friday. I IRCed a bit with vakkotaur and pharwarner, then had the buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant. While I was there, Patrick Phillips, host of a local TV talk show that's just getting started, found me. I'd agreed to an interview with him, and we talked about it for a bit. He said he'd call when he was ready for me to come down. While I waited for that, I worked on my costume for the Linucon Masquerade. He called, I got into the TRON costume, and went down to talk. That went well, although we had to repeat a lot of it when a technical problem was discovered.
Back to my room, back to street clothes for a while. I had a conference call for my other employers, and after that, worked on the costume more. I came up for air and lunch. I'd mentioned Whataburger to Howard in his LJ, and he was game to try it. The group wound up being Howard, me, Howard's volunteer wrangler, and KT. Good, as always. Howard said he wished he was hungrier because he could tell he'd like it.
Upon our return, KT LJed while I worked on my costume. I cut the heck out of my thumb in the process. KT was nice enough to supply a Band-Aid. I left him at my computer while I went off to a session. After that, I came back to my room and got back into the TRON costume, which I'd wear to opening ceremonies and panels after that.
Opening ceremonies were fun. All of the guests of honor spoke a bit, and Rob Landley described what could be found. He introduced me at one point, and I got a nice round of applause. A little later, I stood up again and mentioned that Rob, as founder of Penguicon, was in part responsible for my current fame, and the folks there should remember: they could be in my position next year. That got a laugh.
The first of my panels was next. Kim Kofmel, the Masquerade organizer, Cathy Raymond, and I spoke about the basics of costuming to a very few people, including a reporter from the Daily Texan, the University of Texas student newspaper. Cathy had changed into a historical costume, a dress from the Netherlands in the 5th century. Nice.
I watched the end of the Celebrity Munchkin game, including Wil's great play that ended it. I got my Heart of the Anomaly card (which was created especially for Linucon and given to all attendees) signed, which makes it good for an extra level. I bummed around a bit, including a stop in my room to change the helmet battery (which had gone flat). Eventually, I went up to the con suite, in search of Ovalquik ice cream. They hadn't made it due to a lack of expertise and ingredients. Rob came up to supply the former, but the latter wasn't to be available until after a shopping trip. We settled for milk and honey. While we were waiting for the ingredients to be mixed up, one of the other con staffers played with the liquid nitrogen. I was standing in the resulting cloud, and Howard had to get a picture. I pointed out that spandex was a lousy insulator, to much laughter. The ice cream was almost sinfully good.
By now, it was time for Wil Wheaton's reading from his books Dancing Barefoot and Just a Geek. The place was packed. Wil's a good actor, as should be painfully obvious, and the reading was great. He had the place rolling. Afterward, he said he'd have books to sign; I asked him to hold one for me, as I didn't have my wallet because I didn't have any place to put it. He got a kick out of that.
I was late to my next panel, on Linux Distributions, but nobody seemed to mind (probably because most of them were in Wil's reading too). That one was lively, and ran long, but I think the folks there got what they were looking for. I started to go to Rob's Python tutorial panel, but I was about to fall over, so I got up again and went off to bed.
I've got four panels to do today, the first at 11 AM. I'm also doing the Masquerade, and need to finish the costume before then. Good thing I'm up early, even though it means that I'll be wasted by the time the day's over.