Coping in Vegas

Las Vegas is jarring enough in the best circumstances, but throw in a mega migraine and it becomes a sort of comedy of errors.

Black Hat Keynote room, arrive early to get a good seat

I got up early with T in order to catch the Day 1 Black Hat Keynote, Shawn Henry (former FBI EAD, now of CrowdStrike). I’ll avoid specific commentary on his presentation being that I’m not really a part of the community. I’ll just say that I was wishing for a cup of coffee throughout the talk.

Part of the intense malaise I began to experience turned out to be the beginning of what would develop into a massive migraine. A $6 cup of awful casino drip coffee didn’t help. A little nap on the couch in our cavernous Caesars suite, weird Febreze/stale smoke smells on the cushions and muffled pool party dance tunes coming in through the windows. Somehow I managed to maneuver acquiring dry cleaning bags and sending out some pants.

Sometime in the afternoon I convinced myself that the migraine was almost gone, so it was time to find something to eat at the food court. I made the mistake of getting chow mein, which was a tasteless wad of sloppy noodles, onions, cabbage and mystery meat in a pool of oil. I sat there fighting my lunch with a pair of chopsticks and trying to finish up Snow Crash while enduring the glances, gigglings, and whisperings of a neighboring table of teenage girls before coming to the realization that the migraine was actually gaining ground on me.

So my migraines usually end up messing with my ability to think and reason and remember, so it’s not uncommon to get confused and make some silly mistakes. Bad enough when this happens at home, but trying to get from the food court back to my hotel room took more time than I would’ve liked. I ended up in a loop past the Shadow bar and under Cleopatra’s barge couple of times before taking the right turn past the correct cluster of slot machines.

I made my way to what I thought was my hotel room and was dismayed to find that my key didn’t work. I tried the spare key and still the little red light, jiggled the handle and looked around. My synesthesia came to my rescue, as I realized 2434 was yellow purple green purple, therefore I was missing red, which would be 6, which meant I was on the wrong floor. 2634, my key worked perfectly. Whoops.

I ended up consuming the remainder of my migraine meds and taking to bed until later in the evening, then another trip to the food court and back to the smelly couch with Snow Crash, trying to force recovery in time to meet up with T for the White Hat Pure Party.

Surprisingly I managed to pull it together: Paul Oakenfold DJing, open bar and plentiful conversations with lots of new faces. I guess out of everything Vegas has to offer I like this the best, a large venue to wander and get slowly drunk while conversing on topics from Exxon plants in Baton Rouge to political corruption in Zimbabwe.

Must get some sleep in time for tomorrow’s Keynote, though, I cannot miss Neal Stephenson!


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