...for those that missed this fact, I'm in Charlotte, and I am kickin' it in Skyland with a glass of Sweet Tea and a plate of biscuits while I type this. Across from me are a bunch of dancers and bouncers that just got off work at one of the strip clubs down the road. I always liked Skyland, because I imagine this is what Jerry Springer's dressing rooms look like. Ah, the Progressive New South. But first, let me wrap up what happened in New York really quickly. See how behind I am? Uh, let's see...what wasn't computer geeky, yet still worth mentioning? I almost got into a fight with the Teamsters at the convention center, since I broke into the storage area to get Loki's boxes during the breakdown. Apparently we aren't allowed to move our own boxes, since otherwise, these poor teamsters would have no reason to live. After the second trip back to the storage area, some painfully urban union boss caught me lifting a cardboard box...which is apparently intolerable to these guys. I was escorted back to the show floor by two goons and the ghost of Jimmy Hoffa. Hours later, after being the last exhibitors to get our boxes (don't piss off Teamsters, because they WILL beat you), we packed up and headed to dinner. In a stretch limo. You can buy ANYTHING for dirt cheap on the streets of New York. For thirty bucks, seven of us rode in comfort to Chinatown. We thought it was the Chinese New Year...apparently we were a few days early, so instead of arriving to see dragons and fireworks we arrove to see the same filthy city as elsewhere...with a little more ethnicity. With the exception of Jim, who considers everything past New Jersey to be "out west," none of the other Loki guys understood the principle of eating chinese food in New York City. There are NO restaurants that sit you down, take your coat, give you a nice pot of tea, etc...you'd be lucky not to catch a disease in most of them. That is, unless you know the correct process for selecting a restaurant. There's two steps to this process: 1) Find the restaurant with the most rediculous name. Chances are they know nothing about American advertising, which means they probably know how to cook up a storm. So avoid places with names like "China Delights" and "King Tien's Oriental Palace", and look for something more along the lines of "Happy Duck Chinese Food." Remember to distinguish between poor grammar and an absurd name...this is a common mistake made by first-time visitors to Chinatown. 2) If in doubt, ask a cop. Police in New York know full well that their badges label them as tour guides for Out-of-Towners. If you watch NYPD Blue, you would think this would piss them off, but it doesn't, since you will probably be the only person in the course of the night that will talk to them like a human being, and you will DEFINITELY be the only one that talks to them with respect. The cop we asked had the THICKEST Bronx accent I have ever heard. This guy was a Pizon, through and through. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that his response was, "I don't eat no chink food. But there's a GREAT Italian restaurant right down that road..." For the life of me, I can't remember the name of that restaurant, but it was the best food I think I've ever had. I've never been grateful for cops before. At dinner we discussed the upcoming expos we would be attending. Among them is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or "E3" for short. The reason I bring it up is this: Unlike LinuxWorld, it's a show dedicated to video games, and nothing but video games. Seeing as this is the case, the main clientele for this show are horny young men, that do nothing all day but jockey their joysticks...so to speak. Since the main characterics of this demographic are hormones and a short attention span, it follows naturally that every company with a booth at E3 is going to need SOMETHING to catch their eye and hold onto it like a bucking bronco for as long as possible. The solution: Booth babes. If you've never heard that term before, the plan goes something like this: a couple of days before the show, the town is stripmined for beautiful girls by game companies. They hire every stripper, exotic dancer, prostitute, and catholic school girl they can, dress them up like Laura Croft, and plant them in the company's booth. The girls are effectively paid to be dick magnets. If I'm not mistaken, E3 takes place in Las Vegas, so no worries: this will be decidedly not the most gaudy display of sexual exploitation in town. Still, not to be outdone, Loki has already hired a booth babe. Her name is Asia. Asia Carrera. She's a porn star. I've already seen the Loki jersey with her name on it. I thought I might do some research about her and see who I'll be hanging out with during E3. After punching "Asia Carrera" into a 'net search engine, I expected to get about 8,000,000 pages of results. Fortunately, the first one on the list was http://www.asiacarrera.com/ ...who says domain-dipping doesn't work? So apparently we've hired a computer geek porn star...which seems appropriate to me. She runs her own website and writes the HTML by hand. Oh, and she's been in over 300 porn movies. I am alternately impressed and repulsed by this fact. Anyhow, I'm in Charlotte for the week, so I'll probably see a lot of you mailing list folks soon, if I haven't already. And, since I'm not hacking video games and map editors (much) this week, I'll actually be able to REPLY to email. Oooh... --ryan.