February, 2017 Edition

by Ms. Duh
Contributing Columnist

February.

Already?

First of all, let’s get the Trump-bitchin’ out of the way.

“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” - <i>H.L. Mencken </i> Somebody posted on social media “GIVE HIM A CHANCE” in regards to our Nightmare-in-Chief. Alrighty. Well, aside from the alt-right Nazi he has as a trusted advisor, myriad of cabinet appointees that make me vomit, and the inordinate amount of time he spends acting the fool and proving beyond a shadow of a doubt to me that we’ve elected someone who is truly mentally ill, yeah, okay. I’ll consider giving him a chance… when monkeys fly out my butt.

It’s February. As I think about things, and rack my brain as to what to write, a wave of nostalgia waxes and wanes in my head about Macworld Expo. Oh my lord, the Expo. For those of you who remember the Expo, and if your on a site called macmothership.com, I pretty much bet you are one who not only remember/attended the expo, but still has a closet full of crap you’ve brought home from Macworld over the course of its existence. But for those of you who’ve found this column by accident and are trapped under something large and heavy enough to prevent you from navigating away to 4chan or reddit, I’ll give you a quick and dirty history of Macworld.

Macworld Expo was a trade-show/conference dedicated to the Apple Macintosh platform produced by Boston’s IDG World Expo, of whom I think are now owned by the Chinese, or might be owned by the Chinese or are considering converting to Buddhism or something Chinesey like that. It was a gathering of the Mac-minded that dated back to 1985 held in San Francisco. In it’s heyday, there were expos in New York, Japan, London and D.C.

My own Macworld remembrances span the range of emotion from the alcohol-fueled feeling of “OMG IT WAS THE BEST OF TIMES” to hangover realizations of “OMG, I DID THAT?? I CAN NEVER SHOW MY FACE IN CIVILIZED SOCIETY EVER AGAIN”. Macworld was a weeklong beerfest with like-minded people of whom I thought were cooler than the Arctic and were into the same thing I was into. It was an opportunity to meet all these online mac community friends that I had, in person and drink with them.

My first Macworld was January 2000, and I had won a Superpass from the internet radio show Mac Show Live. A Superpass let me go to any conference, and to the keynote. Although this should have been the best time in my life, it was kind of a bummer, because I hadn’t yet met anyone to pal around yet and I ended up wandering around all by my lonesome for three days until the fourth where I found a girl who befriended me and we ended up going to a speaker conference and then getting drunk at a piano bar in downtown San Francisco. I did go to the Keynote, and trust me, BELIEVE the hype about Steve Jobs and the reality distortion field. It was overwhelming to me, the sheer COOLNESS of being there, and the throng of people became this giant entity who throbbed and vibrated with excitement. YES. BELIEVE IT. This was the year he changed from the interim CEO to the CEO of Apple. It was almost surreal how deep in the koolaid I was drowning. Yes. I’m glad I was there. That and the piano bar drunk were the highlights of that trip.

I went as PRESS to a bunch of them, which allowed me more access than usual (Thanks, Chuck LaTournos of http://www.randommaccess.com). I saw more people, more things, more areas and it was always n00by level cool. I NEVER GOT JADED. I always succumb to the distortion field. I welcomed it, like an addict waiting for a fix. I loved the feeling of being a n00b.

You’ll always run into the too-cool-for-school attendees that complain that people are just enthralled over stupid shit or are akin to enthusiastic unthinking mac cult members. They get to see the Keynote every year and are so blasé about it like they were Johnny Depp trying to fight through the mass of photographers to get to the Viper Room. I have a word for these people. Assholes. Don’t you dare let them drain the n00b excitement of the reality distortion field from you. They are nerds like you. They just scrappled their way to the top of the nerd pile, and are currently living out their Lord of the Flies fantasy.

I went to Macworld from 2000 to 2005 or 4 or 6. I don’t remember. I went to the San Francisco one and the last New York one, and meant to go more, but life, money, etc got in the way. I always meant to go back. I was heartbroken when Apple left in 2008 and I was doubly saddened when they canceled the expo in 2015.

I have a very soft spot in my heart for the Expo and you think you know why, but you don’t. It wasn’t because I saw new and exciting stuff at the Expo - the floor was boring and expensive. Or I learned so much at the conferences - never signed up for a single one. It wasn’t because I loved touring San Francisco - didn’t go to very many places and the place I remember where I had the most fun was the lobby of the Serrano Hotel because we all sat around and sucked down free wine for two hours every night.

I have a soft spot in my cold, black heart because at Expo, is where I saw my online Mac friends. It’s where online friends became REAL friends. It was a time for drinking and fellowship and engagement in Mac nerddom. It was a time to bask in the community created by ALL THESE FREAKING PEOPLE. It was a place that you could just go up to someone and blather about Macs and 9 times out of 10, it was not only forgiven but indulged and encouraged. You felt the sense of belonging even when you just sat in the breeze ways between halls, watching the people go by. At least I did. I could just BE, and feel “Hey, you are MY people.” And my people were made up of ALL SORTS. Pink haired little girls, old tubby balding dudes, freaks, geeks, and norms. They all had Mac in common and felt the same sort of pull to the machine that I did. It was a safe environment to be all that you could Macintoshly be. Shy people could be social, the people lacking knowledge could learn, the dumb could be smartened up, and the smart could be smarter. It was where you could experience the Mac Community - something I think is lost now. It’s not the same anymore as it was when Mac was younger. Mac is past thirty, and the rebel/Think Different image is long retired. There is a different feel to it all now, and I suspect it is due, in a large part, to the death of Steve Jobs. The innovative spirit and rebel soul seems to have disappeared.

I miss the excitement I use to feel in January when Macworld Expo was getting close. Even when I couldn’t go, I sat and caught as much of it online as I could. I hate to tell ya, but I have a lot of the keynotes stored on a hard drive and when I get to where I need a wayback-expo fix, I’ll watch one. Or I’ll go on youtube and bring old Mac commercials up. Or google up old Mac magazine ads - or issues of Macweek or Macaddict. That sounds a little nuts, doesn’t it?

I just realized, I’ve become THAT person. That one that might be crazy. A crazy one.

<i>Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. —Apple</i>




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