Archives » September 30th, 2004

September 30, 2004

The Air Up Here

It seems I’ll have one more home turf advantage at Gnomedex: I’m used to the altitude. I’ve been seeing posts by lots of people, like Darren here, who are having trouble coping with the thin air. Well, I’ve been breathing this stuff for twenty years, so, I’ll race you up the stairs!

I’ve also seen the first anti-gambling post of the conference, from Dave Taylor. He makes good points about casinos being dens of despair, and not the most cheery places around, but overall I’m on Christopher Baus’ side: because of the gaming taxes, there is no personal income tax in Nevada. So drop a few nickels in the slots while you’e walking by. Or a few dollars. Or a few hundred. Whatever.

The Road to Gnomedex

Gnomedex 4 starts tomorrow (tonight, actually, if you’re going to the welcome dinner), and I’ve got my ticket ready. I see that people are starting to trickle into town and get settled in already, but there will be no trickling for me. For once, something big is actually happening right here, right in my backyard. Looking at the Feedster list for Gnomedex shows plenty of people either getting ready for the trip, or already in the hotel. And it feels nice not to have to get ready, not to have to travel, since Lake Tahoe is my home turf.

Okay, I know I shouldn’t be gloating. But when you live in a techie wasteland like the Eastern Sierra Front, you’re used to things not happening nearby. Everything is always going on somewhere else, never here. And you always just take Lake Tahoe for granted. It’s nice for a drive now and then, and to snap a few pictures, but there’s not much going on there, and it’s way too cold to swim in. So now, to think of Lake Tahoe as an actual destination, and worthy of attracting so many people from all over the county, it just doesn’t compute. I forget that Lake Tahoe is this wonderful jewel that people actually enjoy coming to, because I live down the hill, here in the desert, and nobody would ever want to come here.

Anybody who’s in Tahoe for Gnomedex seriously needs to get their hands on a car and drive all the way around the Lake. This is some of the most gorgeous scenery you’re going to find anywhere in the Southwest, and if you come all this way just to spend the whole time in a casino, you’re nuts. Head south on Hwy 50 (the main road by the casinos) then hang a right on Hwy 89. You’ll pass by Cascade Lake and Emerald Bay. You’ll pass by the Tallac Estate, where the filthy rich used to come stay for the summer at the turn of the 20th century. You’ll pass by the Fanny Bridge, so named because everyone leans waaaay over the railing to watch the fish swimming by. You’ll pass by multi-million-dollar mansions in Incline Village, where the filthy rich currently live year-round. And then if you have some more time to kill, head to the east, down the hill. You can actually see the exact line where the forest ends and the desert begins. That’s where I live, on the wrong side of the line. So close to Tahoe, yet so far.

And even if you don’t do any of that, I’ll still see you at Gnomedex. And at the end of the day, when you’re sitting in your hotel room, packing your bags and getting ready for that long flight home, I’ll be enjoying a home-cooked meal and settling into my own bed.

Okay, so maybe I can gloat just a little.