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Sunday, January 31, 2010

DoD CyberCrime Conference 2010 - St. Louis



This past week has been one of my busiest! Monday I had an online conference w/Fairpoint to go over their Internet security software; Tuesday I flew out of Portland, Maine to head to the DoD Cybercrime Conference 2010 in St. Louis. This is my fifth year providing training for them.

Flew United, flight was on time to Chicago O'Hare. Then I had a three-hour layover, so I made some calls and it looks like I'm getting some more work - YAY! Ate lunch, talked w/Chris a zillion times (I missed him), then got on the plane to St. Louis.

Again, the flight was on time (actually, a few minutes early). Alex, who I've known as long as I've been going to the conferences, picked me up at the airport. His mom, Diana, is my adopted "mom" and called to make sure I'd landed, then told him to bring me right up to the conference without checking into the hotel yet. So we did and as we were going up the escalator to the conference, she was on her way down. She had a glass in her hand, gave it to me, said "Apple Pie! I'll be back up in a minute." and down she went.

She was right, the drink did taste just like an apple pie. We waited for her to give me my conference badge, which had VIP, LE and Speaker on it. We hugged, I gave her a box of salt water taffy (I bring her one every year) and she just kept hugging me. She is the sweetest lady!

We went to the reception, which was held in the exhibitor's area, and she brought me to the bar to get a drink. The bartender mixed me up something that was like an apple sour. It was delish! She got me to a table w/some of the other people from Technology Forums, who helped put together the conference with the DoD and I had to hug a bunch of people. It was like old home week.

I got some food, chatted, hugged more people I hadn't seen in a year, then I snuck out to go check in. I was informed at the front desk that they upgraded me to a suite. I was psyched. Then they told me it was in the building across the street. I asked if there was a covered walkway, they said no, I'd have to actually go across the street. I asked if they had anything in the hotel where the conference was. They said they had a king "handicapable" room. I said okay. Heck, a bed is a bed. Got to my room, it was huge and the reason they call it "handicapable" is that it had no tub in the bathroom. The entire bathroom was like a big shower, with just a shower curtain separating the shower head - made for wheelchairs. It kind of reminded me of the bathrooms in Japan.

Freshened up, then headed back to the conference to go to the CYBER OLYMPICS 2010, which was divided up into a floppy disk throw and CD toss. Most of the attendees were at the floppy disk throw, which was winging 3.5 diskettes as far as they could go.

Sharla, Alex and I went over to the CD toss, which had a bunch of the CD plastic containers taped together with points printed on them. You got three CDs for $5 to try to toss into them. All proceeds went to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Sharla got some CDs for us and we began cheering each other on, really making a lot of noise. People started coming over and we would cheer them on (see the photos). Then we started getting bets going on as to who would beat who and that money went into the donation pot.

By the end, the floppy disk throw raised almost $300. Us? We raised almost $600!!!! Woohoo!



We went down to the hotel bar to unwind, then I headed up to my room to crash.

Wednesday was my day for giving my three-hour training. I spent the morning in the speaker ready room, checking my email, etc, going over my presentation (I always get nervous before I speak) and hanging out. There were several other sessions going on at the same time as mine, so although I didn't have a lot of people in the audience, I think they learned something. I also might be getting more work out of it from a woman who is putting together some training for military and LE. Woohoo!




Went to my room to change from my suit into jeans and conference sweatshirt, then back to the conference for a VIP party put on by Mandiant. In between the food and drinks, they gave a short speech about a report they'd done and I ended up getting a business card from them - I may use them in my next book!

Went down to the bar again to unwind and I ended up bailing out at 830 while the rest went bowling or stayed at the bar. "Mom" is such a hoot - she had us laughing our butts off.

Thursday morning I left my bags at the front desk, went to say goodbye to everyone, especially "Mom," took some photos and Alex took me back to the airport. He is such a sweetheart and good "brother."

The flight from St. Louis to Chicago O'Hare was again on time. And interesting. The head flight attendant was Billy Dee Williams' twin. When I first boarded the plane, I thought he was the captain - he had on a full suit w/wings on his left pocket, a white handkerchief peeking out of that pocket, a white ascot around his neck and that smooooooooth voice.

When he smooooothly announced he was Carl, our head flight attendant, I expected him to start singing or reciting Lando's lines from The Empire Strikes Back, LOL.

A short stop in Chicago, then home to Portland. Chris came to pick me up, he had Phoebe in the back seat. Someone told us that huskies don't get attached to one human. They lied! She didn't eat while I was gone and only went out when Chris made her. Joanne came over to walk her and that brightened her up, but she moped because I was gone.

The look on her face when I got in the car was precious. I thought she was going to pee in delight. We drove thru McDonald's and got her a cheeseburger and she wolfed that down when we got home, then ate her dog food. I was just hoping she wouldn't throw up from being so excited I was home.

I took a shower, we watched some TV, then all three of us went to bed. She slept most of the night with her head on my legs.

It's good to be home.

(thanks to Dawn Walker for letting me post her photos!!!)

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