We somehow managed to get enough last-minute funding by about 11am that we were able to pull together doing a "prime sponsor" package for the Second Life Community Conference down in Tampa ... which started on Friday.
So, we spent most of the day on Thursday in a panic getting stuff pulled together so we could get there. I, and one of my other associates, were heading down there Thursday afternoon and needed stuff like airline tickets and hotel rooms ... not to mention heading home to get packed.
We also had to bring all our stuff ... we were doing this for the Avatrait division, and I had three heavy boxes full of printed stuff to go, and one large very heavy box with famed graphics. Not only did we get hit with the $15/$25 check-in charge by United, but since all these boxes were "overweight", they each got hit with a $125.00 charge ... meaning it cost us $580.00 to take our stuff down there (compared to shipping back some boxes via FedEx Ground, which ended up being about $28 each). Ouch. We barely made it out to O'Hare anyway to get the boxes on the plane ... we had about 5 minutes to spare for the luggage check.
Then, on top of that, we got tagged for "special attention" by TSA ("randomly" picking us for having last-minute tickets and heavy luggage), so by the time we got to our gate (which was, thankfully, right next to a McDonalds, as we'd not eaten all day) our section was already boarding.
We also ended up having to upgrade the car (The Boss had found us a 2-tickets w/car deal via LastMinuteTravel.com) to an SUV to be able to get the large box with the framed art in it ... while it was just a $10/day upgrade, it was a bit of a pisser since we just needed it to get those from the airport to the hotel ... but it was midnight at that point and the last thing we needed was to be losing those out the back of an open trunk!
The hotel was real nice ... but the conference was being run with almost no oversight. I guess they'd set up a conference rate with the hotel, but then didn't require folks to be signed up for the conference to get that rate, so the hotel had an attendance figure for the conference (which was what the organizers were telling us) that was something like twice the numbers of people actually signed up to attend ... so we (and most other folks) had WAY too much stuff down there with us.
The book I've been working on for the past two weeks was quite a smash, an we ended up taking a lot of pre-orders for it (which we didn't anticipate doing). It also looks like we're going to get a Foreword from Philip Linden for the book! I just hope that everything else falls into line for Florence next month.
We had two slots on the program, one dealing with Avatrait, and one for Slippcat. We ended up auctioning off the art we'd brought down, largely so we didn't have to ship it back. Most of these "retail" for $295.00, and went well below that, so a lot of folks got some pretty awesome deals. I just hope it builds up some buzz for the new Avatrait.com web site.
Due to the last-minute deal, we didn't have tickets to get out of Tampa until 6:45pm tonight, so had a lot of time to kill. We ended up getting to the airport about 4pm and were in line to get our boarding passes when they said "anybody going to Chicago come to the front of the line". Well, they were trying to get a flight out right then, and were able to get us on it ... which is good, since our original tickets had us going from Tampa to DC, having an hour lay-over, then flying here ... I'd still be in the air on that schedule ... so we ended up cutting off about 4 hours off the day by being able to get on that earlier flight (despite it being packed solid).
Anyway, I'm back home ... nothing like running off on a 5-day trip that you didn't know you were going on!