Sunday, October 14, 2007, 9:30 AM CST
It's way too early to be up on a Sunday, but here I am, up at the crack of dawn getting prepared to head out to Austin's Bergstrom International airport so I can then leave for Viva Las Vegas.
Nothing much happens between home and the airport...thank God for small favors.
The cab driver and I make small talk. He asks me where I'm traveling to, and I explain I'm heading out to Vegas for the IBM Information on Demand conference.
"Information on the what?"
"Business intelligence," I explain. "Information integration. Data servers and services. That sort of thing."
He gets a funny look on his face. I look at the computer dispatch display on his dashboard.
"You know how your dispatcher uses that computer and your GPS position to figure out where you and all the other drivers are so they can most efficiently dispatch a cab to the next call? That's information on demand."
He nods his head.
Whew. I've survived my first interrogation of the trip, but it's still early.
I mean, I haven't even gone through the TSA travel security line yet.
Little do I know the surprise that will be waiting there for me today.
* * *
10:00 AM, AA Check-In Desk and TSA Security Line, Austin's Bergstrom International Airport
I never check bags when I travel anymore. It's too much of a hassle, and I like to travel light, whenever possible.
But because I'm set to blog for several days on the ground in Vegas, I figure a full materiel deployment is in order.
I bring not only my near bulletproof ThinkPad T60...I also sling out my trusty black MacBook, primarily for redundancies sake but also because I like to blog using my WYSIWYG Ecto editor on the Mac OS.
It's a feel thing.
I also pack my Canon Digital Rebel XTi. You never know what there might be to take a picture of in Las Vegas.
Back to the bags.
I wait in a self-service line for a good 20 minutes, and when I get to the front of the line, the nice American Airlines attendant yells at me that I was supposed to have used the kiosk to check my bag.
I smile politely at her that I never check bags anymore, and therefore do not know the proper protocol, and so then promptly rush over to the kiosk at her direction to check my bag.
We're getting ever closer to TSA territory, and of course I want to make sure to do as I'm told.
Finally, after that debacle is complete, I'm standing in the security line when I see him. I'd know that face anywhere.
At first, he's lurking off in the distance, then suddenly, he moves forward and, with ease and a blur of motion, cuts in the security line and joins a very attractive Asian woman.
None of the TSA agents seems to notice, but I do.
Film director Oliver Stone has just cut in the TSA security line at the Austin airport.
Would you expect anything less?
But apparently nobody but me recognizes that it's Oliver Frickin' Stone!
"Salvador," "JFK," "World Trade Center," "Alexander the Great."
Okay, maybe not Alexander.
As I approach the line and unsheath all my computing power for the X-ray machines to scan and ensure I'm not a terrorist, I wait with baited breath to see what's going to happen next.
Will the conspiracy be complete and come full circle?
Will Oliver Stone take off his loafers as he goes through Austin airport security???