What’s Been Happening?

Vegas baby! That’s what’s been happening.

I went to Vegas last week for the big Microsoft SharePoint conference. For those who don’t know what SharePoint is, it’s a collaboration and content management system. If that still doesn’t make sense, at it’s most basic, it’s a system for building websites. It goes way beyond that, but I like to keep most of the techie stuff off of this blog.

Anyway, one of the amazing things about these conferences (to me anyway) is the logistics. Microsoft knows how to put on a conference. This event was sold out at 7000 attendees. That’s 7000 geeks all in one place to discuss software. This is a big deal. People come from all over the world to attend this conference and I met one guy who came all the way from Jordan!

The keynote address on the first day is setup to accomodate all 7000 attendees. The head of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, was the speaker and it’s amazing to see that many people crammed into one room. The place was massive, with 6 giant 20ft projector screens showing the action. Microsoft took over every inch of meeting space in the Mandalay Bay Casino to put this thing on.

In addition, they fed us all…. yes all of us, twice a day, and they had to do it in an hour. Imagine the organization that needs to take place to get 7000 people in, fed, and out in less than an hour. The Mandalay people really know what they are doing.

And of course with all the technical presentations and what-not going on, geeks need some fun time to offset the seriousness of everything, so Microsoft rented the entire Mandalay Beach, hired Huey Lewis to play (yeah not my first choice either), had an open bar (can you imaging what that bar tab looked like?) and finished it off with a firework show. Microsoft knows how to do a conference.

Anyway, it was a great experience and I picked up a boatload of great information. Looking forward to next year.

So I’m back in town now and settling back in. Coming home after a week in Vegas takes some adjustment. It’s been a good few days back though. I got to jam with an old friend of mine, Alan Yerxa, at his new church on Sunday and that was pretty awesome. Jamming with Alan is a lot different than jamming at my church. The main difference is that it’s a lot smaller, and a lot looser. Both churches are come-as-you-are churches, but Clovis Hills has a much higher production standard, and so there’s a lot more rehearsal and a lot more polish that goes on. Alan’s church on the other hand is small, and intimate, and Alan is a free wheeling kind of guy who’s been playing guitar forever, so it’s more of a come in, run through the songs once, and you’re expected to rock type of situation. Neither approach is better than the other, it’s just different, and so it was nice as a drummer to have a bit of a change in style and presentation.

And speaking of change in style and presentation, tonight I’m hitting a concert and it’s no ordinary concert. This show is going to be the epitome of theatrics and heavy metal music. I’m going to see Slipknot. And what’s better than seeing the insane show that is Slipknot? Taking a pastor to see Slipknot. That’s right, Paul, our worship pastor is going with me. Now honestly, I was taken aback when I put the invite out on Twitter and Paul replied with an affirmative. Paul is a young and hip guy, but I don’t think he owns a single Slipknot album, or any heavy metal album to be honest. Nor do I think he really understood what a Slipknot show looks like, so this should be an eye opening experience. Of course I may be wrong. Maybe he’s been a closet Slipknot fan his whole life and is going to show up dressed in black overalls and a halloween mask? We’ll see.

Now I know it sounds weird for a worship drummer and a pastor to be going to a Slipknot show to begin with. Slipknot is about as anti-establishment, anti-religion as it gets. But honestly, I learned when I was but a wee lad that if I wanted to enjoy heavy music (which I do immensely) I was going to have to tune out most of the lyrics. So for me, this show is about hearing some fantastic musicianship, and seeing some crazy theatrics. To me heavy metal is theater, and Slipknot is one heck of a show. It should be fun.

-Update-….. Well Paul just texted me and said he’s not coming. Said his wife is sick. Not sure I’m buying that, but I guess we’ll never know. Hope you get better soon Jenn!