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Expo time means party time

By Michael Gowan

Months of preparation, hours of diligence, and days of planning have come to fruition. The greatest moment of any Mac user's year has arrived. Macworld Expo San Francisco is here and that means one thing: a hell of a lot of parties.

It's a time-honored tradition at Macworld to assign the party beat to the most junior editor on staff. Call it a hazing ritual. Send the kid out all night, then make him report to work at dawn and write about it, before sending him off to walk the Expo floor all day. Repeat until he begins to see floating pink elephants manning the booths at Moscone and his exposition skills resemble the rants of Charles Bokowski. I await the task with bated breath.

Armed with my fake ID and fistful of Alka-Seltzers, I've scoured industry sources and the Robert Hess Memorial party list to schedule the ultimate Expo party itinerary. I'll fill you in on as many festivities as it is possible to attend in a week, hopefully drudging up some news and maybe a little dirt as the evenings progress and mouths get looser. Parties shall be rated based on the amount of information and exactly how "open" the open bars are (no well drinks, please).

On Monday, I'll begin with style at Macworld's Editors Choice Awards. Besides getting to see Senior Online Editor Philip Dyer in a suit, I'll get the low-down on the winners' reactions, the losers' tears, and see how well the industry's biggest wigs can dance. Tuesday will take me to Apple's Expo bash. While hunting for the Interim CEO himself, I'll put to the test the notion that the Mac crowd is more fun than their Windoze counterparts. Wednesday night's schedule has a bit more flexibility, and I hope to hit as many of the parties of the Hess list as I can. To top off the week, I plan to crash my way into Thursday's ultra-secret, ultra-hip Mac the Knife party. The location is guarded by three large former East German swimmers, but it's my job to find out about this sort of stuff and I take my work seriously.

The staff will be charting my progress during the week's festivities. Daily breathalizers will be issued to make sure my toxicity level doesn't exceed the legal limit. Staff meetings will convene to mark the demise of my mental facilities. The lab has even rigged the intercom to sporadically pipe techno music through the office, testing how quickly I can get onto the designated dance floor and boogie down. I've been promised if I make it through the week, I'll get to do it all over again this summer at Macworld Expo Boston. Whoo hoo!

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