I'm sure you've heard of TED, which is a really expensive, really exclusive annual conference at which famous and/or accomplished people give lectures to wealthy and/or lucky people. Surprisingly, despite my fame, accomplishments, wealth, and luck, I have never been invited to attend or lecture. (Actually, it's not that surprising, given that they once gave their TED Prize to Karen Armstrong, my mortal enemy, and that they seem to like Nathan Myhrvold, my other mortal enemy.^1^)
Luckily for me, there is ~~a non-union, Mexican equivalent~~ an open-source equivalent, the BIL conference, which costs only \$50, and which is open to pretty much everyone. Three years ago they were kind enough to let me give my "Your Religion Is False" talk, and then two years ago they didn't firm up the date until it was too late for me to make travel plans, and then last year they let me give my lukewarmly-received "How To Be Funny" talk.
This year I plan to outdo them all with my balanced discussion of intellectual property: "Hitler Loved Patents". Although I have spent the majority of the past 10 years arguing on the Internet about intellectual property with various weirdos and libertarians and weirdo libertarians and libertarian weirdos, it has only recently become acceptable to express my views in public. And what better way than through a profanity-laden speed-talking Powerpoint presentation?
There will, of course, be a large number of other talks, many of which will be almost as entertaining and/or compelling as mine. There will also be, I'm told, a "sex-positive boiler room"^2^ and some sort of lockpicking workshop, one or both of which certainly addresses your hesitations about attending.
If it's anything like last year, there will also be interesting breaks between sessions, where BILders socialize and where crazy people grab the empty mics and perform spoken-word-poetry-ish rants about free energy and capitalism, all the while people chuckle nervously and wonder whether this is a scheduled part of the performance or simply the result of too little security. There might be coffee too.
There will certainly be a huge assortment of burners, transhumanists, futurists, cryonicists, libertarians, anti-libertarians, polyamorists, monoamorists^3^, objectivists, subjectivists, artists, crossfitters, politicians, entertainers, hosts of invention-related television shows, hackers, humorists, Paul Grasshoffs, atheists, and doers and makers of all types. Many of them are my good friends, and many more will be by the time the weekend is over. (Also, many of them will be my enemies by the end of the conference, since you can't exactly tell people that the industry they've dreamed of working in their whole lives is morally on par with the death gulags without alienating a few folks, but such is the price of progress.)
In addition, the whole event takes place on a boat, which has some sort of giggly significance that is lost on me but probably has something to do with some creepy anime that everyone except me downloads and watches illegally.
Anyway, Long Beach really isn't that far from wherever you are, and \$50 is less money than you'd spend buying a dozen Original Six Dollar Burger®s at Carl's Junior, so why have you not signed up already? And in the event you need burgers that badly, Simone gave me this code for 20% off the registration, which will save you \$10, which means you'll still be able to buy two of those tasty, tasty Original Six Dollar Burger®s^4^ and have the conference weekend of your life.
So I guess I'm not really sure what your objection is at this point. Sometimes I hear "Joel, you're biased because the whole event is organized and produced by your friends," and sometimes I hear "Joel, surely you're on the take from the Long Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and/or Carl's Jr.," and still other sometimes I hear "Joel, you recommended that I attend the Libertarian National Convention in Anaheim in 2000, and that really sucked," to which I can only respond, "were you at the same Libertarian Convention I was at, because I guarantee you that that was the most fun that anyone's ever had in Anaheim in the history of mankind."
So can you just go ahead and sign up already?
1. I'm only ten and I already got two mortal enemies.\ 2. No, I have no idea what this is either, although I suspect it has something to do with high-pressure stock trading.\ 3. Monoamorists. It's a word. Look it up.\ 4. Six-dollars is what you put on your tax return, but the cash price is closer to \$4.