Kevin Ragsdale: Visual FoxPro 9.0

FoxForward, Day Three, Part One

Saturday night...

The final day of the FoxForward Conference was approaching, so I decided not to go out with the guys on Saturday night to the Ale House (the name of the place suggested I would be presenting my Sunday session with a hangover). I went to the deli across the street from the hotel for dinner.

Then I headed back to the room to make sure all my presentation settings were ready. I can't thank Doug Hennig and Rick Schummer enough for their tips. It was a tremendous help. I recommend their tips to anyone speaking at a conference or user group.

With the Tennessee/Florida football game on for background noise, I figured it was time for just one more walk-through for my session. For the umpteenth time, I ended at the one-hour mark. For a 75-minute session. I thought, "How in the world am I ever going to stretch this thing out to 75-minutes?"

I'm not a good sleeper when I'm on the road, and I found myself still awake at 3:30 AM. Since my session wasn’t until 10:00 AM, I decided to sleep in and miss the first sessions (David Greenberg presented Use the FoxPro Grid Control for Added Functionality, and Irv Adams presented Containing FoxPro).

At 9:00 AM, I took a shower. A HOT shower. I mean a really, REALLY H-O-T shower. So hot, in fact, that 5 minutes after drying off I was covered in sweat.

OK, I'll admit I was a bit nervous about the session, what with the nightmares and all. But still, I think I'll blame the hot shower for the excessive sweating.

After drinking a couple of cups of coffee, I headed downstairs, laptop in hand. Chatted with a few people, and had another cup of coffee. Then, I grabbed a couple of bottles of water to have for the session, and headed outside for a quick smoke.

I drank one of the bottles of water while I was outside smoking, so when I went back in I grabbed another bottle.

Took my laptop into the conference room and quickly headed to the men's room. After three cups of coffee and a bottle of water, I definitely did NOT want to have to excuse myself during the presentation to go to the men's room.

Alan Stevens was presenting Left Behind? Team Foundation Server and VFP in the other conference room. I spoke with Alan on Saturday for a while. Great guy. And he works at DPRA (the JFast guys), so naturally he was sharp as a tack. He had presented the session to the Asheville FoxPro Users Group, and I believe he had done a run-through with the guys he works with, so I expected to see at least the guys from Asheville and DPRA at my session.

I didn't pay much attention to the room while I was setting up the laptop, so I was a bit surprised at 10:00 AM when I looked up to get started. There were a lot of people in the room! WHEW!!! I'd have been happy if only five or six people had shown up, and I've got to say a big 'ol "Thank You" to everyone who came to the session.

The Session

I started with an introduction about myself, and my throat immediately began to dry up, so I started on the first bottle of water. Then I kicked into the session. I said this was an eye-candy session, then started talking it up. BLAH-BLAH-BLAH.

More water.

I went on and on about how neat the Desktop Alerts were.

More water.

How cool they were.

More water.

Talk, water, talk, water, talk, water...

Someone from the group said, "Can we see it?"

I had been so busy talking about it, I had forgotten to show everyone what the heck I was talking about, so I promptly ran a litte demo.

About this time, I'm starting to feel a certain, um, urge. From within.

And it's starting to get stronger.

While I'm speaking, I'm thinking to myself, "Please, let me get through the whole presentation before I have to go to the men's room."

The more I spoke, the stronger the urge, and I began to move around. A lot. Walking back and forth - from my laptop to the projection screen and back to the laptop.

Now, this urge is really starting to get stronger and stronger. I thought to myself, "Take a quick peek at the clock on the computer. Maybe my time is about up anyway. Surely I can hold it another 5 minutes."

I glanced at the clock. It's 10:40 AM. My session is only HALFWAY done. And this urge is getting ever stronger.

More moving back and forth while I speak. This urge is starting to hurt. I really need to go. N-O-W.

I fight it. I... must... move... on... Must... fight... urge... keep... tal... k... ing...

Suddenly, I hear the words leave my lips, "I'm really sorry about this guys, but I really need to go to the men's room."

I thought, "Did I really just say that out loud?"

I glanced around the room. A few people's faces looked as if they were thinking, "Did he really just say that out loud?"

Everyone was really nice about this, and I can't thank them all enough for letting me go in the middle of the session.

A couple of minutes later, I was back in the front of the room, and I continued on with the session.

I had about four slides left, and quite a bit more demoing to do, when I took a look at the clock. 11:20AM. 11:20??? I'm 5 minutes OVERALREADY?

But, I'm only HALFWAY through this thing!!!

I flashed forward to the final slide (with my contact info), and thanked everyone for coming.

During the session, I got some really good questions and suggestions about the desktop alerts. And afterwards, several of the attendees congratulated me on the session - even with my mid-session disappearing act.

That 75-minutes were the fastest 75-minutes of my life. I can't thank Kevin enough for allowing me to speak at the conference. I can't thank the attendees enough for coming to the session and for their comments and interest in the session. I can't thank Rick and Doug enough for taking their time to help me and others with their tips.

This was fun. A lot of fun. I'd like to do this again.

Alright. Enough about me. Stay tuned for more from the rest of the final day of FoxForward!