Since 2005, I've been going to (or at least involved with) Chris Pirillo's annual Gnomedex conference in Seattle. A couple of weeks from now will be Gnomedex 10, and from the sounds of it, that will be the last one.
I hadn't planned on attending this year: it's been a busy summer, and my wife Air and I didn't quite have the budget to go. (Plus the first night falls on our 15th anniversary.) But now, hearing that this pioneering leading-edge nerd-fest might soon be over, and being on a break from chemotherapy, I'm seriously considering booking a last-minute ticket for myself and driving down for that weekend—like last year, Air and I can celebrate our anniversary a day early, perhaps.
It's hard to describe what gives Gnomedex its mojo: while it is irredeemably geeky, and often covers trends in technology and society before they hit the mainstream, it's neither a dry technical meeting nor a science-fiction con. In a way, it's like an annual online-community family reunion, except all you need to do to join the family is show up. I've made lots of friends and deepened other friendships there. It's where I finally understood podcasting, jammed with one of the Presidents of the United States of America the same night I saw an original Monet "Water Lilies" painting, and stared in awe at a photo of the Earth from the surface of Mars while listening to a talk by one of the people who helped take the picture.
With luck, I'll get myself together enough to go, and see Gnomedex out in style. If this is the final one—which will be a pity—it will still have outlasted its (satirical) namesake COMDEX by seven years.