I'm always torn with DEMA. There are things I love about it, and things I really don't love about it. Mostly I love it. Here's my short list in no real order.
- I LOVE meeting people I've talked with for years and years online. Its always satisfying to check another one off my list of "must meets." There were several this year. More than ever before. Margaret and Eric from Liquivision. Marci. Laura James for goodness sake. Ross Hemmingway, Johnny VPLanner himself. The list goes on and on.
- I LOVE the DSS booth. Tobin's booth is the Kool-Aid house, without the sticky sugar drink stuff. Dude brings a small over-stuffed leather sofa and stashes it in the corner of the booth. That sofa is ground zero from about 3:45 PM to the end of the show each day. The parade of celebrities that roll in to crash on that thing is a show within a show. DSS is my DEMA Oasis.
- I LOVE it when DEMA is in Vegas.
- I DO NOT LOVE it when DEMA is in Orlando.
- I LOVE that DEMA gives nice people the chance to do nice things. Pete ("NetDoc") from ScubaBoard gave a bunch of us a ride to the Riviera to the Naui Party. Very sweet. Beats taking a cab. Thanks, Pete.
- I DO NOT LOVE a lot of the gear that I see there. Its like going to a fishing show, where you know most of the gear is designed to catch fisherman and not fish. There is a lot of good stuff at DEMA, but there is also a lot of unworthy stuff.
- I LOVE seeing good ideas. There were a few this year. Seeing products improved upon by people taking a step back and saying,
"now what if we...." There is so little true innovation and so much marketing crapola. I saw a few new ideas. I like that alot.
- I LOVE learning about Adaptive Divers, and all that's associated with Divers with Disabilities. The certification agencies, the organizations taking the certifications into the marketplace, meeting many of the deeply committed people behind all of the above. Mel Pasley, you are a hero twice over, my friend. My dive world got a lot bigger this week because of you. Thanks, buddy.
- I LOVE that at the end of October, Lynne, Ms Seattle 2009 has a better tan than I do. OK - that one is sort of both an I LOVE and an I DON'T LOVE.
- I LOVE that the trade show doesn't open until 10:00 AM every day. In addition to being the time when every day in Las Vegas should begin, it gives you a chance to meet in the AM with people, or get enough sleep so you don't walk into the hall a bleary, drooling mess.
- I DO NOT LOVE the show being in the South Hall. The North Hall has better meeting rooms and is a few hundred yards from my hotel room at the Hilton.
- I LOVE that the show was in the South Hall. There was another show in the same hall - this meant twice the shuttle buses and half the wait time. Of the 5 shuttles I grabbed to and from the hotel to the hall and vice versa, only one was the DEMA shuttle. Brilliant!
- I LOVED the DMX Las Vegas Dive In Event.
- I DO NOT LOVE all the stuff that passes for Scuba Art. You can't judge art - I mean its all very subjective and personal. But dayem...
- I LOVE that probably 1/3 of the stuff you see at DEMA is dedicated to the schlep category (carts, bags, boxes, wheels, straps, backpacks, wheeled backpacks, boxes with straps, and all other combinations herein.) That's not the thing. The thing is this: easily another 2/3 of that stuff is trying to make schlepping an AL80 easier. An Al80? I'm just sayin...
- I DO NOT LOVE all the pink gear I was seeing.
- I LOVE that Salvo had a prototype of a 200 Watt Video Light (OMG, what a Saturn V that thing was) because I know its just a matter of time until Sounder puts a real reflector on that thing and makes it his primary light, and sells me his 35. (<- he has a 50w. Pardon the slight on his UW Manhood)
- I DO NOT LOVE that even though the day is long (10:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day), it goes by so fast. When I planned my show visit a couple of months ago, there was no doubt I would get everything done I set out to get done in 3 full days at the show. Now I'm totally wishing I was there on Saturday to knock a few more items off of my list.
- I LOVE getting the deal of the decade on a 12oz bottle of PSI 500 de-fog. I don't have super spit... I need chemical assistance.
- I DO NOT LOVE buying a huge bottle of PSI 500 de-fog on Thursday morning, only to realize Thursday night at 5:40 PM that there is no way TSA will let me slide with all this goo in my carry-on and now I have to check a bag. 'doh.
- I LOVE being only one of 20 people on my Thursday flight back. My checked bag beat me to the carousel. Hundreds of flights, millions of miles, that is a first.
- I LOVE being home.
How was your DEMA???