Despite not competing in Topcoder for, like, over a year, I just got an email from someone who'd tracked me down and wants to offer me a job.
My life would *totally* have been different without topcoder.
So I've been planning to go to Burning Man.
And in an ideal world, I'm sitting around calmly at this moment, saying "Ah, my life is simple and quiet, it's time to gradually start purchasing the appropriate tools and equipment I will need, and be prepared a month in advance to avoid any stress whatsoever."
Meanwhile, back in reality, I'm trying to buy no less than two cars (I'll explain this one later), gearing up to help my mom move, handling various firefighting and system changes at work, and, remember, I've got *another* convention *immediately before* Burning Man. To say nothing about personal projects. To say nothing about the various financial things I'm tangling with as well (in about a week I'll have worked at Google for a year. My first stock options vest a year after I start. Which means I need to go find an accountant and work out the best way to avoid excessive taxes.)
Out of all of these things, one of them, and precisely one of them, takes an entire week, was decided on a whim, and happens every year anyway.
And I won't even be out financially, since I can tell the ticket on eBay (at the same price I bought it for, which means it'll be snatched up instantly.)
Yeah, I'm still mulling. But considering the overall stress reduction I got just from realizing "hey, I can sell this sucker on ebay", I think I might have decided.
If you want to influence my decision either way for some nefarious reason, now's the chance. :P
(Yes, I'm still going to PAX, immediately before Burning Man. The timing of this is another point in favor of dumping Burning Man, at least for now.)