It was very enjoyable and even impressive. I commend it to the Confessor Nation when it next rolls around. Very nice job by the organizers. I was only able to attend for couple of hours, so no TimeWasters, no LT.
Here are some photos and impressions.
Parking: I was there pretty early and the indoor parking was almost full. I got a spot on the upper level of the parking structure. I'm not sure where everyone else was going to park. However, there were stewards on hand at the various drive-in entrances and it seemed like they were ready for a crowd. Do not be alarmed by the line of people standing circling the Irving Convention Center -- they were waiting for the box office to open to sell tickets for some other event.
First, I was welcomed by a parking-garage elevator that made it clear that one need not be a P1 to attend, but that listeners exhibiting all levels of Ticket devotion are welcome:
Visitors are welcomed by comely TicketChicks decidedly non-TicketChick attire:
I will have more to say about TicketChicks below.
There was one very offbeat note to the whole thing, and that is that the proceedings seemed to have a Mardi Gras theme, which I do not recall from any of the promotions on the station. You'll be able to see this more clearly in the photos below. This is why, for example, the TicketChicks were attired in semi-harlequin attire and not the usual t-shirt and shorts. I must say, the outfits were quite flattering, although I don't believe there was anything on them that said "Ticket." In fact, I did not enter from the entrance you see above, and it took me awhile to figure out that said chicks were, in fact, TicketChicks. There were beads and Mardi Gras-flavored stuff all over the place.
Overall, the gestalt was very positive. Lots of smiles, no hassles, just a buncha guys having a pretty good time. The attendees were overwhelmingly male, no shock there. I had imagined that it would consist largely of vendors and sponsors lined up in rows with their booths, with some activities and major-sponsor megaexhibits thrown in, and and that is exactly what I found.
The broadcast was as you have seen in online photos in the past, the participants in easy chairs on an elevated stage. The sound was good. It does, however, give you some appreciation for the virtues of individual mic modulation -- Dan's voice was way, way too loud through no fault of his own, painfully so, and others blessed with less natural projection (Donovan) could be a bit hard to make out. If you wanted to listen to the broadcast, however, you could do so without much trouble. Note the Mardi Gras mask of comedy overseeing the proceedings. Please also note the spare-no-expense security barricades set up to prevent overenthusiastic P1's from rushing the stage.
|T.C., Donovan (pending down), Mike (partly hidden), Dan, Bob, and Corby|
Here is the guy in the bleachers the hosts nominated as the most likely to have done time:
Here's the Hardline interviewing Sean Lee:
The half-court basketball setup was pretty nice. Obviously the big crowds had not arrived yet, but when I was there one could grab a ball and try some three-pointers or maybe even scare up a pickup game. People lined up for autographs had to be vigilant else they might be bonked on the gourd by a shot missing the backboard:
But I must tell you that the most fun I had was visiting with some of the sponsors and other vendors who had exhibits. Oddly, the Ticket booth, where I believe you could get a free T-shirt and chat with a Ticket Chick or two, was almost always deserted:
And United Rentals either failed to pay their fee, or successfully rented all of their stuff in the few hours since TS opened its doors:
If the Ticket sales staff wants to use this site as a reference for future sales calls they're welcome to do so, because I spoke with a couple of vendors who were not even Ticket on-air sponsors but reported a positive response to their attendance at TicketStock. One was an enthusiastic young woman who worked for a company called Daylight Rangers, who described the benefits of solar cooling and a product that conducted sunlight from the roof down into the house using highly-reflective tubing from a company called Solatube. They are not Ticket sponsors, but she reported positive results from their attendance at past TicketStocks in terms of leads and referrals. (If anyone asked why I wanted a photo, I always told them that I had a Ticket website and was just resporting on the proceedings. I did not reveal my name or the website, but would have given the latter had there been any interest.) She was a little suspicious of me when I asked permission to take a picture, so her condition was that she would be seen to be checking some documents. If you are a Daylight Ranger supervisor, I can report that she is an excellent representative of your company:
I also had a nice chat with a woman who owned a company called Cigars A Go Go, a start-up that will bring a mobile cigar bar to your golf outing, party, or other event. I bought some handsome stogies which I unaccountably left at one of my photographic destinations, so I hope who ever picked them up is enjoying them:
Dr. True's assistant told me about his weight-loss and male-re-invigorating practice, one of at least three that were present:
There were two notable absences: Sweet Jack, whose 1-foot-3 presence was nowhere to be seen, and All-Pro Foundation Repair. However,the MTC-endorsed Structured Foundation Repair did pop for a booth, although it was somewhat forlornly situated outside of the mainstream. I failed to think of a conversational gambit that would persuade the two chaps manning the booth that I was interested in foundation repair, and they were eyeing me suspiciously as I strolled near their booth with my Droid deciding whether to snap their picture.
I opted to wait until next year to engage them, and hit the Hooters booth, where I failed to "win a surprise" by draining a toy basket with a toy basketball. I never found out what the surprise was, but I did get a coupon. Unaccountably, I failed to get a picture of the two alluring young Hootettes manning the booth.
Which brings us to the Ticket Chicks.
In the tireless service of the Confessor Nation I have now been to a few Ticket remotes. The TicketChicks have ranged from surly to cheerful, and most seem extremely young. Not a thing in the world wrong with that from Your Plainsman's point of view, but the crew at TicketStock was another batch entirely, or so it appeared to me (I would not be able to identifiy an Official TicketChick on sight in any event.) The word that first came to mind was "fetching," which I realized was not the right word to use in the wake of Ms. Houston's passing.
I mentioned the Mardi Gras theme. There was an area that was decked out in Mardi Gras regalia where one could always find two or three TicketChicks hanging out on a couch and where the occasional guy would stop by to chat or have his picture taken. The TicketChicks were always gracious and happy to oblige. This stalwart P1 just wanted some conversation:
I stopped by and asked what this thing was, and the TicketChicks told me it was pretty much just for guys who wanted to have their pictures taken with TicketChicks. I must say, the TicketChick contingent when I was there was very impressive, and, more to the point, they were approachable and friendly and doing exactly what it was they were being paid to do: Indulge the male's infinite capacity for self-deception. Your Plainsman, a rough-hewn man of the frontier, is not exactly the type that is going to turn the head of your average attractive woman in her late teens or early twenties, and he is deeply in love with Mrs. Plainsman, who might someday read these words, but I cannot deny that these chicks were worth whatever Cumulus had bargained them down to. A trio posed for me:
I have on my list to do a TicketChick article sometime when I had more material. I have always harbored the suspicion that there are really only a very few official TicketChicks, and that The Ticket hires very young aspiring models or actresses from agencies on a strictly ad-hoc basis. I mean, if you go to the TicketChick site on http://www.theticket.com/, as all P1's do at one time or another, you will find that it is perpetually under construction, featuring photos of young women you have probably never seen at a Ticket event. No matter. These TicketStock Ad Hoc TicketChicks were great, a real credit to the proceedings, and probably prolonged my stay at the Irving Convention Center by a good half-hour.
Well, that's it, Confessors. I had a good time. I'll try to make it again next year, perhaps with a more focused reportorial agenda. In the meantime, my thanks to the CTO for making it worthwhile to drive to Irving.
Your TicketStock impressions?