Well, not quite. But I'm gearing up for the TED conference at which I've been a regular (aka TEDster) for the last six years.
A logical argument could be made for not making the effort to fly to Long Beach, California to participate for several days at a crowded conference, now that the content generated from all the truly remarkable line-up of speakers is available to the entire world on the TED website. But it isn't all about logic. And it's not only that the conversations that take place during the breaks, over meals and drinks, are serendipitously fascinating on their own. (This is the kind of event where you are encouraged to talk to strangers, none of whom will disappoint if you're looking for smart, curious, extraordinary people of every stripe.)
Nor is it about the fact that it's become a great street creed to be able to say you're a TEDster. (C'mon, in this economy, TED's high ticket price doesn't justify that kind of preening, if it ever did.) There is something about being there, in the audience, as each of the speakers ignites the room, lighting a match that sparks a thousand brains right then and then...who, in turn, take those concepts, those ideas, those facts and multiply them, make more of them and spread the fire. That's exciting. Thrilling.
I think of my annual TED pilgrimage as indulgence in brain candy at its sweetest.
I've taken a quick tour through the agenda booklet that gives a hint of what's in store at TED 2009. I'll love them all, as I always do. But a few of them have me curious, such as Nina Jablonski, the anthropologist/paleontologist/primatoligist who has written a book about skin, its remarkable trains: colors, sweatiness, the fact that we decorate it...Can't wait. (Alongside the information about Nina Jablonski is a quote from someone named Fox Mulder: "Everybody gets the tattoo they deserve.")
And how about Lena maria Klingvall, the Swede who is a gold-medal swimmer, a singing star and a painter. And, oh yes, she was born with no arms and only one full leg. She apparently has important things to say about human dignity and identity. I'll bet I'll come back with new concepts to share with John Campbell and his team at MyVetwork who are keenly interested in new concepts for dealing with military veterans who have lost limbs.
Oh, and I'm jazzed to meet Nate Silver. I became a Nate Silver groupie during the presidential primaries this year, when this math whiz who was mainly known for predicting the performance of ballplayers, used his skills with stats to keep us informed in a totally fresh, fact-based way that I'm convinced helped influence the election in Obama's favor.
I could go on. Clearly, we'll have lots to talk about when I get back.