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April 91 - Wild Times at MADA Con

Wild Times at MADA Con

Leslie Jeffries

At the 1990 MADA Conference in San Diego, I suggested that the Thursday night banquet should have been a beach party. Most programming types are not interested in a formal sit-down banquet anyway; we'd rather be casual and comfortable.

Well, when the planning started for the 1991 Conference, my simple suggestion turned into an appointment to plan this year's banquet. After my initial fear, I decided that this year's banquet would be fun. Here's a recap of the lighter side of the 1991 MacApp Developers Conference.

Fun in the style of the Old West

As the staff at the Phoenix Holiday Inn began to transform the banquet room into an image of the Old West, conference attendees began to wander by, casting curious looks inside. With the help of Buffalo Rick's Wild West Inc., the banquet hall soon had a saloon, a fast draw booth and many other western props.

Everyone's curiosity doubled upon seeing gun-slinging cowpokes go in and out of the room. And no one was ready for the call to dinner-one of Rick's cowboys ambled into the cocktail lounge and fired a shot off over the heads of the unsuspecting MADA members.

Gunfight at the Pascal Corral

The hot topic at the conference was the conversion of MacApp from Object Pascal to C++. The most vocal supporter for the Object Pascal camp was Kurt Schmucker, distributing his now famous C++ Barf Bags for a second year. And the leader for the C++ camp was Eric Berdahl, famous for his stirring MacApp.Tech$ messages and FrameWorks column.

It only seemed appropriate that these two face off for an old fashioned gunfight to end this argument once and for all. Well, the onlookers cheered, the guns fired, and when the smoke cleared, Eric had come out the winner! Only time will tell whether this is an omen of the future.

Tom Chavez plays the good sport at his Shotgun wedding

After everyone had filled their tin plates with barbecue chicken and ribs, corn on the cob, and cornbread muffins, and their tin mugs with draft beer, the fun really began.

Buffalo Rick, playing the father of a homely Calamity Jane, came with two of her brothers to find the scoundrel who had gotten Jane in the family way about nine months earlier. After thoroughly scaring many diners, Jane finally named her man-"Tom-dot-Chavez" (nicknamed after his AppleLink address).

Chavez seemed to handle the whole affair rather well. He did try to get out of the wedding, but Jane's father used a shotgun to convince him that he really did want to marry the girl.

Kurt Schmucker attended the groom as best man, Beverly Jedlicka attended the bride as maid of honor, and the local justice of the peace, Buffalo Rick, officiated the wedding.

Accelerated Quick draw

After Roger Heinen's keynote address, the quick draw contest was underway. By the end of the evening, the two fastest shooting times were those of Greg Sickal and Dick Trisman, both coming in at just over 0.5 seconds. In the final shootout, Dick Trisman won out with an unbelievable time of 0.371 seconds. Great shooting, Dick! Not to be outdone, Buffalo Rick challenged Dick to a final shootout. Rick won with his best time ever of 0.257 seconds.

An unexpected jam session

After the shootout, Greg and Dick got to talking and discovered that they were both musicians. After considerable persuasion and a healthy bribe, the musicians in the bar loaned their equipment to them. The MADA band, dubbed "Class Act," consisted of:
  • Dick "Elvis" Trismen on lead guitar and vocals
  • Dan Thiel on bass guitar
  • Greg Sickal on drums

As the night continued, various other MADA members jumped on stage for their moment of glory:

  • Dave Wilson on lead guitar
  • Pete Maison on bass guitar
  • Howard Katz on harmonica
  • Joe Terry on vocals for I Feel Good
  • Patti Jennett, Dave Wilson and Harvey Alcabes (also known as "The Constructors") on background vocals for Johnny B. Goode

The music of Class Act inspired the rest of us to dance a bit-I danced every song! But finally, with great reluctance, after a standing ovation from the audience, the band returned the instruments to their owners.

Since the band was such a spontaneous thing, we didn't get the entire performance on tape. But Joost Kemink managed to record part of the performance on the highest fidelity equipment available-a Sony microcassette voice recorder, not exactly high end audio. Maybe that recording will make it onto the conference CD.


Although at first I regretted my big mouth, I'm glad I got the opportunity to play a part in an evening that turned out to be such great fun. Thanks to Harvey Alcabes for taking notes that night, and to FrameWorks for letting me share the fun with this article. If you couldn't make it to Phoenix this year, just wait-think of what fun we could have in Orlando next year! Any volunteers?

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