I left the hotel only twice in between arriving the evening of March 12th and leaving the evening of the 20th.
March 13th (Thursday) was tutorial day at PyCon--I was quite exhausted after three excellent and intense tutorials from 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM. The conference itself was Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Sessions started at 9:00 AM and lasted until at least 6:30 PM. The lightning talks on Friday and Saturday had no fixed end time. And then I attended Open Space sessions late into the evenings.
The sprint tutorial on Sunday lasted until about 7:30 PM, and then I worked late preparing for the sprint. (I'm glad I got a jump on things--I found some work to do that kept me busy for the entire sprint, and beyond. I'll eventually write more on that in my Python blog.)
That's me in the Django sprint room (third from the right in my beige fleece vest). (It was nice of other people at PyCon to take so many photos and put them on Flickr tagged with "pycon2008". I didn't even bother taking my camera out of my room.)
Monday I worked hard at the sprint, and tummy.com brought in pizza (the only Chicago deep-dish pizza I had the entire time), which made it easy to work late.
Tuesday I finally left the hotel for the first time, and joined a gang of Django sprinters for dinner a few stops away on the "blue line".
That's me on the far right.
And that's me on the left.
Then Wednesday I decided to join a smaller group of Django sprinters on an outing to see Adrian Holovaty play with Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan at the Green Mill. He's a big fan of Gypsy jazz (which is how Django got its name) and an excellent guitar player. I'm glad I didn't succumb to my introverted tendencies and stay in the sprint room, hacking away. The music was excellent, and the Green Mill was a great place to see and hear it.
While The Green Mill looked like a dive bar from the outside, on the inside it's rather ornate (in a prohibition-era way) and reeks of history. I sat next to a friendly guy who had done his research and (in between sets) told me the story of Joe E. Lewis.
I don't regret not seeing more of Chicago, since I enjoyed every minute I spent at the conference. I certainly got as much out of it as possible. But perhaps next year (PyCon will be in Chicago again next year) I'll give myself a few more breaks and see some of the city.