Well, some of the non-sessions were sort of like sessions. I hung out in the lockpicking village for several hours. It's this room upstairs with tables stocked with various combination and bike locks so you can test your skills. I was fortunate enough to win a lock-picking kit from this guy at the hackers for charity booth before the conference even started! I won it on twitter, ran into him at the syngress tweetup thursday night, and got to test my skills on day 1. My skills are lame. But I have a kit and learned the gist of things.
You may ask: why are you learning to pick locks, spacefem? I have two very common motivations: first, locks are cool puzzles. It's just darn fun. Second, I like to know what security really is... if you have something important to lock up, are you just going to buy some random one and take the manufacturer's word for the fact that it's secure? Or do you want the knowledge to determine this for yourself? Most locks are just tougher-looking "please do not disturb" signs.
Oh so speaking of the syngress tweetup... parties! If you go to defcon it's good to be in a big group of people. The more people, the better the odds that someone in your group will get the hookup on the outside parties and get you in. Sure there are parties for everyone. The conference itself hosts the black and white ball, and Thursday night there was a fundraiser for EFF that was open to everybody. But that tweetup was at Ceaser's and had free drinks and lovely door prizes and cool people, we just heard about it through twitter.
Guys in my group got us into the Facebook party on Saturday night. Why was facebook having a party? Your guess is as good as mine. But we were in studio 54 at MGM, enjoying an open bar and a the geek band dual core, dancing the night away for several hours until the club went "normal" and tried subtle methods of de-nerding the place. Then it was back to the Riviera with us, where we found a weird random event in an upstairs suite, hung out until that got busted up. On and on.
The best thing I did was Friday night and was in fact conference-sponsored... hacker karaoke. Now I love karaoke anyway, but karaoke with geeks is extra special because there's a lot of common taste in music. We knew what to say in between the lines when someone sang "Sweet Transvestite" from Rocky Horror Picture Show. We remembered "Whatever" from siffle & olly. This was a first year for hacker karaoke so we were in a little room, maybe six tables and no bar but there was a place to buy six-packs down the hall so there was plenty of drinking. The room was packed with people at the tables, against the walls, sitting on the floor. I made some friends from baltimore. I sang "I would walk 500 miles" and there was much singing along. I also sang "Girl at the rock show" because it's kind of my signature karaoke song and so much fun. The great thing about being out of town is that you can sing your song and nobody knows you do it every other week... if club indigo hears me sing "Girl at the rock show" one more time they might stop letting me in. But this was great because there's a line, "When we said we were gonna move to VEGAS, I remember the look her mother gave us..." so hey, fits a theme, go me! I'd forgotten that one.
By the end of the night we were screaming, sweaty, dancing, packed, and blew out the sound system after "Pianoman". Marc said he knew that'd happen. He was actually down the hall DJing the black ball for crazies but stopped in every so often to see how I was doing, and I was doing fine, I'd made some friends from baltimore who were saving my chair and happy to see me sing. When the speakers stopped working we just kept singing. And then requested songs according to what we, as a group, still wanted to belt out together, like Bohemian Rhapsody. It was one of those zen love happiness moments everybody lives for, totally relating to a room of people you barely know, lost in your own little world. we high-fived and hugged and smiled and lost our voices, and that was what we'd wanted.