On to the photos!
The first annual "Office Products Expo" was a large gathering of North American explorers which took place in June of 1994... er, maybe it was 2004. Approximately 70 explorers attended 4 days of conferences, expeditions, meetings, seminars, and general mischief. I had a lot of fun meeting all kinds of people from all over the US, Canada, and even a few from Australia and Europe. I had some good times and a lot of fun experiences, off the top of my head I think some of the most memorable were:
-Passing out in the back of the Nightbanemobile at various times, waking up to the driver yelling "OH SHIT" and then just going back to sleep when I realized we were still alive. Having Jester give me shit about grabbing his head or something while I was asleep.
-Arguing with the asshat security guards who wouldn't let us into the campground at 11pm (we had a reservation but no magical permit which hadn't been mentioned when the reservation was made), and the way they kept looking at us but wouldn't come too close to the big group standing around discussing various ways to infiltrate and/or cause bodily harm to them.
-Meeting all kinds of people, forgetting their names and/or getting real names and aliases confused. Always confusing Potlan and LostFlock with eachother. Meeting people who I'd subconciously expected to be totally different.
-Totally sniping a racoon out of a tree with a beer bottle (long story, and it eventually regained conciousness and wandered off)
-Being one of the few dry(ish) people after the drain, and watching UEM-Tux wipe out with his video camera still running after surviving the drain itself.
-Infiltrating and rooftopping absolutely anything and everything with Slim Jim and Boffo, and screaming at other explorers from the tops of various buildings while random pedestrians looked at us. Screwing with elevators on the U of T campus, and setting off an alarm somewhere and running like hell.
-Darktreader's ghetto tent
-Chasing security around with Exkalibur
-Waking up from a UE dream at 8am to Exk's alarm clock and thinking it was a security alarm.
-On the way back through Customs, I got this really annoying woman who kept asking retarded questions as she went through my gear. "Why do you have camping equipment", "Why were you visiting people you met online?" "If you're a college student how did you pay for this?" Fortunately her shift ended halfway through and I got a really apathetic guy who just glanced at my bag and told me to get back on the bus. I really wasn't looking forward to explaining my scanner, headlamps, Infiltration shirt, climbing harness, cell phone antenna, and every other item I had on me.
Meeting the rest of the OPEX attendees was great. Aside from the dinners (first pic), seminars, and movie night (second pic) there were a number of informal social gatherings, many of which happened at the campground I was staying at (Security showed up in the form of Exkalibur, whose surplus uniform made for some great joke photos).
One of the most popular events was the drain exploration with Kowalski. Draining with about 30 people was very interesting, the amount of noise and light made it quite unlike any other UE experience I've had. It was also cool to be with a group of real explorers who weren't turned off by the rushing cold water, dangerous catwalk, or occasional fall.
Jester demonstrates how deeply he fell into the pool at the base of one waterfall. That rope is there for a reason...
The Don Valley Brickworks was a favorite location during the conference, with several expeditions and tours visiting it. The place is very photogenic and reminds me of some of the old cannery buildings near my hometown before they were demolished.
A trip to the harborlands was nearly done in by increased security, but we managed to see some buildings, a tank farm, and someone's birthday party with a professional DJ and lights.
I ended up doing a lot of informal spur-of-the-moment exploration with Slim Jim from Iowa, as well as with local explorer Boffo. We checked out the U of T where Jim demonstrated his Pigeon charming skills, and where we found a giant round thingy and some rooftop access. We also made our way into a swanky office of some kind, as well as into the Architecture department which was full of miniature building models. Other areas included a few basements and utility rooms, and several unsuspecting fire escapes.
"Due to a slight planning error, our new courthouse will resemble a giant teapot..".
More rooftop action with Jim, atop some kind of Christian "research" center. We yelled at other explorers on the ground, attracting attention from just about everyone but the people we were talking to.
Random Toronto pictures. I was fairly impressed with the bagged milk concept, but I declined to sample the Canadians' bold new flavor.