As I write this, I'm at 36,001 feet above the ground, heading towards LAX for my connection into Portland for DebConf 14. I'm certainly excited about the conference and looking forward to putting faces to names, as bad as I am with the latter.
Part of the thing that I hope to accomplish at DebConf is a narrowing of what I want to be doing for and with Debian. Right now, there's a lot of different things that I want to do: Debian Dating - for package sponsors, not a la XKCD - trying to help pull in some of the changes that Mempo has made (grsecurity++), maintaining a bunch of different packages that interest me, helping the Debian Perl team, and many, many more things. Too many things.
From what I have heard from previous attendees, attending DebConf is the absolute /worst/ possible way to slim down the number of things that you want to work on for Debian. It has been described to me as "a place that to-do lists breed", which is as frightening for its mental imagery as anything else. (My god, the papercuts!) I'm quite sure that is exactly the case. There's a lot of awesome projects to hack on out there, and as much as it's going to do damage to whatever free time I have once I get back, I'm going to enjoy seeing what new cool things end up on the list.
It's been a while since I've had the freedom to just be in a place with a bunch of tech geeks and hack together on whatever strikes our fancy, and get some help on whatever you are working on. I always feel that working on other people's stuff helps me get perspective and new ideas about how to tackle the things I'm working on, even if I'm not directly getting help on it. Plus, there is a joy in itself that comes from working with other people who are really excited about the stuff that they are doing, and that's certainly something I'm eager for.
Of course, I'm also expecting it to be a lot of /fun/ even independent of the learning and hacking. I know a couple of the people who are going to be there, and if they are any yardstick to use as a comparison to what the average Debianite is like, DebConf should be a whole lot of fun. Come find me if you want to play a game of Werewolf, and I'll see some of you there!