Not to borrow a phrase from that pompous windbag Rush Limbaugh, but I literally became the last man standing in my department late last year. After a year on the job, I became the member with the most seniority. The point was best highlighted when at the third quarter company meeting last year, the CTO put stars next the names of all the members of my team who were new since the last quarterly meeting. Yep, mine was the only one that didn't have a star next to it. In other words, I've damn well earned that plane ticket to Austin.
I depart around 6:00 AM next Thursday, which will require strenuous effort on my part to ensure that my ass on the plane before they close the gates. It's not my favorite time of day to be conscious, but I think I'll manage :P