When I was moving away from Dallas in 2000, they had just started construction on the new American Airlines Center. The AAC is a brand-new, state-of-the-art basketball stadium for the Dallas Mavericks. Upon the recommendation of my lunch-waiter, I walked up to the front door to seek a tour of the facility. I pulled on the doors: locked.
After wandering around for a while, I eventually saw a bunch of press people going in and out of a side entrance. I got in line and just followed some guy in, hoping to blend in with the crowd. We got a few steps in and started down the stairs into the guts of the building, when a guard called out that she wanted to search our bags. We set our bags down on the table as the guard went through. Not finding anything of interest in my predecessor's bags, he was free to go. Next she set upon my bags, and all was going fine, until she stumbled upon my toothbrush. She looked up in confusion and asked, "Are you with the press?" Figuring the gig was up, I admitted that I wasn't, and then put on the best "Oh, isn't this where I get a tour?" face. She directed me to the nearby Fan Store to inquire about tours. Drat.
So, I walked to the fan store, and as I approached the main counter, I noticed a door slowly closing behind a janitor. I adjusted by vector to sail past the counter and to the door. The janitor was just closing the door as I approached, and looked up with some confusion. I just walked right through, without any hesitation or making eye contact, and breezed on by. He didn't question me. I was in.
Once in, I had free reign of the entire building. I walked through the lobbies, up the stairs, through the box seats, into the cafeterias and lounges, up into the VIP rooms and areas, and of course into the stadium. I *almost* walked down onto the court (and I regret that I didn't), but I figured I was pushing my luck enough as it was.
The building is set up in a very interesting fashion, arranged such that each upper floor is protected from people on floors beneath. There are five major levels: "peasant", Platinum, Flagship, Admiral, and then "nosebleed". Though it's not immediately apparent, it's just not possible to go between the floors, even though it looks like you can. For example, from the main lobby, there is an escalator going up one floor -- seemingly indicating it's easy to get to the second floor (the Platinum level). However, that escalator actually goes to a section of the second level that is walled off with glass from the rest of the floor. Thus, you can only keep going up (eventually to the nosebleed level), or back down. Plus, if you're not paying attention, it's not immediately apparent that the glass wall even exists. Thus, it maintains the illusion of free movement, without the hassle. Very clever.
Anyway, I walked around for a good hour or two, and then headed back to meet up with friends. However, I found that the box seats had Internet terminals. Feeling mischievious, I sat down at one, loaded up my website, and wrote a quick story. In addition, because I couldn't add an image, I had to write some new code to manage pictureless stories. Thus, I can now say that I've hacked PHP code in the box seat of the American Airlines Center. How many people can claim that trophy?