I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.
I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.
Last year I went to OSCON 2008 in Portland, Oregeon (PDX), and had a fantastic time. I made many great friends, and fell in love with the town and its people. I was looking forward to returning to PDX every year, but unfortunately this year OSCON moved to San Jose.
Not to be denied the Portland experience by mere conference shifts, I arranged to arrive in America a week early, and re-visit PDX the week before OSCON. I'm here right now with Jacinta, and have had an incredibly social time with friends both old and new.
We've been staying with Selena who has been nothing short of amazing. Accommodation, network access, food, transport, good coffee, and most of all fantastic company have made me feel extremely privileged. Selena knows everyone, and is incredibly popular, so we get invited to all the cool events too! I've met more people in the last two days than I can possibly count. Selena also has a beautiful house; and I'm currently sitting under a tree, next to a pond, with a fountain, fish, power, and wireless. I could happily make this my new office.
I've had a chance to catch up with Kate and Schwern, who caught me on the night I landed in PDX for gelato and conversation. Hanging with Kate and Schwern is like fractal socialising; I'll meet someone, discover we have common interests, they'll introduce me to someone else, and the process repeats. It was only at 2am when I was talking to Kate's house-mate's boyfriend about Magic: The Gathering that my body reminded me that I hadn't slept in a real bed for more than 48 hours, and that passing out in the middle of a conversation would probably be considered impolite.
Yesterday I went to the Portland Pirate Shop with the intention of picking up a puffy white shirt, and was informed that I had just missed Plunderathon, and that all the puffy shirts are gone, so I was doubly sad. Next year I'll need to make sure to arrive in PDX much earlier, so I can participate in costumed piratical goodness.
Picking what to do in the evening was hard. Portland seems to be the place where on a Thursday night one needs to choose between a mountain-biking festival, PostgreSQL user-group, Perl hackathon, and Ignite Portland. It's a great place to be a geek.
In the evening I made it to Ignite, which I've decided that I have to speak at if I get the chance. The audience is relaxed, friendly, looking to be entertained, and all have beer. The talks were pretty good, too. I even met one person who recognised me from my work on the Perl 5.8.9 release notes.
Afterwards I made it to the tail end of the hackathon, drank David's beer at a pub that had a huge number of board-games, and retired back to Selena's with Schwern and Jacinta, where we talked late into the night about all sorts of Perl community ideas, including a cute little plan involving community achievement badges that I like to think of as "Perl Scouts".