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Day 1.3 of University of Perl
(This first bit isn't truly Wednesday 18th, it's just stuff I did Tuesday night after sending my email)
I transcribed most of Larry's talk, late into Tuesday night. It was hard, listening to the talk in thirty second chunks, again and again trying to distinguish words. Fortunately it was interesting material. If I'd been doing it for presidential debates, I'd have canned it after the first "with all due respect to my opponent".
(ok, now back to Wednesday)
I finally got to sleep around midnight, and woke up again at 4:15am. Damian and I checked out and shared a cab to the airport at 4:45. This turned out to be a mistake: the checkin desk for the 6:45 flight didn't open until 5:30, so we spent some time twiddling our thumbs. Well, I read some murder mysteries and Damian read the transcription of Larry's talk.
The flight was delayed in Dulles, and the voice over the airport PA said that LaGuardia had instituted "flow control." I had a vision of aircraft caught in while() loops, foreach()ing their way across runways, and being told by air traffic control that gotoing earth is considered harmful. These are the thoughts that four hours of sleep inspire.
We got into the hotel after a taxi ride to the heart of Manhattan. We gawked out of the windows like tourists. I'd been to NYC before, but it was just after I'd met the woman who would become my wife and I had no interest in sight-seeing. This time, though, I was much more appreciative. The grimy city parts seemed to make it an authentic New York experience, while the shiny parts were just stunning.
I slept a little in the afternoon, trying to make up for the early start. When I woke at 4:30 or so to a phone call from Mark-Jason Dominus, it took me half an hour to wake fully up and join him. We wandered around looking for a dinner place. He told me how to pass as a New Yorker: it's spelled "Houston" but pronounced "How-stun"; the signs say "Avenue of the Americas" but everyone calls it "6th Ave"; and instead of "Greenwich Village" say "the village".
We dined at a Lebanese restaurant. Mark ordered food based purely on the reaction the menu listing gave him. If he went "wow, that sounds like a really unlikely combination" then he'd order it. I am, by comparison, a timid diner. I ordered something vaguely meat-like and safe, but was not yet really hungry again after a large lunch at the hotel.
We talked about Mark's book a little. He'd lost momentum around the time of the Perl Conference, but recently had started to get back into it again. He said he'd sent what he'd written to a bunch of people to review, and had received replies from all of them. This was very heartening. He was particularly pleased at receiving a reply from Peter Norvig, an AI/Lisp/everything God.
After dinner, we walked to the Perl Mongers talk that Damian was giving. It was high up in a financial firm's office buildings, and I was very impressed by the giltz and glamour of it. When I organized local Perl Monger meetings, they were always held in a bar, and I considered myself to have done well to get a *smokeless* bar. This was very very fancy.
Damian's talk went well. That was the third time I'd heard the Quantum::Superpositions talk, and this was definitely the most involved audience he'd had for it. There seemed to be some people who genuinely understood the physics behind it, and one or two that seemed to belong on sci.math or the net-kooks groups. Still, Damian dealt well with the heckling and finished to a lot of applause. To make sure they realized how good a talk they'd got from Damian, I gave my Python rant again.
Afterwards, we retired to a bar with fancy flat-screen terminals in the lounge. It was a lot of fun. Damian had to abandon us in order to sleep, but a bunch of us stayed up drinking. We had the obligatory Randal laser pointer light show (no Pink Floyd soundtrack, but he did manage to get it to show on a cloud overhead). Chris DiBona from VA Linux showed up and bought everyone a drink, and we talked about the Linux track at the next Open Source Convention for a while. Chris is a real nice guy, and a lot of fun to talk to.
I bailed out of the party at midnight, when the others decided they wanted to catch taxis across town and have a meal. I had to teach the next day and so wimped out. New York really impressed me, though--I definitely like any town where you can party all night like that. I've lived in a cowtown (Fort Collins) for too long, I guess!