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Day 1.5 of University of Perl

posted by pudge on 2000.11.04 7:02   Printer-friendly
Nathan Torkington concludes his daily journal of the University of Perl. Nat, thanks very much for these features ... they've been quite entertaining and interesting. I have to party with you, man. You're an animal.
Sleep between Thursday and Friday wasn't too good, as you'll understand from reading my Thursday diary. I staggered out of bed at 10:30, feeling like crap (I'm such a Perl hacker I typed that as "carp" originally ;-).
I had breakfast/lunch downstairs. At times like this it's good to know the conference's hotel guru personally. Angela fixed me up with a fruit platter instead of the oily lunch they were serving, and after some ibuprofen and orange juice I managed to stand without feeling like I was going to fall over.

I had a good conversation with A/V guys. They were telling me about their favourite Commodore 64 games (mine was "Impossible Mission", without a doubt). Then Chris told a great story about meeting Bill Gates back when he was only worth $150M or so. Chris was doing AV for a conference and was sitting with a friend on the edge of the stage after soundcheck. Friend had bought a tub of licorice sticks. Suddenly they feel this "presence" behind them, and it's Bill about 20 feet away, eyeing the licorice sticks with unnerving focus. Friend says "Bill, you're welcome to have some if you want". Bill scurried over ("scurried" was the exact word used), took some sticks, then scurried away. "I tell you man, the PR job they've done in the last few years to make him seem like a normal yet fantastically wealthy guy ... it's incredible."

No sooner had lunch finished than it was time for my mod_perl class. I was very nervous about it, because I felt bad and my throat was sore after the previous night. I stood up, and the microphone didn't really work well so I just used volume. It must be something about standing and speaking very loudly that energizes the human body, because I was able to teach very well that day.

It was only when I stopped that I felt my fatigue. I stayed about 45 minutes after class, chatting to students, Dave Adler, and Paul Grassie. Paul's an instructor for Tom Christiansen Perl Consultancy, where I've taught for two or three years. He wrote the excellent beginner class, and has been working on tweaking my intermediate class lately. I like Paul a lot--he's a genuine, friendly guy, and a pleasure to talk to.

Finally, though, I went upstairs to collect my check. I passed a horde including MjD, and the horde's mood was jubilant. Mark had his check for teaching, and there was the usual elation accompanying the last day of classes. We agreed to go out for rodizio, just as soon as I collected my check. When I got to the O'Reilly room, they'd all packed up and buggered off! I've since received the check in the mail, thank goodness, but it was quite the surprise. I guess I shouldn't have stayed talking for so long.

So Mark-Jason Dominus, Damian Conway, Dave Adler, a young hacker Casey, and me, all ended up at an outstanding rodizio restaurant. It was my first rodizio experience, but it will not be the last. They just kept bringing large skewers of meat past, slicing off portions for us, as often as we wanted. Every cut of meat, every type of meat, even seafood! Damian and I, inveterate meat-lovers, were in heaven.

When we were finally gorged, we left Mark and went to a comedy improv club. There was a tiny audience (in fact, we made up the headcount they needed as a minimum to do the show), which made it hard for the performers. But they tried their best, and it was very funny nonetheless. Coincidences of coincidences, there was a New Zealand woman in the audience. They used her story (in New York with her girlfriends, left kids with husband in California) as the basis for an improvised Broadway musical that ended up involving black magic and demonic possession. Brilliant.

After that, Damian, Casey, and I walked back to the hotel, hunting for an ice-cream place to satisfy my cravings. We couldn't get any, and finally went to a restaurant near-by and only had dessert. We said goodbye to Casey after that, and went back to the hotel.

At that point, Damian and I had to say goodbye. I had an 8 a.m. flight the next day, and he was heading back to Australia. It was hard to say goodbye, to finally conclude these great weeks. I feel like that at the end of every conference, even after the get-togethers that the denizens of the talk.bizarre newsgroup put on ... I want them to last forever, to be able to savour this incredible feeling of being around like-minded people and never have it stop. But all things come to an end, and this was no exception.

The flight the next morning went well, and I was met in Fort Collins by Jenine and William (my family). I was sad to see the end of the tutorials, and will miss my friends from that group, but I am also very glad to be back with my family. Jenine and I agreed afterwards that it was about three days too many: both of us felt separation pangs on the final Wednesday.

So I'm back, and will be cooking up plans for another University of Perl tour. I'll let you know when and if that comes to fruition. Until then I remain ...

Your humble correspondent,


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  • Even if you had gotten out of Advanced Perl on time, you still would have missed them. After I left your modperl class, I walked directly to the O'Rielly tables. They had all the O'Rielly books packed, and only had a couple of the UoP2k coursebooks on the table.
    Paul Rodrigues