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Day Four of University of Perl

posted by pudge on 2000.10.06 14:05   Printer-friendly
Nathan Torkington continues on his daily journal of the University of Perl.
We were late to bed on Wednesday night, eating and talking in the hotel restaurant. It turns out that Damian and I are clones (he obviously got the brains, I got the green card). We ordered the same meal at the restaurant, appetizer and entree, without have discussed it.
Damian got up at 6am, the mad fool, and worked out. He reports that the hotel gym is very good. I, of course, would not know. I can't drag my butt out of bed in the mornings, and doing anything in the evenings after a full day of standing on my feet teaching seems impossible.

We were teaching again today after our fun day off. I had Advanced Perl again, and this time it was completely different from last time. I tried something different, teaching it in a slightly different order, to see if that improved the material. I think it did, but I ended up taking a lot longer to go through it. I think this is partially because I wasn't having to say "uh, we'll be able to understand this once we do the references section" quite so much.

I think the big reason we went over, though, was that I was taking a lot of questions from the audience. This tended to draw out each section. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it caused me a lot of schedule angst. I did employ Damian's technique, though: "so you get to choose which parts of the second half of the course we'll do". It worked out well, and the folks I talked to seemed very happy.

Damian had an even better time teaching his Practical Reporting and Extraction class than in Seattle (if that was possible). The class wasn't any bigger, but as it's a new class I figure he's getting into the groove of the material. Then again, Damian is a teaching machine, so I don't feel 100% comfortable saying that he could improve over time. You could give him a Denny's menu and he'd inform and entertain a class for 3 hours on it.

Damian even kept his good humour at lunchtime, when we surprised him with Happy Birthday and a cake. His wife had sent me mail saying "hey, it's Damian's birthday, you might want to tell the others." So we planned to torment him with chocolate cake and candles, and it went swimmingly. No news on how old he was, all he'd confess to was 21 (and he refused enlighten us on whether that was in decimal or some larger base).

After classes were finished, we had a meeting to recap how we'd done in these two cities. We talked about A/V (whiteboards, wireless mikes, and all that fun stuff), net connectivity (O'Reilly's planning wireless LANs for their conferences, but in the next two University of Perl cities, New York and Atlanta, brian d foy's going to bring WaveLAN hubs for us), and all that kind of tedious stuff. We even argued about whether we wanted to be booked into the same floor of the hotel (the WaveLAN was a good incentive to Make This So :-).

Damian, Ron (the new technology officer for the conference group), and I then walked for half an hour to unwind and hang out. It was good. We'd been planning to go to the beach, but that would have been yet another $20 taxi fare each way, and $40 for 80 minutes of walking just didn't seem to make sense. So we walked around the block. "The block" turned dark, then industrial, and then we could see the airport through chainlink fences and abandoned buildings, and then we were back into the strip club and fast food hotel area again. Ah, LA, the glamour never ends.

For dinner we went to The Cheesecake Factory. "We" were now Damian, Ron, Amelia, brian foy, Randal, Michel, and me. Damian and I again proved ourselves clones by ordering the same appetizers and drinks, and were planning on the same entree. Damian, however, had the sense to realize that they were giving us HUGE amounts of food for appetizers and there was no point in getting a main. I, on the other hand, pushed ahead and regretted it. As delicious as the Plate Of Turkey And Gravy was, it was too much. Everyone else had similar experiences, being overwhelmed by the food. It must some LA "Land o' Plenty" thing.

The conversation was really good last night. We talked about the trials of training, when comanies stiff you or take forever to pay, and how hard it is to live with a constant credir-card balance (you're always spending money on hotels, food, airfares, and later being reimbursed). We talked about why a lot of people never get into Perl -- Damian said that syntax is all a language is for many people, they never get into the headier abstract stuff that we all live in, so for them Perl's syntax is all they see: a lot of characters and no rules. They find Python much more attractive because the syntax is minimal and they never get into the intellectual deficiencies of the innards and conceptual framework of the language.

So definitely chalk up another day in the positive column. There's something about hanging out with people this easygoing and smart that is a blast. However, I'm going to enjoy getting home. My family has a cold and I'm sure my wife is exhausted from having to take care of our son. Come Saturday I'm going to be even happier than I am now.


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  • I attended Nathan's Advanced Perl class in L.A. Even though all the topics weren't covered, the class was very well done. Nathan wrote example scripts on the fly to illistrate points from the foils. I was very impressed with the entire day, even if he did catch me yawning several times, but it wasen't from bordom :) Cheers!