LCA Day 3: Beer, Heat and Throwing Knives

Wednesday morning dawned and with it the rising awareness that today I had to perform. I was last up in the day, so I had some time to prepare. I started by waiting until everyone had left the hotel room. I'm quite happy to stand up in front of all sorts of people to give my talks, but I draw the line at rehearsing in front of anyone. When the hotel room was empty, I sorted out all my props: the dictionaries, the magnifying glass, the (printed out) Kindle, the bugs, and of course the box itself. There were some props I still needed, so I wrote a list. I ran through the talk, noted that I was running pretty close to the time limit; I was going to have to be careful.

I packed everything up into my bag, tucked the folded up box under my arm, and set off to the 7-11. I purchased a Go Card (which is what Brisbane use for public transport tickets), and three bags of lollies. Then I set off to the bottle shop. The bloke at the bottle shop was a little dubious when I requested a can of beer ... any beer. Eventually, he found me a single stubby of XXXX. I'm in Brisbane, obviously ;)

The bag was getting pretty heavy by then, so I flagged down a cab and jumped in.

Once at QUT, I hiked over to the room I would be speaking in and harassed the volunteers there until they let me dump my stuff in a corner. Then I sat down and watched the talk running in there to check out the room.

The middle part of the day was spent flitting between talks, meeting friends, and generally geeking out. All part of the LCA fun!

And then it was back to my room, the time was upon me! With the help of friends, we sat up and packed the black box, and watched the room slowly fill. So many people! My guess would be at least sixty people came, although I've had people suggest it could have been more.

I popped the balloon, managed to catch the bouncy ball (phew!), and that was pretty cool. I pulled out the first thing from the box, the tiny diary. Threw it over my shoulder, got a couple of giggles. By the time I had started throwing everything over my shoulder, but chose judiciously *not* to throw the bottle of beer, the crowd was laughing along nicely. I was set!

Until I pulled out the plastic cutlass ...

I wave it around a little, and then strike a pose and give the sword a giant swish ... and watch the blade go sailing out over the audience, narrowly missing a startled-looking bloke in the front row. I began to panic, suddenly realised that no one actually got hurt, took a deep breath, and then threw the handle after it. After that, it didn't really matter what I did, the audience laughed.

I got hammered with questions, I got mobbed by people afterwards, and I haven't been able to walk anywhere without being hurled questions and congratulations ever since. And I've learned something, too: being a rockstar is tiring. Can I go home now? I need some sleep.

LCA Day 1: Haecksen, Geeks, and Flying Unicorns

Today was awesome. That's about all I need to say. I'm exhausted, I'm feeling very anti-social (too many people for my reclusive heart!), and I wish I had my own bed to sleep in. But today was absolutely, marvellously, amazingly awesome.

The day started with the opening address for the conference, where the organisers stepped us through just some of the major organisational maneuvers they've pulled off in the last ten days. Then it was off to kick the haecksen miniconf into gear.

All my speakers were amazing, including the two impromptu lightning talks. Everything went to schedule, in fact we were occasionally five minutes *ahead* of schedule, which is almost totally unheard of in any event I've run! While the audience fluctuated throughout the day, we filled the room for every session. By my rough count, we had somewhere between 30 and 50 people for every talk.

Valerie Aurora ran a great workshop in the final session, designed especially for a male audience. Suitably, our audience was pretty close to 50/50, and we were at standing room only. It was a great way to end the day, with a light-hearted look at such a heavy topic. I would love to hear from anyone (male or female) who attended the workshop, and who might like to share how they felt about it.

After Haecksen was done, it was a mad rush over to the Red Hat offices to kick off the Girl Geek Dinner. I haven't done a final count, but around 40 women (and a few men!) crammed into the lunchroom, dined on fabulous Chez Nous platters, received plenty of Google, Fedora, and Red Hat schwag, and generally had a good time. Thanks so much to my boss at Red Hat for footing the bill, too :)

All the speakers today got a special inflatable unicorn, and Andy Gelme got a lovely hot pink one after his lightning talk on Hackerspaces. In true hackerspace fashion, he sent me this video overnight:

It made my morning! 2013 bid

This isn't the only sekrit plan I've working on recently, but it's the only one I'm allowed to tell you all about so far ;)

For the last several months, a small group of people in Canberra including myself have been preparing a bid for LCA 2013. This is not just to give us more time to make the conference the most awesome, froody LCA you've ever been to. No - 2013 is also the centenary of the founding of Canberra as the nation's capital. It's a very significant year for us and we'd all be thrilled if we could show the attendees of LCA our great city and Canberrans the great work the FOSS community does to improve everyone's lives.

So we're really stoked that the bidding process is going to be opened early, and I think it'll lead to a really interesting competition that will result, whoever wins, in the best LCA ever!

If you're interested in getting involved, email me at loquacities(at)gmail(dot)com!

The Next Adventure

With the kitchen now (almost) completed, I'm leaving Bananaman in charge of project managing the tiler next week, and popping off to Brisbane for Despite the recent floods—which wiped out their conference venue, most of the social event venues, and the open day venue—somehow or another the LCA crew have managed to persevere, and the conference is going ahead as planned (albeit in all new venues).

Last time I went to LCA, I was a first timer. I had submitted a talk and, not surprisingly, been declined in the main track. My speaking record was pretty thin on the ground eighteen months ago. I submitted to the Haecksen miniconf instead, went along and had a great time. I learned a lot, I met a lot of seriously awesome people. I also met one very nice cider. I was nearly dead from exhaustion by the end of it (and there must have been something wrong with the apples they used for the cider. Gave me a terrible headache!).

This year is looking a little different. In true me style, I am not only attending Haecksen, but running it. I am also speaking in the main track which is A Bit Of A Big Deal. I've only re-written my talk twice so far. I think I can probably fit in another re-write before I leave though ...

Kitchen - Day 5

Today, our first real hiccup: the tiles haven't arrived. They should be here on Monday, but the tiler is going on holidays for a week. So the earliest we can get the tiles laid is Tuesday week (incidentally, I'll be in Brisbane for that week, so the lovely Dermott Banana will have to project manage that!). Never mind, we got the benchtops in, and they look OMGAWESOME:

Want a closer look?

The old lights have finally been replaced by new oyster lights, and the dimmer in the loungerrom now works properly:

We also got the sparky to install safety switches in our aging fusebox, and fixed the smoke detector, so we're extra-safe now! (Does that mean I can daisy-chain a few more powerboards for my computer equipment? Maybe?)

We also got the sink connected, and the leveller for the tiles laid:

After the leveller was down, it was no-go in the kitchen for 24 hours. On Monday, with any luck our tiles will arrive, and the plumber will come back to connect the cooktop to the gas.

Photos are all in my Picasa album if you want a closer look at anything.

And, just because this amuses me greatly:

Kitchen - Day 4

By the end of today, we have something resembling a kitchen again. And you know what? I'm absolutely stoked with it! The colour, unfortunately, doesn't come through in the photographs, but it's probably best described as a pale olive. They call it 'paperbark', and if you've ever seen the smooth pale green wood (not the brown falling-off bits!) of an Australian paperbark tree, it's pretty close. Sounds awful when you describe it like that, but it's working unbelievably well:

We also have drawers in:

And these are spice drawers!

Perhaps the downside is that I've discovered a fairly major scratch on my dining room floor, now that all the cabinets have been taken out of it. I had some cheap lino down to try and protect it, and it's pretty battered. I'm just glad we had something there, anyway:

But, things are really starting to happen now, and it won't be long before we can start using everything again. Tomorrow, the tiler will come and put the leveller on the floor ahead of the tiles, and the benchtops go in. Stay tuned!

Kitchen - Day 3

By lunchtime, the tiles were finally up, and the concrete dust covering absolutely everything was starting to settle:

I have a sink:

But, perhaps most exciting, I have a dishwasher!

The cabinets that have been stored in my dining room all week, are now starting to shift into place:

Although there are still bits of cabinetry stored just about everywhere. This is my hallway:

Tomorrow, the cabinets should be finished, and the two archways removed. Sally forth!

Kitchen - Day 2

Today, my cabinets arrived (just ahead of the rain!):

The sparky turned up, and moved a few power points:

The plumber turned up, got rid of the old sink pipes, and installed a gas line for the new stovetop:

And the demolitions guy started taking out the tiles:

Even though I didn't think it was possible, the place is even more of a bomb site than it was yesterday:

Keep an eye on my Picasa album for even more photos. Hopefully tomorrow, the cupboards will start going in ...

Kitchen - Day 1

Well, today my kitchen started out looking like this:

And ended up looking like this:

On the way, it went through various states, including this:


And this:

So where did it all go?


And here:

And good riddance to it too!

For the full collection of photos, check out my Picasa album. I'll keep updating it and the blog as things progress.

Tomorrow, the sparky and plumber 'rough in' (I think that is tradie-speak for 'have a look to see what we need to do later on when we get around to it'), and the new kitchen gets delivered. Oh, and they're bringing the jackhammers, to level the floor. Same bat channel!

Tron Legacy: now with extra ranting

I've been looking forward to seeing Tron: Legacy for a while. I saw the original on VHS when I was a kid, and thought it was pretty awesome then, so I could only imagine what 3D and modern special effects could have done. And I wasn't disappointed in the slightest. While my partner had some trouble with the 3D and effects (for some reason it all seemed flat and kind of blurry and washed out to him, apparently), I spent the entire movie mesmerised. It was true to the original, the back story was really well-handled, and the effects! Oh my, the effects! There was only one thing that ruined the experience, and that was the cinema advertising that came before it. It doesn't help me enjoy the movie when I already have a bad taste in my mouth and a rising urge to yell at things before it has even started.

It would seem that only boys go to watch movies like Tron. At least, that is the lesson that I learned from Dendy tonight.

It started out innocuously enough, with a Subway commercial, promoting their latest competition, and featuring a bloke with an improbable-looking bread roll ogling girls on a beach. Same old crap we see every day, and have learned to largely ignore. I can't embed the video, because the only version I could find was on the Subway website. You can see it here.

Then came a commercial about Pat Rafter who, apparently, "can do it all. Of course he can, because ..." (wait for it) ... "he's a man". It's a Dove commercial.

Yes, the same people behind the campaign for real beauty have also seem to forgotten how many amazing female tennis players we have here in Australia. All of whom can also "do it all", despite the fact that they are not men. Thanks for that message, Dove.

So at this point, I was feeling mildly disgruntled. So when the next commercial came on (which I can't find online anywhere. If someone finds it, please do let me know) I was pleasantly surprised ... at first.

It opens with a group of young attractive women, apparently getting ready to go out. One says something about another getting Foxtel connected, and she proudly mentions that it's through her Xbox, over the internet. Wow, I think. A woman, in a group of women, who not only owns an Xbox, but is able to describe how it works. Nice!

And then came the clanger ... "Hold on, when did you get an Xbox?" another friend asks. Slow pan out to the hunky topless guy walking into the room. "New 'flatmate'" comes the comment, with the inverted commas around "flatmate" painfully obvious in her tone. le sigh. So women can't own a gaming unit. They're only allowed to own boyfriends (ahem, sorry, male "flatmates"), who own game units.

Will it never end? I was the one who wanted to see Tron, I was the one who dragged my poor long-suffering, non-geek partner along, I was the one who re-watched the original last weekend in a fit of fangirlism, I want to see ads that don't make me feel like I don't belong there.

Several years ago I decreed that I would not go to a cinema unless it was Dendy. With the recent price hike on tickets, the suspicious lack of foreign films, and now this case study in broad generalisations, though, Dendy is fast losing its gloss.