I returned from the O’Reilly Open Source Convention three weeks ago, and I’ve had drafts for my Tuesday through Friday travel posts sitting around since then. I’ve finally found a moment on a lazy Sunday afternoon to enjoy a pint of ale while writing. Although, it is a beautiful day, which I’d be spending outdoors if my family weren’t sick (and I’m not convinced I’m altogether healthy).
Tuesday was the second and final day of the tutorial sessions. In the morning I attended a tutorial on PostgreSQL’s new hot stand-by and streaming replication features; and, in the afternoon I attended part of a tutorial on Cassandra. Why only part? I’ll get to that.
I didn’t feel like going across the river to the food trucks for lunch, so I joined Debbie for lunch at Burgerville. Aside from the delicious food made from local ingredients, there are two things that struck me about Burgerville. The first I noticed when I walked in the door: for the first time, disposing of my trash would require me to read instructions. Burgerville uses three bins for trash: one for recyclable materials, one for compost, and finally one for trash that can neither be recycled nor composted. I thought this was neat, though I did get a kick out of the soft drink cup. It’s from the Coca-Cola company and advertises itself as something that can be composted; with the footnote that this was only possible in a large facility capable of composting such cups. Not something one can throw into their garden compost pile, I guess. The second thing I noticed caused me immediate regret: the receipt lists the calorie count of the foods ordered, along with carbohydrate and fiber content. Looking over the details of the burger, onion rings, and raspberry milkshake I ordered, I decided that it would not be a very paleo day for me. Oh well, the milkshake was very good.
While enjoying our carb-loaded, calorie-filled lunch, Debbie noticed someone wearing a pair of Vibram FiveFingers that we hadn’t seen before. From a distance, they looked almost like normal shoes and appeared to be made with a dark brown suede. With both of us deciding that a post-lunch, calorie-burning walk was called for, and sharing a desire to buy a new pair of FiveFingers, we set out for Portland’s REI store. A trip on the MAX, a walk, a few blocks on the trolley, and another walk brought us to the store.
The shoes turned out to be the KSO Trek. They’re very nice and I’m considering purchasing a pair for hiking. Unfortunately, I struck out on the trip. REI has been having a hard time keeping FiveFingers in stock, so I wasn’t able to find or buy a pair of the Classic version. Fortunately, I’m still satisfied with my KSOs, which I was wearing at the time.
Our impromptu quest for footwear took us well beyond the alloted time for lunch. Fortunately, this time was not wasted. While walking, we had received a call from our coworker back in the expo hall, who needed help setting up the QuIC booth. For some reason, it was fun being allowed into the expo hall while booths were still being constructed. Not sure why, other than that I enjoy seeing things taken apart and (sometimes) being put back together. After getting the booth set up, I made it to the second half of the Cassandra tutorial. I’m told by those who attended the first half that I didn’t miss much.
We had some time to kill between the end of the day’s sessions and the evening’s Ignite talks. So we walked a few blocks to a place called rontoms. Had I not been looking for the specific address, I would have walked right past, not noticing that this was either a restaurant or a bar. The cavernous interior was devoid of anyone save the bartender and a waitress, who would disappear as quickly as she appeared. The photographs on the wall, ost of which featured a man in an animal costume, ranged from strange to disturbing. After a moment’s hesitation, we ventured out back to find a patio crowded with patrons enjoying food, beer, and spirits. With what appeared to be only a single waitress working and not having particularly strong appetites, we went back inside, obtained pints directly from the bartender, and found a comfortable area to sit and chat. Twice we encountered people entering the restaurant, looking for people they didn’t know by sight. Both times my colleagues convinced them that we were those people; one girl even sat down with us for a few minutes before we let her in on the joke. After a while, I received a page from Jonathan that there was beer, salami, and cheese being served outside the ballroom at the convention center. This sounded like an excellent and delicious dinner to me, so I made my way back.
I hadn’t been to an Ignite session before, so I was looking forward to this one. Right off the bat we were warned that we would likely enjoy some talks and dislike others. Fortunately, each talk would only last five minutes, so we were free to use the time to retrieve another beer. By the time we returned, the talk would be over. I don’t believe I took advantage of this, instead waiting for the break, during which some awards were being presented.
Two talks stand out in my memory. The first, perhaps appropriately, was the first in the lineup: Paul Fenwick talking about Maximum XP: Optimising life for adventure (which he gave again, at a much better pace, at the Perl Lightning Talks). Presented in song, Paul’s message seemed to be to enjoy travel and to take advantage of opportunities to meet people and have fun. Based on what I’ve read on his Twitter stream, I’d say he’s been successful.
The other talk, Your Infinite Do-Loop Exercises Bores Me, struck a chord with me. John Scott and Jim Stogdill paired up for this talk, one would perform exercises while the other would speak, switching places at the halfway mark. Not only was it refreshing to see a talk about fitness at a convention populated by a class of people not known for their physical exertion, but it was about a method of fitness I’ve recently become interested in. While I don’t practice CrossFit myself, I frequently look at the exercises on the site and prefer it to the typical, repetitive gym workout. They also mentioned the paleo diet, which, along with the primal lifestyle, I’ve become a big fan of.
My coworkers all turned in early, so I hopped back on the MAX and headed downtown to have drinks with Kevin at Bailey’s Tap Room. I had a wonderful sour beer, which I no longer remember the name or origin of, and had the pleasure of meeting Steve, Jeff, and Michael Schwern. Jeff and Schwern were discussing the use of the Log4perl module in the latter’s gitpan project.
After last call at Bailey’s, I caught the last yellow line across the river and turned in myself.