So, to put this in a little context, since arriving in the USA on Tuesday, I’ve been heavily jetlagged and thinking more about work than play (this leg was supposed to be play). At least I didn’t have to deal with a bomb scare on my way over.
OSCON was a pretty good conference, possibly more eclectic than linux.conf.au, definitely bigger, but not very relaxed. It seemed like everyone was there to work the crowd, see the people they needed to see, and maybe squeeze some socialising in where possible. It certainly felt that way to me, despite meeting a bunch of great people for the first time. Even my talk was downbeat, though it seemed to go well enough.
Deep digital-camera-fu still eludes me. Pipka suggested we buy one at the airport, so I’ve been trying to get in the swing of taking lots of photos. I have much to learn from Miguel and Nat. Anyway, I took a few lame photos of OSCON for your viewing pleasure.
I don’t feel comfortable here. It’s like a giddy nightmare set in a theme park devoted to “big”. Everything is big – if not in size, then in volume or sheer in-your-face-ness. The cars are huge, though you could scarcely describe them as cars. The television in my hotel room is almost twice the size of our TV at home. The convenience store is a kidney-punch of choice and product. The Burger King girl yelled at me, very, very politely, with a searing-flesh smile. I felt nauseous flicking between the CNN and Fox News coverage of the Democratic National Convention. Some of the TV ads are fearmongering by design, by regulation, or by fear of lawsuits – every drug ad I’ve seen so far spends half the time explaining the benefits, and the other half explaining the (often very scary) side effects.
The big story outside politics is about the disappearance of a woman named Lori Hacking. The news channels are completely saturating the story, talking up every angle, interviewing loosely relevant sources, brutally characterising the main players, “investigating” the background information, and repeating the details over and over. I was shocked by this kind of stuff during the early Iraq war coverage in Australia – this is just as bad, only it’s about a single missing person, assumed dead.
I’m going to San Francisco for a week today, though I might just leave for London early if I don’t feel any better. Girl, there’s a better life for me and you…