3BT: Latest Adventure

I’m back in the USA for meetings and The Last Badger. Perhaps I should’ve made a break from the 3BT moniker, because the sense of adventure that dominated my previous trip hasn’t gone away. “What now?!” you ask…

  • Despite the very simple SYD-LAX-PDX route, I am here in PDX without my checked luggage. It is in LAX somewhere. They think.
  • The hotel lost the booking I made 10 days ago. “Do you mind staying in a smoking room, sir?”
  • Then they did not accept my credit card. Or cash. My proper replacement card may (important point: may) not have been activated yet, and their policy requires a credit guarantee. So instead of being flexible, and figuring out a way to help their customer (to ultimately pay for their services!), they threw their hands in the air and declared the problem unsolveable. At this point, I went for an angry walk around the block.
  • But they were not going to get out of it that easily: My bag, should it be found, was destined for the hotel. So I put on my best fuck-you smile, and encouraged them to find a solution to the problem… Or I would solve it for them on the couch in the lobby. A solution was found that involved giving them almost all of my cash. Oh well.
  • No free wifi in the hotel, but their wifi provider happily accepted my credit card details. *cough*splutter*choke* WTF?!

But I’m here, and psyching up for The Last Badger. Rock!

Update: Luggage delivered at 11pm. Hooray! Its arrival, and Davyd’s joke that “at least you have your health”, reminds me of my silliest mistake so far… Packing the painkillers in my checked luggage. Haw haw. Stoopaad! So I spent most of the flight and transfer trying not to move my back. All of a sudden, I’m extremely hungry.

3BT: The Last Badger

  • Who: Lovers of GNOME, Ubuntu and/or Freedom.
  • What: Running With Scissors – Life on the Bleeding Edge of GNOME and Ubuntu… With your fully accredited rollercoaster designer and refrigeration engineer, Jeff Waugh.
  • Where: Smith Memorial Center, Room 338, Portland State University.
  • When: 19:30 on Tuesday, November 29.
  • WTF: Watch the 3BT page for updates to this info.

The Badger’s Back! In his last adventure, the Badger was pitted against meddling Quebecistani drug barons, Canadian psychological torture involving toxic levels of maple sugar intake, and the overwhelming force of New Jersey sod farms. This time, his sights are set on the seamy underbelly of Portland, Oregon, where Freedom bubbles and spits like mud in a caldera, and the public transportation can actually take you somewhere you might want to go. It’s a dangerous final mission on the BadgerBadgerBadgerTour schedule, but our mysterious, furry friend knows no faer. He can’t even spell the word!

Entirely non-bestial praise for the BadgerBadgerBadgerTour:

Speaker for the Dead

Silly memories and reflections on stuff.

  • The lovely Dell X300 laptop, which they don’t sell anymore. It was really a rebadged Samsung, so not the usual Dell crapola. 7.5 times better than the X40, mostly because it had a trackpad instead of a clit. Lost about five weeks of mail, photos and work while I’ve been away.
  • New Pentax Optio camera, bought at Sydney Airport the day I left for 3BT (I still have the box in my bag), to replace the one that was stolen during my last trip to Portland. Fie!
  • Pipka‘s hand-me-down Palm Tungsten W, which I started using when she upgraded to the Treo 650. Didn’t have either of our lives stored on it. Phew.
  • Totally counterfeit Hugo Boss jacket wallet Pipka found in China. Perfect match, well-loved and falling apart.
  • Pant was, at face value, a piece of material torn by a reckless nymphomaniac from the cuff of an old pair of white, corduroy jeans. But it was more than that, and very disappointing to lose. It has been with me, tucked safely into a long history of jacket wallets, for years. You can see Pant on the front page of perkypants.org.
  • 18+ proof of age photo identity card, which can be used in place of a driver’s license in Australia. I guess that means I’ll have to get my learner’s permit, which will please Pipka greatly. A funny story goes with the photo on the card: The day before it was taken I had my long hair cut to just above shoulder length (I didn’t want to lose it!), which turned out to look exactly the same as my then girlfriend’s hairstyle. My head was shaved the next day.
  • My only functional credit card (one had expired at the end of October), a pretty random set of healthcare and membership cards (including a history of SLUG membership slips), a bunch of receipts collected during 3BT and $200 Canadian.
  • Gowings shoulder satchel, which has served me well for many years. In the secret back pocket, I had another collection of receipts, and a cross-over cable. I had a bunch of business cards and notes in the front pocket. I had lots of little bits and pieces in the bag, including my three power adapters (UK, USA and Europe).
  • My Little Green Book. Possibly the most disappointing loss, my LGB had notes from everything in it. I took it everywhere. Jane found it particularly amusing, having seen it during business meetings in Dublin (release schedules and ‘enterprise’ requirements), and noticed its presence at my wedding (the groom’s speech notes). It was a scrapbook with serious scope.

3BT: Spain and Canada

My short time in Spain was defined mostly by my Barajas, Badajoz experience, which roughly translates to evil travel plan fuckage. I flew into Madrid‘s Barajas airport, thinking I would be picked up there (as Pia was), but the organisers thought I was arriving at Badajoz, the nearest, teeny-tiny airport to Merida. Hilarity ensued. So I finally arrived at Merida, and thoroughly enjoyed the picturesque town, the wonderful energy of the Spaniards, really getting to know maddog, and spending precious hours in the middle of 3BT with Pipka. I must admit, I chuckled at the idea of an OPEN SOURCE WORLD CONFERENCE being held in a small town in Spain, but the bold name definitely described the scope of the audience. Delegates came from all over the world, representing some of the most interesting – mostly deployment oriented – action in the Free Software world. If you thought the Ubuntu-stocked Brazilian digital bus was rad, the Extremaduran’s double-decker digitial bus will blow you away.

Getting back was… ouch. I ended up flying from Merida to Santiago, and then on to London, where I stayed for about 14 hours to “connect” with my flight to Montreal. But it wasn’t going to be that easy. At Boston I was informed that the flight was over-booked, so I was quickly directed to an Air Canada flight through Toronto to Montreal. Finally, I had arrived. But my baggage hadn’t. At least not at the same time. It managed to fly out on the original direct flight, so I had to chase after Air Canada staff to find my bag… Which was now rated as a security hazard because it had flown without a person attached to it. Finally, it arrived, and I was allowed to have it. Finally! Okay, maybe not so final. A week of Ubuntu love awaited at the hotel.

First up, we (the management team) astounded ourselves by finishing the first day’s schedule a day early, thanks to James Henstridge’s awesome, algorithmic acrobatics. Somehow, we interpreted “work complete” as “party time”, so proceeded to drink and dance until about 04:00… the morning of Ubuntu Love Day. D’oh! Despite the vicious hangover, croaky voice and weak knees, we rocked ULD with a great crowd of (mostly Quebecistani) free software lovers. Just over 100 attendees, which I thought was pretty sweet, considering we didn’t know a huge amount about the local community before choosing Montreal for UBZ. We filled the morning with presentations from Ubuntu developers and contributors, then in the afternoon we ran two workshops – one for budding MOTUs, presented by Daniel Holbach and Oliver Grawert, while Jane and I presented advocacy and guerilla marketing for Ubuntu.

At one point during Ubuntu Love Day, on the #ubz IRC channel, I noticed a nick I recognised (“mkp”) and asked if the owner happened to be Martin K. Petersen. It was. I asked if he was at Ubuntu Love Day. He was. HOLY CRAP! Martin K. Petersen of GDM fame (who passed maintainership to the Queen of England) at UBZ! Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to catch up with him, but it was great to meet a true veteran of the GNOME world at an Ubuntu event. Totally cool.

UBZ itself was fast-paced and intense, and we got a heck of a lot of great work done. Not only did we hammer out solid goals for Dapper Drake, but we spent a lot of time working with the Launchpad team. I’m looking forward to the user interface, workflow and feature improvements that we discussed. It’s shaping up well!

I’m starting to get picky about hotel service now, having been to a bunch that rock and suck. During UBZ, not only were the staff dismally inpolite, but the hotel had a serious security problem, resulting in the theft of three laptops by outside culprits (some of whom we saw twice, and followed). My bag was stolen from the hotel restaurant on the last day of the conference, which has made my 3BT adventure that much more interesting. Luckily, it didn’t have my passport in it, but I did lose my camera, laptop, phone/pda, wallet and infamous green paper notebook. Lack of credit card makes for an interesting tour, compounded by the fact that I have to wait until I’m in the one place for a useful period of time before I can get the emergency replacement. Terribly bad timing, all of this. Before leaving Montreal, Jane gave me $400 Canadian to survive on, and wished me luck. GOOD MORNING ADVENTURE LOVERS!

So if you’re wondering why I haven’t replied to an important email, it’s most likely because you sent it between the time I left home (early October) and a few days ago. :-)

Next stop, Toronto! I turned up at Behdad‘s place, only to bore him with furious presentation reconstitution. During my travels, I’ve spent quite a bit of time honing the elements of my 3BT slides, so I had to work very hard to bring my pre-tour version up to speed. Martijn’s video of my (uh, very complete) Amsterdam speech helped greatly. The turnout at UoT was good, my talk went over well, and I was feeling so foolishly content that I invited everyone to linuxcaffe for breakfast at 7am the next morning. Ouch! Had a great time at the pub afterward, got to catch up briefly with Jody, was surprised to meet Brad Hovinen (homepage of his current incarnation) and John McCutchan (who doesn’t have a homepage, but his Kernel Traffic quotes page will do). HOLY CRAP! Great night, and fun breakfast at the linuxcaffe. Thanks Behdad!

So now I’m sitting somewhere in the centre of New Jersey, after presenting to LUG/IP (LUG in Princeton) last night, looking forward to visiting Red Hat Headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. Whoosh!