OSCON 2002 Act 1: They Meet, They Drink, They Geek
by Sarah Burcham
Travelling itself could be likened to a video game. Moving along, against all odds: security checkpoints ("Remove your shoes and lift your feet, ma'am."), lost luggage ("But that was my stuff."), mangled hotel reservations ("We had you arriving tomorrow."). Frustrations build and suddenly you're playing Medal of Honor and you absolutely must find health and additional ammo...
Once settled at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel, travel-weary attendees, speakers, and organizers found themselves amassing outside on the patio deck overlooking the ocean. The frustrations of travel fade. London.pm looked as if they'd become permanently glued to the patio furniture. The rumour was that they'd planted themselves there and hadn't left since midday. When questioned on the validity of this, I was assured by Dave Cross that they actually had not been there all afternoon, merely "most of the afternoon." New arrivals of the Who's Who in open source and Perl communities started catching up with pint and rocks glasses of various beverages.
Nathan Torkington flitted about, dealing variously with family, the conference, and documenting Things Which Should Not Be Filmed. Damian Conway and Larry Wall wandered onto the patio, as well as many of the regulars from the #perl irc channel, perlmonks, Dave Adler and brian d foy from The Perl Review and previously The Perl Mongers, Dick Hardt from ActiveState, Jarkko the pumpking, Elaine Ashton of search.cpan.org, various module creators, and book authors. Assuredly a motley crew of increasingly inebriated geeks. Almost exactly a month after YAPC, the gathering had a sense of dejavu.
Perl.org Business cards (series of 8 -- collect them all) made the rounds on the patio. Promoting the merits of Perl, the ones that can be documented here include:
... Because life's too short to code without interpolation.
... When the best is good enough.
... It's what the kid who replaces your department will code in.
... Go ahead, use Java. That just leaves more punctuation for us real programmers.
... It's like Java, only it lets you deliver on time and under budget.
Several drinks later, I realized I didn't have what it takes to compete with the livers and stamina of london.pm. It had been a long day and past time to crash and get ready for the tutorials, presentations, and carousing that would fill the next week and constitute OSCON 2002.