Swine Flu Vaccination…

I had the Swine Flu vaccination at about 14:00 on Monday, so it’s been about 41 hours since I had it and I still feel like crap.

I’m not sure it’s all entirely down the jab as I’m still in a jet lag daze, but prior to the jab I was just tired. Now my left shoulder aches where I had the injection, the scar on my left elbow has become really sensitive all of a sudden, and my neck aches constantly. I feel really tired, but I’m not able to sleep. I’ve just been watching films all night lying in bed.

I wasn’t totally sure I wanted the jab in the first place. I thought I was going for the regular flu jab, but when I got there it was the swine flu one and I just got caught up in the queue of old people and other “at risk” groups.

On the positive side I shouldn’t be infecting anyone with that disease now. On the negative side I’ll probably start developing lobster claws when I’m 50.



New Moon…

Having seen Twilight, I knew what I was letting myself in for when I went to see New Moon. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 represents the worst film ever produced and 10 represents the best film ever produced, New Moon manages to sneak into the negative numbers. Yes it really is that bad.

Once the lights went up the first phrase out of my mouth was, “What a complete load of Toilet!” I think I may have said it a bit louder than I should. I fear I may have offended some women aged 15-30 who thought is was amazing. They were wrong!

I knew they had managed to ruin the concept of Vampires in the first film, but I figured Werewolves are impossible to ruin. I forgot that you could just make them boring. Never mind.

To summarize the plot.

Girl: I love you mister vampire.
: I love you too.
: I’m going away and I will never see you again.
: I’m devastated and my life is over, but that guy over there is really hot. I think he may have played Shark Boy in the childrens film “Shark Boy and Lava Girl”. I’ll use him as my rebound guy and become an adrenaline junky.
Girl: I can’t commit to you hot guy. You might leave me.
Hot Guy: I’ll never leave you.
Hot Guy: I’m leaving you.
Girl: I’m devastated and my life is over, but I can’t take a hint so I’m going to see Hot Guy. Oh. Hot Guy is a Werewolf. Never mind. I kinda like freaks.
Vampire’s Sister: I saw a vision of you jumping off a cliff. Vampire guy thinks you are dead and is going to kill himself.
Girl: I was just jumping off a cliff for fun. Oh no. I’m going to save Vampire guy.
Girl: Phew, I saved you mister vampire, but oh no, maybe not.
Enter Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen: We are both really famous and quite cool, but we’ll do nothing of significance and just take home a pay check.
Vampire, Hot Guy and Girl: Let’s have a small confrontation that makes it look like we are finally going to see some cool vampire-werewolf fight action, but then settle everything with no violence because that would displease the small girls in the audience.
Vampire: Marry me.
Girl: Oh, all my dreams have come true.

At that point I had a terrible feeling I was going to have to witness a wedding. Fortunately the director took pity on me and made it end.

The film will be a major success as it exploits the hormonal insanity of 13-year old girls. It’s like their version of catnip.



PS. If nothing else it helped me forget about 2012…

PPS. You may be wondering why I went to see it in the first place. One of my female friends asked me along and I foolishly said yes.


I think 2012 was about the most depressing film I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve seen it described as Disaster Porn, and that seems a pretty accruate description. If I were being generous I would say the special effects were quite impressive, but I really think my life would have been better if I had never seen this film.

There was of course a bit of Hollywood cheese in there, to try and give you a warm and fuzzy fealing, but I would suggest if you come out of that film feeling warm and fruzzy you really need therapy.

The only way it coul dhave been worse is if it had been Armageddon or Independence Day

Please, do yourself a favor and don’t go to see it. I think I may have to go an see New Moon to clear head. I’m sure that will be so bad I will be able to forget about 2012 for good.



AUSOUG Melbourne…

I had one day to myself in Melbourne before the conference started, so I asked the hotel concierge what I needed to see. I followed his itinerary almost to the letter and got to see a fair bit, which was cool.

Melbourne feels very different to the other cities I’ve been to in Australia. The other cities feel very functional, but the central business district of Melbourne feels more like a city designed for socializing in. It has a very central European feel to me. Not at all what I expected.

Anyway, back to the conference. The work I did on my talk really paid off. The change to the first half really made a difference. Sometimes the demos actually obscure the message, rather than enforcing it. Removing them from the first half of the talk gave it a lot more punch and made it feel like I was staying on message, rather than demoing for the sake of it.

I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t see this before the Perth event, but that’s life. A big thank you to Connor McDonald and Chris Muir for there input on that. A few well placed words from people with their experience can really help a newbie like me big-time.

So a big thanks to all involved in the event. It was really cool to come back and hook up with everyone again. Also a big thank you to the people who came to my sessions. You never know what the future brings, but I hope I get to come back again.

I fly home today. I’m leaving quite late, so I’ve got to fill the day. I always find it hard to do that the day of the flight. I spend the whole day worrying about missing the flight rather than enjoying myself. I’ll probably end up spending most of the day in the airport being really bored before spending 21 hours on a plane. 🙂

See you on the other side…



Canberra Oracle User Group (ACTOUG) get together…

I was chatting to Marcel Kratochvil at OpenWorld this year and he suggested I visit Canberra to have a chat with the guys from ACTOUG while I was in Australia, so yesterday morning I flew into Canberra.

On the plane I developed a splitting headache, due to lack of sleep, so by the time I got off I was feeling pretty bad. Marcel was meant to be giving me a lift to the hotel, but I couldn’t see him so with self preservation in mind I got into a taxi and went straight to the hotel. I told the front desk to tell him I had arrived if he called, but told them not to disturb me. I got to my room, puked a couple of times and fell asleep for most of the day.

Marcel called me from reception at 16:30 and off we went to the Oracle office in Canberra…

The format was a “Beer and Pizza” night. People eat, drink and chat for a while, then I did a one hour presentation while they were too subdued to leave. Once the presentation was over we went back to just general socializing. Nothing for pulling a crowd like free beer and pizza…

Despite still not feeling too great, I had a really good time. Put me in a room of people and tell me to talk and I’m in my element. Throw in pizza as well and I’m in heaven.

I got up at silly o’clock again today, 02:00 to be precise. Marcel is giving me a quick tour of the city on my way back to the airport, where I will fly back to Melbourne.



PS. Where were you Richard? There will be repercussions… 🙂

Refocussing my presentation…

The plane journey from Perth to Melbourne turned out to be very productive. I’ve made some substantial changes to my presentation. The content is the same, but as I suggested in my previous post, I’ve de-emphasized some bits and emphasized others.

I guess my presenting style is based very much on the way I write articles on my website. I’m not a fan of reading overly “wordy” articles. Instead I want a cut & paste example that gives me a feel for the feature/issue. I can then play around with that to get more familiar with the technology.

Well that works fine for a lot of database and development presentations, but not all of them.

This particular presentation has two distinct halves. The first half really doesn’t lend itself to demos and the copy & paste mentality and the second half does. It’s still early days for me as far as presenting is concerned, and this presentation has reminded me of that again. Fortunately there are a few old hands around that give some pretty good advice.

So what I have now delivers the message I want to deliver, but I think does it in a much more sensible way. I’m a bit annoyed I didn’t see this before I presented in Perth, because it didn’t take much time to repackage, but that’s life. Sometimes, when you are too close to something you can’t see the wood for the trees.

So in a few minutes I’m off to get a plane to Canberra to do a presentation to a local user group. I’m not totally sure yet how much time I have to present, so that one will be a bit more “seat of the pants”. 🙂

I’ll be back in Melbourne tomorrow where I will hopefully get to see a bit of the city before the next AUSOUG event starts.




The Perth event is now done and dusted.

The day before the conference, Chris Muir took Lucas Jellema and myself on a little tour of the city. I slept OK the night before so I felt pretty good. That night I didn’t sleep at all. Not one minute. By the morning I felt OK so I went to the conference as planned. About 30 minutes into the first talk it was game over. I went back to the hotel and slept for about 3 hours.

When I got back I spent the rest of the day in Lucas’ session about “SOA for Database Professionals”. Lucas is a great speaker, which is even more impressive when you consider it’s not his first language. I shall try and catch the bits I missed at the Melbourne event.

The next day I spent the morning at Connor McDonald’s SQL sessions. I guess everyone knows by now Connor is a great presenter. Not surprisingly, he won the Best Speaker prize for this event. Shock Horror! 🙂

I had the afternoon session on day 2. I’d presented several elements of this session before, but never as a single block all together. The session was about 1 hour 45 minutes. It went OK, but I wasn’t really happy with it. A few of the demos towards the end failed. I’ve been playing with them since and it seems to be an issue with browser authentication in Firefox and Safari, rather than a fundamental technology issue. It seems that often, once you authenticate through the browser (to XML DB or EPG), subsequent authentications to different users ignore the new credentials and continue to try and authenticate with the old details. Just about the only way to make it consistent is to reboot between demos, which isn’t going to happen. Authentication via WebDAV or FTP works as expected. I’ve got a couple of ideas I’m gonna work on tonight for workarounds.

Anyway, once the talk was over I got a bit of feedback from some of the guys and I think  I’m gonna revise a couple of bits of the talk for Melbourne. Emphasize a couple of bits and deemphasize others etc. Hopefully that will give it a little more punch.

This morning was … interesting. I got up early and started to do a bit of work. After a few hours I checked my flight details, even though I was sure my flight was at 17:10. Turns out that was my arrival time at Melbourne. My departure time from Perth was actually 10:50. My first reaction was I had missed my flight. Fortunately I had been up since 04:00, so even though I had been working for ages I was still in time for my flight. As I’ve said before, travel is never easy for me. 🙂

I did some frantic packing, threw my rucksack over my back, at which point my laptop flew across the room and landed on the floor. Seems I forgot to zip the pocket. Fortunately MacBooks are pretty solid so there doesn’t seem to be any damage.

Time to get on another plane and change time zone again…



Traveling is never easy… for me…

This morning I’m traveling to Perth, Australia for the start of the AUSOUG Conference Series. The thought of 19 hours in a plane is not exactly thrilling, especially after the turbulence during my last flight, but I can manage that sort of stress, just about.

In an attempt to be efficient I completed the online check-in and all looked good. Then the taxi was 20 minutes late (stress +1). I got to the airport and dropped of my bag and went to security, where I was turned away because of a duplicate seat allocation (stress +1). I went back to the check-in desk, where they found no such problem, but printed new tickets for me. I got through security the second time, then was told the plane was delayed by about 30 minutes, which has now become 40 minutes and counting. So I’ve got about 9 hours until I know if I will make my connection (stress +lots).

This international travel is a pain in the <insert word of your choice>!



Update: The seat was double booked, despite what the check-in desk said. Luckily there were spaces on the plane. I guess it makes sense to board early because it seems like the person sitting down is the person in control.

I made it on to the second leg OK. I was between a couple, so I got to snag an aisle seat which was lucky.

So I’m here in Perth…