Wow, what a week it’s been. I’m so late with my usual Sunday blog post this time because we were in Wolverhampton doing Oggcamp. I’ll get into that more later of course, but I’m just trying to recover and get some energy back at the moment after 3 days of non stop work and partying. It was epic. Let’s get into it…
We skipped doing a live Linux Outlaws on Monday night but instead released our interview with Randal Schwartz. The downloads for that took off quickly, mainly due to Randal’s celebrity status I assume. Then he mentioned us a few times on FLOSS Weekly and it took off even more. I just hope our server can cope! On Wednesday Fab arrived from Germany and I collected him from the airport. We then went to pick up the PA for the weekend from my mate Keith. With all that lot loaded into my tiny Nissan Micra and looking pretty comical, we headed back home. In the evening we went for a few beers with my oldest and best friend Will (AKA Chemist), I’ve known him 26 years now (what a scary thought), we met in nursery school at the age of 3. It turned into a later night than I’d expected, but was great fun nevertheless.
On Thursday we did a live show from here. We had a lot of people joining in and I came up with the mad idea that we should try to release it almost straight after. To achieve this we bypassed our usual hours of editing and did the show all in one go, with music mixed in on the fly by me. At the end I just compressed the audio a bit and cut it to length. Fab did a great job of encoding and releasing. All in all, we got the show out in under 2 hours from saying “goodbye” on the broadcast to hitting the RSS feeds. I’m amazed by that, and I think it came out sounding pretty good in light of it. The reason for all this rushing was because I had to pick up the hire car for Oggcamp the next morning, load it up and hit the road to Wolverhampton pretty handy. We managed that, and despite my inability to get to grips with the “automatic handbrake” on the executive car I’d hired, the trip was great. We swung past Liverpool Airport and collected our friend Kevan on the way. We met up with many more friends in Wolverhampton: Anna, Alistair and more, for the Lugradio Pre Party. It was a very late night, involved lots of drinking and talking, great fun. The Next day we hit Lugradio Live 2009 a bit late after sleeping in. So late in fact that the hotel restaurant had finished serving food, they wouldn’t do room service or even bar food, but I managed to sweet talk the receptionist into getting the chef to make us 4 BLTs. I’m still not entirely sure how, but I’ll have to try and recapture that persuasive skill in other areas of my life. Fab gave his talk on Linux in schools at LRL and it went down a storm. I thought he did brilliantly and the room was packed out. I was really happy for him. You may notice I’m glossing over some stuff here because of there’s just so much of it. We stuck around to see Andy “Blackadder” Robinson and Bruno Bord talk in the main room, they were both excellent. It was then time for the last ever (they swear this time) Lugradio Live & Unleashed. Jono was wearing the Chinny Racoon suit from last year, and he must have been sweating his nuts off under those lights. Adam kept telling me how ill he felt all day from the pre party antics. Despite this you would never have guessed from the show, it was great. Hilarious as ever, with plenty of audience interaction. Later, I took Fab and a large party of other folks to the curry house right by the hotel. He experienced his first Vindaloo, which I think he’ll remember for a while. I’m much more of a wimp and stuck to a mild curry. There was some German swearing and sweating but he ate the whole thing and enjoyed it. A hell of an introduction to Indian cuisine I must say, not sure I could have handled it. The after party at the hotel was sponsored by Microsoft apparently, but there were no free drinks or food and we got kicked out at 11:30pm. So what they actually paid for I have no idea. The karaoke perhaps? Either way, they clearly don’t know how to throw a party, and I can’t say I’m surprised. The Fedora party in Berlin was 10 times better, another victory for Free Software! We carried on drinking in the hotel bar till about 3 or 4am, mainly thanks to the legendary Phillip Newborough (of Crunchbang fame) and his rucksack full of beer. Probably not the wisest move ever when I was head of the Oggcamp crew, and I’d set the call time for 9am, arrgh!!!
I made it up in time for the 9am call, even had a shower and sneaked a bacon sandwich out of breakfast area (this was becoming a habit). I then took all the crew up to the main room and we got to work. Tony, Laura and most of the others were already there working hard. The fantastic volunteers we had got the breakout rooms sorted, set up projectors and generally made our lives so much easier. I’ve already thanked them a few times, but one more won’t hurt. You guys are amazing, you know who you are. Tony and I rigged the PA and miraculously it all worked. The whole day went off perfectly, a little too perfectly in fact and I kept expecting something to explode in our faces. But it didn’t. The live show went well, people cheered, and laughed, and hopefully had a lot of fun. I certainly did. I’m not going to go into massive detail about the event here because I’ll be writing a proper article for our Linux Outlaws blog soon. I’ll update this with links when I have them. As the show finished we packed everything up and headed to a local Chinese banquet place on mass. There were about 25 of us in the end and the food was amazing. I was a little worried when I was handed a bill for £275, but thankfully realised pretty quickly it was for all of us. After some more drinking and LOTS more chatting in the hotel bar we tried to get an earlier night this time, about 1am. I had to get the hire car back home for 11am the next day, a feat I didn’t manage in the end but I avoided extra charges. Maybe I had remembered those persuasion skills after all.
I’ve been home just over a day now and I still can’t quite take it all in. It was such an amazing experience and the constant flow of nice comments, photos and general feedback from people really makes me smile. We haven’t decided for sure yet if we’ll do another Oggcamp, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say I’d put a few quid on it, if I were a betting man. We drove back yesterday and just flaked out after really, I wasn’t any use for much else. Although, having said that I just remembered I did edit a new episode of the Software Freedom Law Show in the afternoon. No rest for the wicked. That episode should be out now if you want to have a listen.
This week I’ve got a lot of sorting out to do, running PA kit around and returning it to various friends. I’ve got some work to catch up on, audio editing to do, I need to write up my experience of Ubuntu Karmic, and plenty of other stuff. It’s the Ubuntu Release Party in Manchester this Friday, I should be there for that. I’ve also got tickets to see Eddie Izzard live at the Echo Arena on Saturday night. I have to take Fab back to the airport tomorrow too, he’s off back to Germany again. It was good to catch up and hang out in person for a while. There is also Chester LUG on Thursday night which I REALLY should attend that, seeing as I’ve missed a couple. It’s gonna be tough with so much else going on though. I might not be up to it. I don’t want them to feel neglected, it’s just that something always comes up around Chester LUG time for me lately. We’ll have to see. No doubt there will be plenty going on, so I’ll report back next weekend. Take care till then.