Revenge served cold

There was no way on this earth that Casey West thought he would get away with embarrassing me on the Perl Whirl. As Barbie said Casey really did play his ace card much too soon on the cruise. However, it was more fun watching Casey sweat than it would have been to play another prank.

But I did get my own back. I needed to find something that would embarrass Casey and I needed to make sure that there were other people around to witness it. As Casey and I don’t live on the same continent I knew that I couldn’t be there to witness his embarrassment – but I can live with that. I only had three places to choose from. I immediately ruled out his home because there wouldn’t be enough people there. That left me with his local Perl Mongers meeting or his workplace. I couldn’t really be sure he would be at the Perl Mongers meeting so I went with his work. So, I sent a large bouquet of happy birthday balloons to Casey’s office. And to make it even worse Marty decided that we should add two 40 inch balloons with the numbers 18 on them (and it was late so I went along with him). Just what Casey wanted. To be wished a happy 18th birthday.

Hopefully that will be the end of the birthday jokes and not just the beginning…

Perl Whirl - Day 4 (Wednesday 13th October)

We arrived in Izmir very early in the morning. Well, it was just before 8am but it seemed really early to me as I had stayed up much too late the night before. Marty and I had booked a trip to Ephesus and we had to be at the pre-arranged meeting place for 8am. I must admit that when I first woke up I was really tempted just to stay in bed. But I’m glad I didn’t. Ephesus was really worth seeing. At first I was concerned that there was only going to be a few marble pillars to look at but once we got into the site it was fascinating. I’m sure that not everything the guide said about Ephesus was true (I was really unconvinced about the stuff concerning the last resting place of Mary and John) but it was very interesting.

I really can’t remember much of what we did when we got back to the ship. Marty wasn’t speaking so I assume he went to hear one of the speakers and I spent the afternoon studying. What I do remember very clearly is dinner. It was one of those nights when the waiters decided to dance. I didn’t get up to dance with the waiter as I really didn’t want other people looking at me. However, it seems that one of my friends had decided that I should be centre of attention at some point that evening. I’ve always hated the idea of having waiters sing “Happy Birthday” to me. You see it happening to people in restaurants and I always cringe. What I wasn’t expecting was to have the waiters on the ship come over with a birthday cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to me. The main reason I wouldn’t expect such a thing to happen was that it wasn’t my birthday. Not even close to my birthday. So imagine my surprise when the cake arrived at the table. To say I found the experience embarrassing would be a bit of an understatement. The people sitting at the table with me cried with laughter. The waiters looked really perplexed as I kept saying over and over again “but it’s not my birthday”. When asked to blow out the candle and make a wish I managed to lean over and hit the cake with my chest getting cream on my new top. All in all an interesting experience. It was fairly obvious at this point who the prankster was. Marty and I had been winding Casey up all week.

After dinner we played cards with Barbie down in the bar. He taught us a game we hadn’t played before called 6 Nimmt. For whatever reason this was not a card game that I found easy to play. Actually the game wasn’t that difficult. It would be much more accurate to say that this was a game that I didn’t find easy to win. I stayed up much too late chatting to Casey and Barbie and decided to call it a night once Randal and Co started on the triple shots.

Stormy Weather

We really should have got the hole in the dining room fixed. I can hear the rain drip dripping onto the floor. Maybe instead of typing I should go and get a mop and bucket…

Perl Whirl - Day 3 (Tuesday 12th October)

Marty was speaking in the afternoon at the same time as Dave. This seemed a bit strange to me as they both seemed to be speaking on quite similar topics. Dave’s talk was entitled “Idiomatic Perl” and Marty’s “Writing Better Perl”. Looking into this is seems that Marty’s was a more general talk than Dave’s but it would probably have worked better if Dave’s had been after Marty’s.

I spent most of the day looking at my law books. I found it quite difficult to concentrate on the ship. There wasn’t anywhere to work, apart from my room, that wasn’t noisy. They even piped cheesy music into the library! The problem with working in my room is that it had a large bed. I believe Marty returned to the room at one point to find me fast asleep amidst my books.

As Tuesday was a formal evening I spent far too much time getting ready for dinner. I always get quite stressed when I have to make a special effort with clothes and makeup. It’s also really strange playing cards in an evening dress (still possible to win though).

More Conferences

The conference season just seems to get longer every year. I thought that the Perl Whirl would be the last one of this year. Seems this is not to be and that we are planning on attending the London Perl Workshop which is taking place on the 11th December. I’ve also just noticed the dates for E-tech. I suppose we need to decide fairly soon whether or not we are going to attend this next year.

Perl Whirl - Day 2 (Monday 11th October)

I was attending the Perl Whirl with Marty. I hadn’t registered for the conference as I heard quite a few of the speakers before – and don’t really spend very much time working with Perl. The structure of the conference was strange as the talks had to be fitted in around the times the ship was docking. On Monday the ship docked at Bari at around 11am, the first session of the conference running between 8.30 and 11. Marty wasn’t speaking on the Monday so we both went out and had a quick look at Bari. A very quick look at it seemed that this was really only a technical stop to let on more passengers and that there wasn’t anything exciting to see within easy walking distance of the boat.

In the afternoon I went to look at the rooms that the speakers had to speak in. I was really surprised to see that two of the talks, Casey’s and Robert’s, were taking place in the same room – just at opposite sides. Casey had wanted to get set up early but he had to wait until Neil arrived with the sheet that they were going to hang in place of a screen. Some of the rooms on the ship didn’t really seem very suited to the needs of the speakers. It turns out that a poker tournament had gotten the better rooms. However, speaking to Casey and Robert afterwards it seems that their talks went well.

We developed a pattern for our evenings that involved meeting the bar before dinner and hoping that 21:30 would come around sooner as everyone was hungry. Barbie had brought Fluxx with him – which we spent quite a bit of time playing. I really like the card that lets you set the hand limit to 0.

Perl Whirl - Day 1 (Sunday 10th October)

Marty and I arrived in Venice on the evening before the conference started. Venice is a truly beautiful city but the beauty was masked by the fact that we couldn’t find our hotel. It was hot and humid and there were hundreds of people walking around the area we were trying to drag our suitcases through. Thankfully Marty was able to get in touch with Barbie, who had picked the hotel, to help give us some indication of where to find it. The hotel was beautiful.

Before going to the ship on Sunday morning, Marty, Barbie and I had breakfast overlooking the Grand Canal. We got to drink hot chocolate, watch people go by on gondalas and see Venice appear from the mist. Getting to the cruise ship wasn’t as relaxing. The first leg of the trip involved getting a water bus to Piazzale Roma where we spent some time trying to find out how to get to the cruise ship. Once we arrived at the terminal we met up with some old friends and Marty played “spot the geek” – which really isn’t too hard in a terminal full of cruise going travellers.

The Perl Whirl started with a cocktail party. We must have arrived late for this as we seemed to miss the registration bit at the start. At some point I snuck off with Casey to have a look at his room as he and Robert had quite a large balcony.

We found out that dinner would be served each night at 21:30! When we left the dining room it was nearly midnight. On this cruise we seemed to have been seated by nationality. Maybe Neil figured that this was the only way we would be able to understand each other so late in the evening.

Missed Exam

Well after spending hours last week on the Perl Whirl studying for my law exam I got a migraine last night and was unable to make the exam. First time I have ever had to go to the doctors to ask for a note for my teacher…

Halifax - Bad Interface Design

Yesterday I decided to use my online banking facility to pay my credit card bill. This all seemed to go smoothly. I went to the payment page, selected my account from a drop down list and made the payment. Later on whilst browsing through the various account screens I came across this message printed in red:

“Due to essential maintenance, if you use the Online Payment option you can only make payments by Worldpay. The drop down list should not be used.”

So which bright spark at the Halifax thought it would be a good idea to print a warning message instead of disabling the function on the web-site? Or if they could really only print a message why couldn’t they put this on the payment page? I really can’t believe that anybody is going to think that printing the words “the drop-down list should not be used” on the summary page is really going to stop people using the drop-down list on the payments page!

I now have no idea whether or not my payment went through. I tried ringing the Halifax about this but did not manage to get through to someone who had any idea what I was talking about. In the end I hung up. I tried sending an email through their online help system. Maybe they received this – but I really don’t know. I didn’t receive a confirmation message at the time and haven’t received a response. The question now is why am I not with First Direct?