First things first - breakfast with the lads. They were off setting up the stand and whatnot, and so I was left to my own devices. Quick bit of work in the room, then off for a wander to register. I got to the registration area around 9am, to see 7,000 backpacks being unloaded. Awesome sight. But still too early for me to register.
Lots of informal in-corridor meetings with folks, including one of my speaking partners - Jens B Augustiny. We *had* planned to rehease our speech, but time was short. I recall lots of discussion around the Barmy Bloggers Boat Race too. Paul and I - the "Poseidon adventure" - were booked for Wednesday. I popped by the stand to see how it was going - Richard, Roy, "Big" Tony and Jon were setting up. This year I was not on stand-duty (thank god) and so left quickly before I got slapped.
Back to the room to prepare for the Beach Party. Now. Considering it was my birthday the previous day, and that Paul Mooney is invoved, I thought I'd better dress casually. Something easily washable for instance. Something that wouldnt mind getting soaked. Good choice as it turns out.
Before the Beach Party, the IBM UK ISA team meeting at Shulas. Nice expensive venue, and the drink was flowing. A few IBMmers were brave enough to approach me, and some good networking was had. Once IBM sorts out its business partner program so its not dependant on License sales, then I might get interested.
The Beach Party
I slipped in quietly (yes this is possible) and caught up with Mick Moigard and the Teamstudio crowd. At which point, Bruce Elgort found me, and dragged me over to the pool area.. Gulp.. Where 30-40 bloggers were waiting. I was told to sit on a chair and not move.. Mooney then disappeared for 20 minutes.. I was given a six-pack of Heineken to keep me occupied, and I emptied my pockets of all valuables.. At this point, I noticed a lot of IBM folks appearing, but not standing between myself and the pool.. Oh well.. If I was going in, then I would take as many people with me as possible.. :-)
Paul appeared with a birthday cake. Afterwards, I found out that he'd spent most of Sunday organising this - it took FOUR meetings to get the cake into the party.. Amazing bloke. A chorus of "Happy Birthday", presents were given - including a sound activiated t-shirt, slippers (for the Blogging BOF on thursday morning) and a card was passed around. Its at times like these that you realise that you have a lot of very good friends..
I foolishly went to swap T-Shirts - and there's lots of photos of my manly chest out there - and ate some cake.. And didnt land in the pool! Bonus! At this point we all headed over to Jellyrolls for the party proper..
We popped in, and the place was empty. In fact, various groups of folks had checked it out earlier, and thanks to the location mix-up - originally it was going to be at ESPN but the American Football play-offs made this impossible - a lot of folks missed the party. We took over most of the tables, and sang along. Fantastic fun.
Around 9:30pm, the place was heaving. Wouter and Coen presented me with a pair of wooden Dutch clogs - and I clumped around a lot. At one stage, I was dragged on stage with Coen and Lance (he was 40 in December, and it was Coens birthday on Saturday) and we had to dance..Yes, Warren put the video on you-tube. Thanks...
I wandered to bed around 1ish, feeling quite humbled after all this attention..
Paul - thanks again for everything you did. Believe me, I shall repay you some day..