Saturday, October 13, 2007
The Aussie Bush and other various plagues
After Sydney, I headed out to speak at Charles Sturt University in the teaming metropolis of Wagga Wagga. It's about the size of Pulaski Tennessee and in the middle of BFE, in other words, the Australian outback aka "the bush".The airport at Wagga (they don't say it's 2nd Wagga for some reason) shown at right is about as big as a large IHOP or Shoney's and attended by the same sorts of people. In the picture at right, you can see a BOGAN kid in the foreground wearing the uniform of his favorite Aussie Rules team and the big Aussie rules football. It's a fun game to watch and, much to my surprise, I found out that even the fans don't know what the heck is going on most of the time. And I thought it was just me...
As I mentioned, Wagga is in the middle of the bush. It's pretty country out there and, being October, means it's early spring. The nights were very cold and we nearly ran over "roos" or "skippies" every night. They're a lot like deer in that the Aussies put up Roo Crossing signs to remind you to be careful not to run one of 'em over as your cruising down those lonely roads on a dark night.
There were about 200 people at the event in Wagga - 50 for the security sessions and 150+ for the SQL Server sessions. There were a couple dozen sessions and ALL of the Aussie SQL Server MVPs were there. I, personally, had two sessions - one was early on day one and the other was the very last session of day two. Consequently, I couldn't get away from the little town to do anything touristy - not that Wagga has a lot of tourist attractions.
I did enjoy the opportunity to sit in on other speaker's sessions and to learn some new things about SQL Server. I also enjoyed getting to meet a fellow named Rob Gurr. Rob showed me the ropes of rural Australia and introduced me to some fine Aussie brews, as well as an excellent Aussie candy/mint called, well, Minties. I'm bringing a bag home for the girls. I also resolved to get Emily a top quality Aussie hat called an Akubra - the keep the flies off and are incredibly durable.
I'm also very thankful to Greg Lowe and his wife Mai for organizing the event and inviting me to come speak. I didn't realize it at the time, but I turned into the celebrity speaker and, when the local TV news crew came down to report on the big IT event in their little rural town, I was the one who they interviewed, all the while trying to keep the flies from eating my head. LOL!
One thing that was interesting about Wagga was, even though it was a tiny town, it had 5-8 very active pubs with live music and big crowds. All the Aussies tell me that country life revolves around the pubs. And the pub is where most everyone goes to relax and enjoy time with other folks.
Well, it's time to run. Best regards,