This is an offshoot of the original Liam & Janet blog. That blog has become overrun by Liam's inability to keep his mouth shut when something annoys him. The serious rants there seemed incongruous with the humor columns. The plan for the humor columns continues to be to post a new one every Friday, plus occasional extras when the mood strikes.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

IOUG-A Live! 2005 - Day One, continued

This morning, I would like to begin with an addendum to yesterday’s musings (in much the same way that I expect tomorrow to comment on my drunken debauchery at Disney’s “Pleasure Island” tonight, more on that later). After posting the essay in question, I did in fact attend the vendor room opening, did in fact consume several beers and enough grease to solve our nation’s foreign oil dependency. There was clearly WAY more oil in the munchies than we’ll ever find under ANWR. A quick walk (or perhaps “stumble”) around to the various vendor’s booths followed, searching for products of real use such as free t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, pencils, yo-yos, finger rockets and rubber balls with LED lights in them that flash when you bounce them.

Finally, I ended up chatting with some friends, including Stan Yellott, a man who (and I say this with the utmost of respect) could not look more like a Wookie if he had the full force of Industrial Light and Magic’s SFX department behind him. To say that Stan is large and extremely hairy is like saying Disney World is mildly expensive. Nevertheless, Stan is extremely knowledgeable and a great guy, except for the fact that three years running, he has been in charge of selecting the conference committee, and three years running, he has opted not to select me. Proving that Stan is also an excellent judge of character.

The night ended up with a final session, “Ask Tom Kyte”. Tom Kyte is an executive with Oracle, who has his own section of the Oracle web page (named, surprisingly, “Ask Tom Kyte”) on which he plays, essentially, Dear Abby to the Oracle user community. Stan and I and a woman whose name I didn’t catch discussed what questions we might ask to liven up the event.

Stan suggested “I get the ‘jump to the left’, and I’m pretty clear on the subsequent ‘step to the right’, but I’m afraid I’m fuzzy on the instructions that follow that”, a clear indication of Stan’s age. I’m pretty sure kids these days do not find the Rocky Horror Picture Show as fascinating as we, for some reason, did. I was all set to ask “Mr. Kyte, we have an Oracle 10g database almost a terabyte in size, consisting of approximately 2000 tables, and so my question is: having just seen the new Hitchhiker’s Guide movie, what IS the ultimate question to life the universe and everything?”

And then we arrived and, contrary to our expectations, the crowd was about as animated as the Mona Lisa (the original, not the recent remake by Hanna Barbera). If there is a crowd of people less apt to loosen up with liberal application of beer, I really don’t care to meet them. Tom spent roughly fifteen minutes discussing why “Why?” is not only NOT a rude answer to a question, but actually the best initial answer to give in roughly 85% of cases. As boring as this may sound, it was actually entertaining and informative, and I’m almost certain I would have felt the same way sober.

Then the questions began, and I understand that this is a technical conference, but good heavens these were serious and boring questions (lightened only slightly when Stan revealed to the table that when he’d stood to take a picture, his pants… had not made the journey unscathed). Tom answered each question with care and with good information, but the beer was wearing off, the hour was getting late, and the eyelids were starting to droop, so making my excuses (don’t you love “vibrate” mode on cell phones? No one knows if it really went off or not!) I departed for my hotel room.

Oh, and I said earlier that I’d have more on Pleasure Island later. I will certainly have more on the TRIP to Pleasure Island tomorrow, but I wanted to mention: Only Disney could name a section of their theme park “Pleasure Island” and not conjure up images of 42nd street in Manhattan in the 70s and early 80s. They even say, without a trace of titter in their voices, that Pleasure Island is the adult section of the compound, and one knows immediately that by adult, they mean that there are night clubs and bars and things which are not age appropriate for children, rather than that one will be bombarded by signs advertising “GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!” in between offers of dates from women of questionable repute. Disney World really is like living in a movie from the 1950s, only with more realistic color.

Coming Up Later: Day two. More sessions, more information, and The Big Party. (Wow, deja vu!)

Copyright © May 2, 2005 by Liam Johnson.


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