Last week was totally exhausting. Actually, the week before that was exhausting as well. But I can say quite definitely that it also contained one of my top career highlights so far, so that’s pretty awesome, right? Should we mix it up and go topically, or go chronologically like usual-ish? I guess if we go chronologically, I will remember more about my time in Sydney, so let’s start there, shall we? And if you don’t like that, then perhaps you could leave me a comment to register your discontent. Rad.

Sydney and FullCodePress

So, as you will no doubt recall, I tried out for Full Code Press, and didn’t make the team, so the lovely Tash suggested that I come along anyway as volunteer. It meant a flight at some ridiculous time in the morning, but also my first Koru Club experience in 15 years or so. I love Air NZ’s newish inscreen entertainment screens, especially since a flight to Sydney involves stupidly long amounts of time on the tarmac. I got to meet all the Code Blacks people that I hadn’t already met, and it made me chuckle how we all had webstock satchels.

My hotel wouldn’t let me check in early, so I went and had a walk around Darling Harbour, having breakfast, reading the (tabloidy) paper, drinking average coffee and enjoying it being t shirt weather. I went back up to the hotel and they still didn’t have a room ready, so I sat sulking in the lobby for a bit before I rode the monorail and went and got a very nice pedicure inside the mall. And then, finally, I could check in. This was my room:

The bedroom looked out into the super huge giant atrium, and the living room had these awesome nighttime views:

I like views of the city at night. I also like getting to finally have naps, and wake up and have Kate B be there, and I like going swimming with her, and then drinking wine with her and looking through her portfolio. I like that her web work is pretty much the opposite of mine, it being all advertising, all flash, whereas I am all advocating for accessibility, in theory if not quite so much in practice.

Anyways, so Kate and I sorted out our hair and jumped in a taxi to go and meet up with her friend Rob and The Mayor of Newtown, at a pub called Cooper’s that was not dissimilar to the Southern Cross with its outdoor terrace. There we compared handwriting, broke glasses and spent a very long time trying to decide where to have dinner. The Mayor’s initial suggestion of a place across the seat was vetoed by Kate on account of the bad lighting, and my criteria was that it needed to have wine. Eventually we set off for a different Vietnamese place, but it was closed, so we went to find a different one. King Street is almost exactly like K’Road, in terms of architecture and people and shops and eateries. We found a Vietnamese restaurant that may have been called Viet Maison, which had a Tiki-Bar although I didn’t see that initially, and OH MY GOD, we ate the most fantastic food – soft shell crab with garlic butter, salt & pepper eggplant, crispy pork hot pot, duck pancakes, lemongrass tofu, coconut rice, oh my god oh my god oh my god. It was so fresh and amazing. I want to eat there every day. Can’t we swap half Wellington’s Malaysian restaurants for some more Vietnamese places? Please? Kate broke another glass, and so we went to another bar called Zanzibar. The Mayor bumped into a friend of his who was in a band and owned his own tiki shack. I’d had enough wine that I was struggling to not imply that the friend was in INXS. It was 1am before I knew it. It was very much fun.

The next day was FULLCODEPRESS so I found my way down to the Conference Centre, and then into the Exhibition Centre, which is the largest building I have ever seen. It’s like, a kilometre long, at least. The FCP stuff was taking place in the middle of all the shiny technology exhibits, so it looked like this:

I hung around for a bit while they were just getting started, and was given access to the official FCP blog, and then I went and met my cousin Jacinta for lunch. She took me to a really lovely Thai place past Chinatown, and I shamed myself by being unable to finish my chili and basil tofu because it was too hot. Laaaaamer.

Another swim and a nap later, I was ready for the FCP lock-in. My role was to blog and twitter about it using the #fcp09, to talk to the nice judges, and to try and sniff out mysterious smells in the media room. It was lots of fun. I also enjoyed making Clint from Rainbow Youth dance for me. Okay, so I wasn’t really helping anyone very much at all, except in my capacity as entertainer. I still felt good about being involved. But not so good that when 2am rolled around and people started sleeping that I didn’t feel stupid for being there when I had a nice hotel across and up the road waiting for me, so I found a security guard to let me out and had a heart-pounding but brightly lit walk back.

I had wanted to get back to FCP by 11am in time for the finish, but that zopiclone, she is a hard task mistress, and it was not to be. Instead I went and ate barramundi in the sunshine. That was lovely – trying to find the FCP annoucements was not so much fun. In fact, I felt somewhat like I was in The Twelve Tasks of Asterix when he needs to get a piece of paper signed. Not a single “information” desk in all of the kilometres of building actually had the information. In fact, a couple of them gave me unformation, and sent me miles off in the wrong direction. Luckily I eventually found some of the judges, but not before I had discovered a conference called “What causes happiness?” (apparently, cupcakes for afternoon tea causes happiness) which would be a nice counterpoint to the conference I’d see the next day at the Powerhouse Museum called “Depression in older people”. Anyways. I got there just in time to hear the judging, which was really really interesting to find out what makes a site good, according to the experts. And The CodeBlacks won! Hurray us! And hurray charity, as I wrote about in my work blog. Etc. So really what I should write about now was the cat-herding required to get everyone to the Pump House for drinks, and then off to the Spanish area for dinner, but everywhere was full so we ended up in a really old Greek restaurant where the lamb was tasty but I suspect that the vegetables had been cooking probably since it opened in the olden days. People appeared to be flagging so I taxied back to my hotel, but they actually stayed up drinking until 2am. Good for them!

The next day was a nice sleep in, a leisurely checkout, then freshly squeezed juice to treat my swineflu/airconditioning flu, and i set off to the Powerhouse Museum. More walking. I was determined to get there because I’ve always been impressed with Seb Chan’s work, and I really enjoyed it, although the ghost figures it used were spooky, and there were a lot of school children loitering about. Who are they to enjoy the culture? Pah! I was hungry and their cafe was uninspiring so I walked down to the madness that is Paddy’s Market, purchased a light shade and two Chinese cigarette posters (in case we ever start an opium den in the tiki shack), and kept looking because I didn’t feel like foodcourt Asian. In fact, I walked all the way back to Darling Harbour and made my way down all the cafes, looking for a plate of fish’n chips that would be under $30. In the end, I came to a place with an adequate bbq, and beers that I guzzled down, but because I had so much time left and I didn’t want to walk anymore, i plonked my fat ass down at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe to eat a degustation plate by myself. Mmmmm. I left with a sea of brown floating around in my eyes, it was so intense. Back to my hotel to collect my bags and be collected by the shuttle driver, and into Sydney Airport. I made my way directly to the MAC counter as soon as I spotted it, where with the lady’s help I purchased a Russian Red red lipstick, but she lacked a matching liner and advised me to look at other brands. I also bought a compact of colours from their special collection that no doubt I did not need but I dearly wanted. I pulled up a seat at the bar, and strangely enough, the other NZers found me there. I watched In Bruges on the plane, and thoroughly enjoyed it, along with the pie I got. I also thoroughly enjoyed getting home to my own bed.

Cupcakes and Mini Webstock

Now I’m not sure if you remember, but after Webstock earlier this year, I made cupcakes for Tash and Ben and Mike and Deb to say thank you so much for their hard work. Well, it turned out that they liked them so much that they hired me to make 100 cupcakes for their third birthday party. Here’s a photo of how some of that looked:

Because I am slightly insane, i decided to make six flavours – vanilla w chocolate frosting, mocha, lemon & cream cheese, mixed berry & white chocolate, gluten-free chocolate and almond, and vegan pina colada. I ended up pretty much drowning in batter and my stomach hurts just thinking about the leftover icing in the fridge!

The Webstock Mini night made it all worthwhile though. It was a lovely chance to get really dressed up, hang out with my besties, try to corrupt Alan, and heckle people drunkenly via Twitter. Even if i did end up drink at the Malt House – at least they had signs up saying they were renovating the male bathrooms and were hopefully removing their incredibly misogynistic urinals.

#GOVIS09 and twicking up

That was the Tuesday. On the Wednesday I was at work until after 11pm, duvet and all, struggling to sumarise 18 months of work into one 34 minute slide presentation. According to the Twitter feedback, I did quite well (scroll down) – or here or ,here – the problems of multiple identities! Once I managed to get some proper cafenet access and had a chance to read all that, well, I was just completely blown away and may have had a little cry. I definitely had a hugely swollen head and cut’n paste the praise into an email I sent to my whole family. It was just so amazingly nice to be acknowledged for the work I do – even though, or especially because there’s like 40 days left of me working there. It’s a tiny bit of a “oh, are you sure you’re doing the right thing, SSC?” and also a “I know that I am smart and talented and can be employable”. There were drinks, and I met a stalker who brought me wine then there was dinner at Roxy. It was tasty and entertaining, even if I had to talk to Australians for ages. Oh god the pain of it all!

The next day at the conference, I felt much much more secure and safe and smug, and more people wanted to talk to me. I even started calling myself a ‘social media expert’ but you must believe that I was saying it as if I was saying “I’m Rick James, Bitch!” Nat’s closing speech was of course my favourite of them all since I missed Matt’s but his was very highly regarded too. It was fun. I learnt things.

And then there were drinks. And more drinks. And a lot of fish on sticks, and hot roast beef sandwiches, and homemade pistachio ice cream, and more drinks, And then I ended up going to Hummingbird for the Tweet Up, and then I went to China Delight for dinner with the Toms and some new friends, and then we went to Hummingbird for a drink or two more. Alisa left my old work to manage the bar there so it was nice to catch up with her.

My weekend and the future

There has been a lot of sleeping and trying to stay warm. There has been feasts at Siem Reap. There’s been a lot of twitter time. There’s been a lot of duveting. That’s really about it. Tomorrow I go for an eye example, since glasses are still subsidised at work. Then on Tuesday I’m going to EAP to plan for the future. After that, well, who knows? I could use some quiet times but I’m not seeing a whole lot of that happening any time soon. I am more confident about being hireable based on GOVIS though. Career highlights are nice.

Sleeping and so forth

It is odd to have bedded two people in such a short space of time, (although my record is still 3 in two weeks in 2003) because of the contrast between the old and the new. It’s also redonkulous that I’ve bitched and moaned about wanting to be able to actually have sleepovers, but when it comes down to it, I had to leave a warm bed and go out into the cold cold night because of how I am physically incapable of sleeping without taking zopiclone. Doing a line-by-line comparison would be amusing for me but also totally totally inappropriate, so I will just leave the public exposure of private things to the contrast between my necklaces clacking together as my head moved back and forth, and the moment of having a lover gently unclasp my necklace, which seems to be even more of an intimate act.