Three more days til Christmas. I intend to unplug completely from the internet from then until the end of the year (place a bet with your nearest bookie on the odds I'll crack before then) so I'm writing this now over a cold beer, wondering where the hell the year went - as well as the hot weather.
So where did 2011 go? Let's recap:
Work sent me over to Perth to work with a client between February and April. It was an interesting project, but the real fun was catching up with the developer community over beers (and they love their beer over in Perth). Particular shout outs to Jake Ginnivan (a "brother from another mother" according to someone who shall remain nameless) and JT for making the non-work hours as entertaining as humanly possible.
I also managed to catch up with relatives over there over there (my cousin, her husband and three young kids live in Perth) and see some bands:
- Streetlight Manifesto - two hours in the mosh pit is enought for any man. An item crossed off the bucket list.
- West Coast Blues and Roots Festival - finally got to see Cat Empire live, and a bunch of other artists. Toots and the Maytals was an unexpected pleasure.
The only downside of my time in Perth was that my grandma passed away after having a stroke last year - it felt weird being away from the family when it all occurred, but I went back for the funeral to say my farewells.
NDC and Europe
While I was over in Perth, I was also madly planning my Europe trip. It coincided with NDC which was an amazing conference in itself.
In no particular order:
- pre-drinks with Richard Campbell, Rob Conery, Shay Friedman and others (fairly certain I still owe Richard a Famous Grouse for something).
- three days jam packed with content - I can't recall another event where I'd have three or more sessions in the same timeslot I wanted to see.
- some great parties after the official one ;)
- hammocks to recover in after! (while mocking certain Brits on Twitter)
- an epic technical discussion over post-conference drinks with Krzysztof, Philip and Gael (I tried to keep up but my brain had been melted over the previous days) before we all went our separate ways.
After the conference I headed up to Stavanger with Philip - it was a lot of fun to talk shop while hiking for a couple of hours to what is essentially a giant rock in the middle of nowhere. I was also invited to stay a few days with Thomas Johanson's family in rural Norway - which was capped off with a Norweigan BBQ and aquavit!
After Norway, I spent a weekend in Copenhagen seeing the sights and ran into some Umbraco guys doing whatever those Umbraco guys do.
Then it was onward to Germany (a week of beer and sight-seeing) and France (a week of wine and beer and sight-seeing).
- the quickest blog post I've written (about 20 minutes), which still gets mentions in odd places
- having dinner and drinks with a group of Romanian retirees in Berlin. I didn't speak Romanian, they didn't speak English, but the staff were excellent mediators and fun was had by all.
- our pub crawl group being scolded by a German/French waiter in Hofbrauhaus Munich for being too loud with our chanting - "Zis is not Oktoberfest!".
- visiting the Dachau concentration camp outside Munich and standing inside a gas chamber - an experience I still can't put into words.
- drinking the train's bar cart dry of beer with a gang of tourists when the train from Munich to Paris broke down at Metz for a few hours.
- wandering around Paris and accidentally finding Voltaire's tomb (as well as other famous French figures like Marie Curie) at the Pantheon.
BUILD and Los Angeles
Aside from unveiling the new version of Windows, and causing a collective conniption of the .NET community with their marketecture diagrams, it was an entertaining conference to chat with the guys behind the products. They'd been very quiet for a while, and were keen to talk to anyone at the conference who'd lend them an ear.
Ed: I'll come back to this discussion. I do want to fuel someone's rage on the topic :)
On top of that there was Legoland - if I was ten years old, it would have been paradise. But I still enjoyed a bunch of things there - the Star Wars Lego was particularly good.
I branched out into doing more presentations this year - not something deliberate, just opportunities crop up and I do enjoy jumping into the deep end:
- dddMelbourne - Ruby and .NET for fun and profit
- Newcastle Coders Group - XAML - past, present and future.
- RDN Dev Day - Practical Applications of the Modern Web
- ALT.NET Sydney - Recap from BUILD
- Windows Phone 7 Workshops (Sydney and Perth)
- dddBrisbane - Windows 8 - Who Moved My Cheese?
What's next for 2012?
Can I have a good nap and get back to you on that?