I’m sitting in George Washington University library, waiting for a DC-Area Repository Users Group meeting to begin. I was the first person in the room this morning by a good hour. In fact, the room wasn’t even set up yet. The commute from home to GWU only took about 50 minutes, so I got to run downstairs to the library’s Starbucks (how cool is that! The library has a Starbucks!) and grab a high octane caffeine beverage and a breakfast sandwich. The barista spelled my name Bryn, on the cup. It made me feel quite Welsh, there for a moment. Foggy Bottom is the name of the Metro stop, which, I’ve always thought, sounds like a disease.
The meeting will begin at 9 AM. We have a presentation this afternoon around 3 today, and my colleague, who was supposed to present, has a sick daughter and will be late. This makes me nervous—I may have to do the whole song-and-dance routine myself. I wasn’t prepared for this. But as usual, I’m good at extemporaneous speaking and it doesn’t concern me overly much. I can fill 20 minutes of dead space with content-free prattle; just ask any past student of mine.
The room is a hearty mix of IT nerds and librarians. I’ve been here the longest so I’m the nerdiest of them all. GWU has no wireless for guests. It’s a security thing—seeing how the University is two blocks from the White House. I’m sitting about 20 feet from Starbucks and I can’t pick up their WiFi—that’s how tight security is around here. I’ll probably post my thoughts at lunch. I asked the meeting host, a guy named Karim, and he said he’d get me a guest account. This will only be an issue, really, if I need to get a copy of the presentation, but I was glad to see he was willing to get me set up.
I’m listening to conversation. I should be making conversation, seeing how I’ll be needing a job quite soon, but that’s not my style. Too bad I’m not some kind of approachable, magical 6’6″ guy. Rather, people find me some throwback 6’6″ guy from Amish country.
I don’t even know what this blog will be, once I’ve posted it. It’s a meeting. How exciting can a meeting be, after all? We’ll be talking about Fedora and Content Models, and Hydra Heads, and Islandora, and PHP and… yeah; even *I* don’t understand all the terms.
The User Group is in its 4th meeting. It’s a pity I’ll be leaving the community, most probably, because it has potential of being a truly useful, interesting, and delightful group and, if I get a new job, I’ll have to drop out. I’d be willing to take on a larger role, if only it were possible. Any other job, chances are remote that I’d have the time or means to stay abreast of the project.
Here are a few rapid-fire thoughts, many of them I Tweeted, while sitting in this marathon meeting of the doldrums, developers, and librarians:
- I’m on my second cup of Starbucks coffee (yes, that’s 8 shots of espresso now), and this person spelled my name Brin. She even asked me if my name had an I or a Y in it. Silly me to think she’d get it right…
- A Canadian giving a presentation about some software being developed in “Paylo Awlto” at Stanford University. I snorted.
- “Our software is a CRUD factory,” says the same vendor. This is not something you tell every audience out there. CRUD is an acronym that stands for “Create Read Update, and Delete.” It’s sort of developer’s shorthand for what most repository software stuff does. In short, “Crud”.
- Looking out the window: Every 5 minutes or so, I see a tour guide walking backwards, in the pouring rain, guiding crowds of tourists. Could you imagine delivering having a job where your lifelong mission is to deliver a walking tour of Washington DC, walking backwards?
- Looking out the window: It’s amazing how many women are in sun dresses and miniskirts, considering we had 2 inches of rain & a tornado warning in the last 12 hours
- At lunch: There’s a guy with a shepherd’s cap, tweed coat, smoking a briarwood pipe, and checking his gold watch, which is hanging on a gold chain and stuffed in his tweed coat pocket. He’s younger than I am by a good fifteen years. Software developers are a weird crowd.
- At lunch: Just because it’s called Kinkead’s doesn’t mean it’s an Irish pub. I’ll eat my bouillabaisse like a good boy. It’s pouring & I’m not moving.
- At lunch: To the yuppie lady 1 table over: etiquette dictates that you don’t say Bon appetit to someone who’s just ordered fish and chips.
- At lunch: Wow! I wonder if the woman 2 tables over realizes she’s still a racist, even though she only called Jay-Z “that nig-gro” among friends…
- Looking out the window: I just saw a guy throw a Styrofoam cup onto the sidewalk, think better of his littering, bend down & stick the cup into a flowerpot instead.
- Today’s meeting was so exciting that I forgot to take a picture of the Giant Papier-Mâché George Washington Head in the lobby.
I made a couple connections with people who might be able to hook me up with a job. It was an exhausting day, but, in all, not a bad one. I have nothing more to say, really. Just “hello” and I have strange thoughts from time to time.