Steven (unzeugmatic) wrote,

Singing for My Supper

More and more people are saying very kind things to me about my talk -- at the level of noting very specific things from the middle of slides they want to talk about -- but at this point I am honestly no longer obsessing over it because last night I definitely earned my keep here. As I've noted, what was concerning me was that the conference organizers had spent a good deal of money to help get me here (and to pay my conference fee and to pay three nights in the hotel) and I was extremely concerned that they be happy at their decision to do so. I am no longer concerned.

Last night was the conference dinner, a very fine and formal meal held at the Aquarium of Western Australia a few miles up the road. First we looked at the fish and ate fancy appetizers (including some that were fish themselves) then we headed off to the banquet room. As we were getting settled one of the conference organizers asked me if I were willing to help them out in the entertainment department by singing another sysadmin song -- they said that entertainment had gone unplanned until late and all they had was a dj who didn't seem to be very good.

Oh, well, perhaps I should mention that most nights since I've arrived I've ended up sitting in the hotel bar lounge getting to know folks and, shortly before things broke up, I've sung a sysadmin song or two. I have developed something of a reputation I believe.

Sure I'll sing, I'd be honored. So later in the evening, while they were clearing the main dinner buffer and setting up dessert, they introduced me at the dais and I got up and sang The Dying Cryptographer. The room rang with laughter throughout. I was astonished. Then came applause and shouts for an encore and a wag in front said "Data General!" so I sang I Built a Better Model than the One at Data General which I wrote in 1982. I knew this song had made its way around the Internet back in its early days, but I didn't know that pretty much everybody in the room was familiar with it. This, evidently, made me something of a celebrity. I also sang my backhoe song, a music hall inspired song I wrote a few years ago about the clumsy backhoe operators Charlie and Fred who manage to plow through the network access ring.

As someone said to me this morning, you could feel the love. People have been buying me drinks ever since. On my bus back to the hotel I got asked to sing some more, so I led a few drinking songs but then the geeks took over and sang Monty Python songs the rest of the way.

Have I mentioned that I'm enjoying the conference?
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