It's been a few weeks of travel.
Earlier this year I saw a few positive remarks on Twitter about a Lead Developer Conference up in the Northwest somewhere and saw that there was going to be one in Austin at the end of the year. It's only a day, so I arranged to attend.
It's been a while since I spent any time in Austin so my wife and I decided to take some vacation time around the conference and enjoy the city.
The skyline and city itself has grown considerably in the past 5+ or so years since I've been. What amazes me about Austin is the distinct culture it has. As much as it's growing, it still hasn't become the cookie-cutter blocks you find in almost every other city I've been too. You know the pattern; a Walmart shopping center on one block the next one is either a Home Depot, Lowes, or Target shopping center with some combination of craft/beauty/pet store along with it. I'm sure those are in and around Austin, but I didn't see them. Good for Austin!
Highlights in Austin
- Eating dinner at Lambert's. Everything from the drinks to the meal was awesome. Highly recommended if you visit.
- Home Slice Pizza. Having lived in the Northeast one thing we miss in the South is just stopping by a pizza place for a slice.
- When eating our slice, we heard some great music from across the street coming ou of Guero's Oak Garden. It was a Texas Live Radio event featuring Sydney Wright and Walker Lukens, both artists I need to follow up on.
- Catching up with The Real Adam.
- Purely by chance, we saw an ad for the Austin Film School's presentation of the classic anime film Akira with a live score. The score was original, so not the actual film's score, but it was still a lot of fun. The film stands the test of time.
- Being a big fan of the Alamo Drafthouse theaters, I come across Mondo's fantastic artwork all the time. They have a gallery in Austin and it was a must stop, especially as it was featuring their art for the National Parks. My wife ended up picking up this limited edition print.
Last but not least, the conference itself. First off, it's hard to miss the diversity of speakers and topics at this conference. I love that it's a single day. And I love the fact that each presentation was from ten to thirty minutes long. Every one of them felt like the perfect amount of time.
If I had any takeaways, it's that there are bigger companies than us going through the same growth pains and we can all learn from each other.
I spent this past week with a database consultant at Power Home Remodeling's HQ in Philadelphia. We had thoughts of moving out from under MySQL to something like MariaDB or Postgres for our database, but it seems the recommendation is to keep things conservative and stick with upgrading MySQL.
I also had a bit of time to spend with other developers. And the best thing was that I got a replacement for my MacBook Pro which had been rebooting continually. This new one seems great so far.
Saw a few old and new flicks over the past few weeks.
- The Silent Partner is a film from 1978 starring Elliott Gould, Christopher Plummer and Susannah York. It was part of the Alamo Drafthouse's AGFA (American Genre Film Archive) Secret Screenings where they show a surprise genre film from their "collection of rare 35MM prints of obscure, independent, and underground genre films from every decade and all over the world." It was a really good movie I don't recall having seen before.
- The Favourite is a new film set in 18th century England. It looked good from the previews and has some award buzz, but I'm not sure it deserves it other than maybe for cinematography and costume design. More of an art-house film the studio is trying to make you think is more main-stream.
- Akira is a film I've seen a lot. As mentioned above, this one was with a custom score. And while the original score is truly iconic, the film itself I think is even better than I remember it being. A classic for all time.
- Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is okay. This isn't the Disney version. It's a little more dark. I just found my mind drifting away from the film at times.
- The Mule is Clint Eastwood's latest film based on the real-life story about a 90-year-old who ended up transporting drugs for the Mexican drug cartel. Worth a watch but I'd say it's an average film.
Before taking off on the trips I had over the past few weeks, I was able to complete my first game of Arkham Horror Third Edition. One of my characters was blessed, which is a condition which makes winning tests a tad easier to pass tests. That helped me stay ahead of the bad-things going on and win the first scenario. Overall, much more fun than the previous edition, but I'm not sure it's going to overtake my love of Eldritch Horror.
Up next is Shadowrun Crossfire Prime Runner Edition. I've only just today set the game up to start. It's a deck builder, which I like in general. Picked it up because I've heard some good things about it and its cyberpunk theme.