On Saturday, 23rd February 2013, South London, early in the morning, having packed my snowboard and a small Samsonite grey suite case overnight, I got up, trying my best not to disturb my partner. I was on my way to London Heathrow. The morning Sun sternly pushed its sunlight through seeming impenetrable clouds in to average Londoner grey day. A couple of snow flakes magically decided to reveal themselves every cubic metre on the fresh wintry quest for vanity. The United Airlines plane took off time to Newark at 10:15. I could sit and back and relax, so they say.
I have to immediately say that Argo, the movie that Ben Affleck won the Oscar Director for, is great, even though you know the result. I was rooted for the government workers to get out. It told the story from both sides, especially the Iranians were frustrated with their lot, their Shah of Iran, who escaped with billions of gold. In my opinion, Ben Affleck is the next Clint Eastween, if this is the standard of his first directed movie. That was the highpoint of transatlantic voyeur; and a large hint of the frustration to come to me.
I attempted to code and write content a little. I had bean researching how GlassFish Embedded application server v4.0 and WebSockets 356 played together, and following the expert group mailing list. Danny Coward now wanted to renamed the current annotations in the specification JSR 356. WebSockets endpoint were not been injected by the CDI Container present GlassFish, and this was a frustration on the plane. Luckily before I took flight I changed the gradle settings to include
providedCompile 'org.glassfish.main.extras:glassfish-embedded-all:4.0-b77'. This brilliant idea that I had was fantastic, running “gradle idea” sort of worked, but I realised that I missed one other dependency
providedCompile 'javax:javaee-api:7.0-b77'". There was no available Internet on the transatlantic plane. It was time to put the machine away.
View into Montrose
Eventually, I landed at Denver International Airport after 18 hours, where they do have free-WIFI, only to be shocked at the news: The 19:30 flight from DEN to GUC (Gunnison) was canceled. I got on the internet with phone, something about Dianne Marsh and the Weather and delayed and cancelled flights. United Airlines service customer desk at gate B33 did confirm cancelation of the flight, I was stuck in Denver for the overnight. The clerk handed me a pink slip for the airport hotel. My annoyance really almost saw the milk almost boiling over on the stove: no, I just caught it in time, flicked the switch, the British Gas was extinguished and gladly no lactose was burned: this time. The smell, anyway, would have been so awful. The sense of decorum, in myself, returned, sort of. United had given be a confirmation of Monday 25th February at lunchtime as my next guaranteed flight out to Crested Butte. Two nights in a Denver hotel: you got to be bloody joking! Decorum was gone by the time, my neurons interpreted, filtered and assessed this aural data.
Matt Zimmer, the organiser of the house in Crested Butte that I am staying in, and a friend had also suffered the cancelation of the last United flight to Gunnison many hours earlier. Without Internet access, I was none the wiser. Matt decided to get his luggage and travel by road the next day with D.J Hagberg. I elected to re-route my flight to Montrose, 60km further out from Crested Butte and thanks to advice from Dianne Marsh, I was flying out the next morning on Sunday at 08:10AM. I overnighted at the DoubleTree hotel, about 25 minutes by free shuttle from Denver airport. I was exhausted and my head was minced like Baked Beans.
I am standing outside the vacation rental house, 329 Maroon. This photo was taken by Matt Zimmer who organised the rental this year. I thought that let somebody else be responsible for a chance, having being the “housemeister” for 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Eventually, I arrived at Montrose, the next day, having survived the ordeal of wearing the same clothes for a second day. Bum hole! United had not sent my snowboard and trolley case onwards with me. I reported my missing luggage and got on the Alpine Express, so much for the best laid plan. The original intention of arriving on Saturday night, was that I would have a full Sunday to go up to the mountains and enjoy some powder and board to my heart’s content before the Round-Up on Monday. Chagrin, I love the French. They had a wonderful footballer, didn’t they, Zinedine Zidane.
I desperately wanted to be Zidane, World Cup winner 1998, on the Sunday, so skilful on the football, able to hide his true emotions and then engineer a flash of instant magic that regularly produced the killer pass to the Brazilian legendary striker, World Cup Winner 2002, Ronaldo, when they both played regularly and so sumptuously together at Real Madrid. Alas, my modus operandi were not that good, when speaking to customer representatives on Skype. I was first to arrive at the vacation rental house on Sunday, managed to get an Internet connection, got on the blower to United to see about my snowboard. The web site, United Baggage Resolution Centre, yes it is all true, Dear Lord, is a load of bollocks. Sorry! Excuse my French. The status was always Tracing Your Baggage, Please Check Back Later; and I did every four hours. I went around Crested Butte, got a bite, a Hawaiian style Teriyaki Chicken, to eat at the Last Steep, which is quite decent. I supposedly reasoned that it was good to have finally made it back here again in Crested Butte for my fourth Round-Up event. I, then, withdrew a bundle of US Dollars for spending money. It could have been a blast. It wasn’t to be. I was safe. Instead, I did some coding more on Java Web Sockets, I found out about the techniques for responsive CSS web design and yes that Gradle Dependency was the cause of the CDI injection failure. I solved it. Tyrus 1.0-build11 is the version of the reference implementation inside GlassFish 4.0 server build 77. Great though that was, a change of fresh warm clothes would have been the clincher.
Matt Zimmer arrived in the evening at the vacation rental house in Maroon. Immediately, we went off to Bruce Eckel’s house later in the evening, as D.J. Hagberg also made it to Crested Butte from Denver through the mountain passes. Being a local Coloradian, D.J said that the four hour trip on a regular day took them seven hours, the weather was turbulent high up on 11,000 feet or so. Experience obviously counts: he is a very safe driver. You’d trust him with your life.
Crested Butte, Main street, on Sunday afternoon
The mini-progressive dinner at Bruce’s place where everyone contributed a little bit of this, a little bit that, steak; pork chops; a six pack beer, which I did along with my brother-in-spirt-man, Chris Phleps ; a couple of bottle of wine went along way to taking my mind off the baggage ordeal. It was good to meet and greet and see the Round-Up folks from 2011, when I was last here in Crested Butte. Fred Simon, Diane Marsh, Chris Marks and several other regulars were here ahead of time. Also Hans Dockter of Gradleware and Gradle was present at Bruce.
Monday morning started in a despondent fashion with a fifth call over Skype to the UBRC , the status of the website was the same Still Tracing. I learnt by now to try a different tact on this; my partner often suggested this alternative manoeuvre when communicating with customer representatives anywhere in the world, she says: Tell them, only, what you want. I asked for my snowboard and my case to be put on the next available plane to Montrose and I also asked them for the exact location of where the luggage currently was located as the website was useless at revealing this data. I should say, that all calls, go out to India. I am not surprised by outsourcing suffice to say you can figure out yourself the rest of my reaction to this situation. The fifth customer rep said they do all they could, they will send a message to emergency expedite the bags.
Matt Zimmer (L) and James Ward (R) discussing Scala Play Framework during the Free Day on Monday. The workshop took place at the “Posse’s old” rental house.
So my Monday, started at Posse house with Matt Zimmer learning a Scala Play framework with James Ward leading us through an introduction and blocking and non-blocking actions. I thought James did a good job. Monday is a free day for the Round-Up; we could learn Big Data if we wanted to, instead we study a topic that interests us collectively. For me and a few others, an introduction to Play Framework was a good topic. We learnt about a tool call Apache Bench and found that on Mac Book Pro at least, Mac OS X, Play does scale nicely to 1000’s of web request on the same machine. James attempted to reconfigure the Execution Context, of the Play’s underlying fork join framework, which is derived from Professor Doug Lea’s incantations or close enough, as all road lead to his Rome, his knowledge of Java Threads and Concurrency is primus uno. We concluded there must be an issue with the number of collected input and output resources at an operating system level. Matt was a little unimpressed with this as he decidedly had commercial Scala and Play project on the line. Marek Radonsky thought the issue could be a configuration failure with the Netty server library, which Play Framework relies on for asynchronous input and output. Still, Play, for me represents a little bit of dichotomy in comparison with the Java EE world.
Wearing the same clothes for the third day did its best to sally my enthusiasm for the Round-Up. I was beginning to lose the will to live by the afternoon, I refused an offer to go snow shoeing around the town of Crested Butte. I hope I didn’t come off with being like a damp squib to the other Round-Up people. The prospect of extensive physical sweat in the only clothes I had on my back knocked the desire out of me, clearly. By this time, Andrew Harmel-Law arrived and I followed him on tour of the vacation rentals, the Posse House, then Bruce Eckel’s house.
A bunch of us headed to Secret Stash, my mood was somber, I did my best to put on a Lady Gaga appearance emotionally, but my version of Poker Face didn’t hold up so well and my tell came to life and revealed itself when the restaurant and the cooks were 15-20 minute late with my pizza whilst everyone else at the table was tucking into pork infested pizzas. I was hungry, frustrated with United Airlines, and everything else. Eventually the BBQ Chicken arrived; it was just okay. I cracked a few jokes, and war stories here and there. I fist pumped with Chris Phleps about respectively terribles ordeals in the IT industry. We both needed to get the funk out of our collective systems. We both moved on to something better, it was good to give each other that support.
Monday night dinner at the Last Steep restaurant. From left to right: Guy, Dimitry, Chris Marks, Chris Phelp, Andrew Harmel-Law, Todd Costella, and Me.
My fight with United continued for seven time after 8pm on Monday. Finally, a breakthrough, my baggage had been located in Denver and they were sending it through to Gunnison, unfortunately the Indian UBRC representative could not tell me either when exactly and how it get to Crested Butte. I went for a short nap, read a few emails and tweets from London UK. Not much going on, Ben Affleck was now a super star actor and director and so was the actors Anne Hathaway with Daniel Day-Lewis making Oscar history. Some cheer at the achievements of others. I ruminated a little about the remaining schedule for my book. Life could be worse. I was fortunate to make it Crested Butte at all.
I dragged my flesh and bones over to the Ted talks taking at the local Matinée theathre in Crested Butte. I was half interested in the Ted talks by 10pm; too much was going in the grey cells. I was, indeed, not looking forward to a fourth day of wearing the same clothes, then, a Dame in shining armour reared her head. I got a message via Matt Zimmer after the Ted talks: Tracy Quinn the wife of Java Posse member, Carl Quinn, Netflix, said she had got my snowboard at Gunnison Airport. The Java Posse team was also a day late getting to Crested Butte, they finally flew in on the evening flight.
Thanks to them, now I have my snowboard and trolley bag for this next morning. I am eternally grateful for their support and bringing my stuff over as well as other people who also had delay baggage to Crested Butte. We can go as we mean to. I have to rush off now to the Tuesday round-up the first proper morning of the Round-Up, wish me luck.