Although little Joelene is expected to arrive in about 10 days (which means that she could show up today if she really felt like it), I toyed with fate and flew down to Long Beach last weekend to attend the BIL conference, which is (in some sense) the open-source equivalent of the TED conference. It's organized (to the extent it's organized) by some of my beautiful and amazing friends, which means it's also an opportunity to visit with them. And, of course, it's a great chance to meet new beautiful and amazing friends, which I did, although none of them live in Seattle, which means most likely I won't see them again until BIL 2012, at which point I'll have a little Joelene with me.
BIL is a wonderful experience on its own merits, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't especially appreciate the myriad times people told me how excited they were that someone like me was reproducing. Closer to home, people are certainly excited for me, although there's in addition an unspoken sense that being my kid would be somehow akin to being raised in a haunted house, or a museum of oddities, or possibly a laserium. BIL is full of people who (for lack of a better description) legitimately wish that they had been raised in a laserium (or perhaps even were raised in laseria).
Once you have a kid (or are close to having a kid), people start to ask you all sorts of questions about how you're raising and educating (or planning to raise and educate) said kid. Fortunately, education is something I spend quite a bit of time reading about, thinking about, and delivering heretical soapbox speeches about.
As a result, when I wasn't talking about "How to Be Funny" or rinsing out fruit juice jugs or hijacking charity auctions^*^, I was pontificating on education. As I told the same stories over and over, boring more and more people, I started to realize that I should write my ideas into blog posts. I suspect there will be about seven parts, but I may add or subtract one or two. It's possible I'll even get them all written before Joelene shows up.
In the meantime, you can watch a delightful video of the BIL experience, if you are so inclined. Part 2 (working title: "The Time Suck") coming soon.
* The BIL ethos is "if you see something that needs to be done, do it." The auctioneer (who is a dear friend of mine) was not living up to my expectations of how lively and aggressive and barker-y a charity auctioneer should be, so I barged on stage, asked him for the microphone, channeled my inner Fred Northup, and squeezed an extra couple of hundred dollars out of the audience. Many people, I'm told, assumed this was part of the plan all along.