Freelancing Gods 2015

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13 Mar 2015

Turtles all the way down

I woke up this morning to five messages on my phone. I’d not had a chance to look at Twitter or my email, but the messages quickly filled me in on the news: Sir Terry Pratchett had passed away.

Those five people spoke to the depth of the impact of Terry’s works on my life. Two were from my brother and my dad, who I’d introduced to the Discworld series. One was from a good friend Katie, who I’d met through an online Discworld community. And two were from high school friends, Rachael and Mark – people I’ve known for more than 15 years.

It was Mark who introduced me to Terry’s Discworld novels – and I was immediately hooked. In high school I would read whenever I had a spare moment – on the train to school, between classes, late into the night – and Terry’s humour and wisdom connected with me straight away. Any time I was asked whether there was a book I wanted, I’d write out a list of the older Discworld books I didn’t own, or the latest release. Terry would tour Australia every year or two to promote these books, and I was always in line at Minotaur (with so many other fans) to get my copies signed.

As high school wrapped up, I came across an online community called Addicted to Discworld, and quickly made friends with many of the regulars. Our regular community chats were scheduled for Sunday evenings – and I would do my best to be there every week. Some of those friends – including Katie, mentioned above, and Susanne, I still catch up with regularly.

My first overseas trip was with another friend, Adrian, over to the UK for the Discworld Convention in 2002. Even while I enjoyed it, I was overwhelmed by the size and even the fanaticism of the event. Adrian, however, made sure he got Terry to wish me a happy birthday.

Nullus Anxietas

And then back in Australia, someone suggested that there should be a local convention. I embraced the idea with something approaching stupidity – I’d never run an event before, let alone something this big – but I decided to make it real, and call it Nullus Anxietas. Over the course of three years, I and other fans worked hard to put everything in place – and we even convinced Terry to visit.

I remember the feeling, on the first day of the conference, when after running around madly I took a moment to breathe – and it sunk in that everyone was actually showing up. Terry had arrived, along with 300 fans from all around Australia and the world. Holy shit. It was real!

Unknown to the rest of the committee, I’d spoken to Daniel Knight and Snowgum Films about having a short video clip of someone dressed up as the character Rincewind running around the tourist sites of Melbourne. Daniel took that idea, ran with it (almost as fast as Rincewind), and created one of my most favourite moments ever. Terry (judging by his laughter at the end of this clip below) loved it too. I’m so proud of this, even though I have no right to be: Daniel and his team did all the work.

Run Rincewind Run! from Snowgum Films on Vimeo.

My bookshelf still has many of Terry’s books on its shelves – and there’d be more, but I’ve lent many out over the years and can’t remember who I gave them to. The humour still rings true, and the social commentary – especially in the later books – resonates even more.

In some ways, the fact that Alzheimer’s took Terry from us too soon adds to the heartbreak. But we still have such a fantastic catalogue of stories that he’s written, and I’ve gained so many great friends and memories as well.

The rest of the convention was a success, by the way – and it has been happening every second year since! I stepped out of the organising team in the lead up to the second one, but number five is happening in Sydney next month, and I’ll be there to catch up with old friends, make new friends, run games of Werewolf, and celebrate Terry and his creativity and wit.

Right now, though, I’m going to re-read Night Watch. Terry, thank you.

29 Dec 2008

Nullus Anxietas 2 Approaching

Yes, I know it’s been quiet here – there’s several decent blog posts on the way though. I just wanted to post a quick reminder for any Discworld fans in or near Australia that Nullus Anxietas 2 is happening at the end of February, and will be awesome fun. There’s also a discount of $15 off attendee prices (a Hogswatch special) if you get in before the end of the year (going by AEDT/Melbourne time, of course).

The above little clip was done by the fantastically talented Snowgum Films (also responsible for Run Rincewind Run).

07 Jul 2008

Nullus Anxietas 2

A quick post for any Discworld fans that may peruse this blog.

Nullus Anxietas 2, the second Australian Discworld Convention, will be happening from the 27th of February to 1st of March 2009, in Melbourne, Australia. The first (in February 2007) was a fantastic success, which is why we’re doing it again.

While Terry Pratchett sadly can’t make it over this time around – he’s cutting down on travel because of his Alzheimer’s – we’ve still got some exciting events happening (including the follow-up to Snowgum FilmsRun Rincewind Run – watch it if you haven’t already).

Details are a bit thin on the ground at the moment, as we work on fleshing out programme ideas, but if you’d like to come along, registering in the next few days scores you $15 off the already-low early-bird rate of $120 ($100 for concession holders).

If this sounds like your kind of thing, but you’re not close to Australia and can’t justify the journey, you may want to check out the UK version – which has been going for over a decade now (although this year’s is already sold out), and the upcoming American edition.

01 Jan 2008

2007

Sinfest comic for New Year's Day

I don’t want to bore you all with an extensive recap of 2007, so I’ll keep this footnote of the last year’s highlights relatively brief.

Nullus Anxietas

After a few years planning, we produced the first Australian (and non-UK) Discworld Convention in February – and it was a smashing success. A few hundred attendees, dozens of sessions, a load of fun. We even made a small profit (which is rare for fan conventions) – and we proved the doubters wrong.

Rails and Freelancing

I began the year by switching jobs and finally getting paid to work with Ruby on Rails. Halfway through the year, I started freelancing. I’m really enjoying working from home, on my Mac, using tools and a programming language I enjoy. After far too long wrangling with ASP and ASP.NET, coding is fun again.

RailsCamps

As part of working with Rails, I’ve become involved in the local Ruby communities here in Australia. Through this, there’s been two awesome RailsCamps (and massive props to Ben Askins for leading the way with the first, and helping so generously with the second), and I’ve met a bunch of smart, friendly folk. Networking has become socialising.

Change

The last of my siblings has finished their secondary schooling. My sister’s moving to another state. I’m posting regularly to this blog. Howard’s out – and not much longer to put up with Bush. Climate change is being taken seriously by many governments. There will be a proper apology to the indigenous people of Australia.

What’s next?

For me, 2008 is looking to be a year of travel – to New Zealand for a holiday in a few weeks, and then to Portland for RailsConf, UK and Cambodia to visit friends (and in the case of the former, check out the Edinburgh Fringe Festival), and stops to New York and Istanbul will likely feature in there as well.

Freelancing will continue to be challenging as my first big contract ends and I look for new ones, and there’s already plans for more RailsCamps and a second Discworld Convention. I’m looking forward to all of it.

Endless thanks to my family, friends and peers for their support over the past twelve months – you’re all brilliant.

28 Nov 2007

Link: mikons.com | About mikons.com

Stickers that could be used at the next discworld con for peoples' badges

30 Dec 2006

Link: Inspiro

06 Nov 2004

Link: Mystery lord of the Discworld

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About Freelancing Gods

Freelancing Gods is written by , who works on the web as a web developer in Melbourne, Australia, specialising in Ruby on Rails.

In case you're wondering what the likely content here will be about (besides code), keep in mind that Pat is passionate about the internet, music, politics, comedy, bringing people together, and making a difference. And pancakes.

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