Oct 4th: Blab de Blab Koala

Today was a work day. I woke up at about 4:30 am thinking about the talks I had to give today. Susanne slept until about 5:30 am. We got up and I pulled out the computer and worked on my talks. Why I feel the need to rework a talk that I have given 60 or 70 times I do not know, but I did.  Simple things like changing Gerry to Bruce. Gotta be culturally aware mate.

At 6 I walked over to the coffee stand to get two triple lattes. The dudes are super friendly and remembered me. We chatted. He made coffee and I though, dang, why can’t Americans be nicer.

We drank our coffees and I finished up what I needed to for the day. I still have Friday’s talk which is stressing me out, but I didn’t have the energy for it this morning. I showered, gussied up and went down for my breakfast. I forgot my key. Susanne had to bring it down for me. Doh. I headed over to the convention center at 8 to check out the room and the AV situation. I speak so much now, I have gotten a routine down around the room set up and the AV. Everything looked basically in order. I loaded my presentation and made sure everything worked.  Check.

A few people showed up and we chatted. I milled about and waited for my time. It was a super packed room and the talk went well. I had some good questions, but at 10 I had to run across the street to the Australian Broadcasting building to be on a radio show about pets. I was a bit late and the show had started already, but they snuck me in at a break. It was kind of fun. There were four of us on the show, 3 in the studio and 1 calling in. The control room was pretty cool and watching the host run the whole thing was impressive. It was a mix of interview and call in. Maybe this will launch my star career in Aussie.

Mark Townend picked me up after the show and we drove out for a tour of the RSPCA facility. It is an impressively big facility and is very different than a lot of US facilities. The big difference is that Mark is a business guy and runs it like a business. There is a massive retail store, restaurant, thrift shop and more things than I can remember. They handle about 50,000 animals a year, both companion and wildlife.

He gave me a really hard time about going to the Lone Pine Sanctuary and kept telling me that he would show me real Koalas. We finally got to the wildlife rehab area and he wasn’t kidding. Lots-o-koalas. This is the busy time for koalas ending up there because it is breeding season and they are on the move which means they get hit by cars and attacked by dogs. There were some babies and adults. The head wildlife guy pulled one out and let me pet it. They have amazingly soft fur. And their claws are super sharp. I guess the males can be quite aggressive and can cut you up with daggers. It was pretty cool. I found out later that you are really not supposed to pet the koalas. I guess it was a more special moment than I realized.

Susanne was headed to Cairns today to meet up with Jason and Cynthia. She texted me and told me the airline was super obnoxious about the 7 kg weight allowance. Ugh. So I told Mark I needed to find a camera store to buy a hard case for my gear. No way am I letting them check $3500 of gear in a softside. His assistant found a store and we headed out. We got close and the road turned one way. Mark decided go through anyway as it was only a few yards. Well, he picked a bad time as there were two cops standing right there coming out of the coffee shop. They looked at him in utter disbelief. He made a lame excuse about following google. They rolled their eyes and let him park. I thought he was getting a ticket for sure.

I walked to the store and got a case. $400 later. Ouch. At least it was Aussie Dollars.

I went back to the convention center and prepped for my next talk. I had only 30 minutes to give a 90 minute talk. One time my colleague Sima told me that it was a travesty to cut anything out of the talk. I had to cut 60 minutes. It’s a fun talk to give, but I wasn’t even close to finishing when I got the 4 minute warning. Ugh. I rushed to get the key points in and finished up. I think it went well.

Now I am sitting have dinner and a glass of wine. I still have tomorrow’s talk to work on and I have to get up at 3:15 am to call into a board meeting. Sigh.

Susanne, Jason and Cynthia checked in to the house in Cairns and indicated that it is AMAZING. What I hate to tell everyone is that evidently it has a Nespresso machine with pods. Well, doesn’t that make me feel like a dork.

Can’t wait to see it tomorrow.

 

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