in orlando

Hello and welcome from very sunny Orlando, Florida. I’m at the StarEast software testing conference for the week, and this year took along Emma and Toby too. So far we’re having a totally great time – Toby was super-excited about the whole adventure, did great on the plane, and when we got to the hotel was positively vibrating with excitement. Just taking an elevator to your room is apparently cause for celebration, not to mention opening the room door with a Spiderman room key. And apparently our whole floor is “the best floor of all the hotels”. I hardly need to mention that the breakfast buffet contains the greatest food ever consumed.

The conference so far is pretty good – it’s my second year in a row here, and I’m getting a lot out of it. If I even put a tenth of the things I’m learning into practice then the cost of admission has been repaid. It’s a nice balance for me of learning new stuff and also having the things I’m doing be reinforced, and feeling good that a lot of the initiatives I’m running are worthwhile and industry leading.

But! Back to the real business. Yesterday Emma and Toby did a fair bit of trekking around – our hotel is right in the middle of a lot of shops and restaurants, and there’s a trolley bus which is very convenient. They also had some time in the hotel swimming pool, and saw a large number of geckos. Only disappointment was that the cinema up the road wasn’t showing any Toby-appropriate movies, but I think he’ll cope. Today was the first Big Day – they went to Seaworld. All day yesterday Toby had been asking about seeing Shamu the killer whale, and today his dream came true (speaking of dreams, yesterday he was so wiped out that when he went to bed he was reading a book and fell asleep in the middle of saying a word). The park was by all accounts pretty cool, although I think the shows were a bit louder than they expected, and Toby’s plan to sit in the “soak zone” of the Shamu amphitheater wasn’t as fun as he expected, when he got covered in cold seawater (pics to follow). The tickets are valid for two days so they’re probably going to go back on Thursday to see some of the other attractions such as the sealions – always fun.

After I was done with my geeking this afternoon the three of us went for a dip in the hotel pool – after a bit of splashing around in the kid pool we finally persuaded Toby to come into the main pool with us so that he could practice his swimming. After a bit of nervousness he did really well – using his float he ended up doing a lot of swimming by himself and really enjoyed the freedom of being able to decide where he wanted to go. It was so nice to be in the water and the sunshine under palm trees.

Also, for a much better written Florida experience, take a read of the site of one of my favorite writers, James Lileks, who is currently at a Disney park with his family.

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