November 1st, 2004


Eclipse BOF

Wednesday night at the conference, Simon Roberts had scheduled an "Eclipse BOF (Non-Java)". Basically he was suggesting that a bunch of us drive up to Loveland Pass and watch the eclipse from the mountain. It sounded cool -- in fact, downright cold. It was frigid and windy up there during the sunshine, I can just imagine how cold it would be at night! So I recommended that people "wear everything you brought."

I bundled up, but when we left the Q&A session at 7:30ish and looked at the sky, all we saw were clouds. There was some fuzzy white light where the moon hid, but we could see no shape at all. Watching the eclipse would essentially consist of: "Oh look it's getting darker. There is less white fuzzy light than before. Now it's getting lighter again. Yay." So a bunch of us skipped the Eclipse BOF (which I am pretty sure was canceled anyway) and took a shuttle to a restaurant called The Goat instead.

After a meal and and several shots, we went outside. There were only 4 of us left by this time, and I suddenly decided that we needed our picture taken with the restaurant's goat (a life-sized fuzzy replica adorning the corner). So I shooed the guys back inside, and our bartender took a couple photos.

Then we went outside again, and I glanced into the sky. "Look, the eclipse!" The clouds had finally gone away, and we could see the earth's shadow slowly leaving the final 25% of the moon. The parking lot was empty, and it was as though we were the only ones left in the world. J and C went to go call for a shuttle, and I told P: "We should lie on our backs and watch it."

So I lay down right by the curb, and looked at the sky. My view was mostly blocked by a tree planted near the curb. "This isn't as cool as I'd hoped," I told him.

He scooted out to the middle of the parking lot saying, "There's a better view out here." I joined him and we lay on our backs admiring the moon. "I wonder if this is where the shuttle parks," he mused. We watched peacefully for a few minutes longer.

Then I heard an engine and saw headlights. "Get up, get up, the shuttle's coming! Run for it!" We both sprang up and ran to the side of the road (with plenty of time to spare), giggling like school-children. It was a silly-fun night...but I'm glad I got to see part of the eclipse at least.

(A BOF is a "Birds of a Feather" session. Often held at technical conferences, it is generally an informal round-table type discussion on a topic of mutual interest, held after-hours.)