I am a horrible procrastinator. This post has seriously been sitting in various unfinished forms in TextMate on my computer, and this is the first time I’ve gotten around to posting this. Between programing, and a week of hot weather without air conditioning that literally fried my brain, I’m finally working on catching up with everything. (Actually, I have a lot to catch up on, but let’s do it one at a time).
So, what is now two-ish weeks ago, I spent my weekend without internet at the Maine MountainView House in Bryant Pond, Maine at a little thing called RailsCamp. RailsCamp is a very informal weekend getaway for Ruby on Rails enthusiasts (and newbies too) to get together, hack, play video games, and talk about various projects regarding Ruby on Rails. What made this particular RailsCamp special, was that it was the first RailsCamp to be hosted within the US.
Huzzuh for us.
In all honestly, my memory of the ride over is hazy at best – mostly because I’m one of those people who tend to pass out soon after getting into a moving vehicle. More often than not I wake up with a creak in my neck from doing the Sleeping Head Bobble and hoping that I don’t drool all over myself. After a few misadventures (and accidently crashing a family reunion rather than RailsCamp) we made it to the Maine MountainView House.
After getting settled in, we all pretty much camped out in the dining room and living room – every available surface taken up by laptops. We had a local version of Twetter loaded up, and that soon became the source of camp gossip over the weekend, such topics including the rumored source of internet near a rock wall, and the possibility of playing laser tag in the nearby town (which unfortunately did not happen, since it turned out the laser tag place went out of business several months before) For those of you who don’t know, Twetter is basically a locally run version of Twitter that you can use at places like RailsCamp, where we’re supposedly off the internet grid. Let it not be mistaken with real Twitter – there are a lot of Twitter features that don’t work on Twetter,
but it’s a good enough for a local connection. There was some Ruby on Rails programing, showing off of code, and me deciding that I hadn’t worked on GSoC enough due to the big drawing fest of the previous week, and thus giving into the guilt by taking my laptop off into the corner and hacking a bit on the Word Configuration program. Dinner was pizza from Pat’s Piazza, and so we feasted.
At 10:41 pm on Friday night, Rock Band was brought out, and promptly failed less than a minute into Eye of the Tiger. Naturally this was attributed to technical difficulties, which lead to several minutes of replacing the tv that came with the place with a widescreen Dell monitor. Then it was decided the monitor was too small, which lead to me grabbing a white sheet I brought up for the air mattress that was never used as a screen for the projector.
It was an honor to know that I helped contribute to the process. Naturally, my involvement in the process ended shortly after that to just being a spectator, and the guys eventually were able to get the sheet up on the wall using a bunch of tacks.
Ground rules were established shortly after that (no smoking in the house, don’t do anything stupid, etc), and then a group of 12 of us played Werewolf (basically the game Mafia only with cards) while another group worked on a Ruby on Rails debugger tool that tells you was MySQL calls your program is about to make before it makes it. I ended up going to sleep around 2am.
Saturday and Sunday were pretty much the same in my mind, and I honestly have very little notes of what happened in those two days. A bunch of us thought it would be fun to create Dope Wars for Twitter, so we spend a large part of the early afternoon of
Saturday discussing ideas. We ended up switching Twetter from Pat’s laptop to a local gemcutter server, and lots of people took turns giving talks about various Ruby on Rails projects and programing practices.
On Sunday some of us went down to the lake to go swimming and canoeing. It was nice getting some fresh air, and I was quite excited to note that I didn’t sunburn (quite often I turn into the Great Lobster Skin Girl).
Nights were spent around a campfire near the waterfront, where we cooked s’mores, played more Werewolf, and around 11 would head back to the house were all programing productivity was lost in favor of Munchkin, Rock Band (I sang), and a massive LAN party playing Urban Terror (to which I can officially say, I hate playing FPS on a laptop without a mouse . . . not fun)
Monday morning was spent cleaning up, packing up, and finally heading back home and back to the world of the internet. I have to say that I enjoyed the weekend a lot, learned a lot more about Ruby on Rails that I didn’t know before, and met a lot of interesting people. Rumor has it that there might be another RailsCamp this winter, which would be totally awesome if I could snag another ticket to go to that too.
Oh, and thanks James Daniels for the pictures – since I didn’t actually have my camera on me.