Time for lots of people to meet Michelle…

Today was the first day of AusCERT 2008, and as usual brought plenty of surprises for many.

The conference welcome drinks started at 6pm, I arrived fashionably late (as usual) and there began the surprises, both for me and for others. It was nice that Claire had advised the conference organisers that I would be attending as both Matthew and Michelle, so when I arrived I got two name badges. This also meant that meeting Michelle was surprising but not shocking for those who I had not had time to warn and inform.

The nature/profession of some of the AusCERT conference attendees has left the photos of me and the event in a protected place, so I won’t talk about the conference much. I will say though that a few of my colleagues were attending as well as a couple of customers that I deal with directly.

Unfortunately I was not able to warn some and as such poor Jeff got the fright of his life as he was completely unprepared. I’m glad to report though that he got over the initial shock quickly and we spent some time talking, not about me, but about work as if there was nothing unusual about the circumstances. That is true professionalism if ever I saw it.

The other unfortunate occurrence was bumping into Trevor, who was pleased, surprised and completely supportive. I didn’t think to pull him to one side and ask that he didn’t say anything back at the office, hindsight suggests I should have.

The evening was eventful, in surprised looks and comments, but otherwise pleasant and quiet, at least until late.

First thing to go wrong was the realisation I had left my mobile phone in the golf cart during the afternoon. I went to the hotel reception, as Michelle, and asked if a phone had been found. The receptionist dealing then talked loudly to a colleague referring to “him”, “his phone” and finally finished it off by referring to “Mr Sullivan”. I found this very upsetting as I was clearly Michelle for the evening and whilst I might not be a convincing woman yet, I was clearly dressed as one, and had a name badge indicating I was “Michelle”.

The second problem was after I went to the bar to join some of the other delegates, I sat chatting and drinking. The one accidental slip by a delegate and a bottle of beer got spilled down me.  This event in itself did not upset me as it was accidental and I was happy in myself, the upsetting part was the result which occurred on another day.