Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hanging Around in Monterey Part II

I have become quite a fan of Fisherman's Wharf, I think it is something to do with the smell, I do feel really at home there. SO I decided to have a few photos taken to remind me.

As you can see the weather was just beautiful and I had to be careful not to get too much sun, although being from Vietnam I do have some genetic protection.

Debra then decided to walk back the hotel along the beach and was surprised to see that the Monterey Police are still trying to track down the car responsible for my accident last weekend.

Quite a few rules in Monterey but nothing that stops me the world famous ACE Vest from hanging out, doing whatever I want, when I want with friends. Goodbye ODTUG till next year and hope to catch up with a lot of you at Open World.

Hanging Around in Monterey Part I

Once everyone, or almost everyone had left ODTUG I stayed on for a few days to enjoy the sunshine. The first visit was with some Aussie ACE Directors, Chris Muir - 2009 Oracle ACE of the Year, Richard Foote and Marcel Kratochvil (of Foreign Key Fame)on a whale watching boat. We did see humped back whales, but the most memorable thing will be the marine biologist with the worst high pitched laugh ever!

I also discovered that Hump Backed Whales smell disgusting but I can't pass comment on that as I have my own personal hygiene issues.

Then the next day I went for a ride on the Monterey Trolley Bus and the tradition of hanging me was repeated. I don't find I now it is done out of love but not every other passenger understood. The ride was quite enjoyable up from Fisherman's Wharf down to the Aquarium (where I visited last week)in Cannery Row and then back again.

Back at the wharf Debra decided to take her third boat trip of the week, the dive boat, the whale boat and now a glass bottomed boat. It was good I got to see some of the seals, sea lions and sea otters close up, but I think I like the Pelicans best.

There is nothing better than the open sea as long as you haven't eaten, I am proud to say I have never been sea sick, although I have been witnessed others, from both sea sickness and simple drunkenness. But after my near disaster in the swimming pool I will not pass comment.

On return to the wharf I looked out over the marina and thought 'Life does not get better than this. I am a very happy Vest.

Stanley Owes His Life to Debra

ODTUG was over and it was finally time to relax, Mike Riley had the President's house with its own pool, so it was time to have a few beers and just chill out with a few people who had yet to go home.

The weather was excellent, it had been a little chilly in the mornings during the conference but it was amazing that afternoon and with a little help from the beer I simply had to have a little nap in the sun.

But I was silly, beer and sun don't mix and very soon I had slid into the pool, and in my drunken daze I could not swim, I was going to drown, me the Great Stanley was going to be yet another casualty to bad living.

But I had nothing to fear, Debra rushed into the pool, caught the life ring from David Peake (Product Manager APEX) and used all her lifesaving skills to rescue me. I didn't even know Debra could swim but it turns out her daughter is a lifeguard and all those hours spent at the pool paid off.

Thankyou Debra and sorry about the glasses, I feel so sorry now.

Everyone Wants to be Seen With Stanley

The more famous I get, the more people want to be seen with me.

So here are a few of the lucky people who have had the opportunity.

First is Larissa Stamey from YCC the people behind ODTUG Kaleidoscope.

Next we have a man who needs no introduction, but just in case you are not an Oracle person this is Steven Feuerstein from Quest Software and also an ACE Director.

And here we have the barman from the President's house at ODTUG Monterey. A fantastic house with 4 bedrooms, its own pool and even its own barman.

At the ODTUG big party they had a comedian Don Friesen and he opened the show with Stanley. It took a while for people to relax they were worried Stanley was going to be hurt, but once they realised it was just simple ridicule,it was fun.

Stanley Gets His Revenge

I know the original intention was to make me an object to be punished, and do not be mistaken I have, just read the earlier entries in this blog to see some of the things that have been done to me in the name of fun. But sometimes it gets too much and I just want to get my own back. The problem is I am not that fast, I don't often get the opportunity to get my revenge.
However I have one thing in my favour, Debra isn't that quick either! And at ODTUG Monterey she presented me with an opportunity so good I could not resist, could I?

Debra is short sighted and can often be seen with her glasses on her head, but the hats that were provided for ODTUG Ambassadors would not fit with the glasses perched underneath, so she had taken to putting them in her back pocket.

On the Tuesday at ODTUG Debra took a visit to the restrooms and didn't notice the fact that her glasses slipped out of her pocket and into the pan. I did but then took the opportunity to distract her by throwing myself off the coat hook onto the floor. As she reached forward to pick me up she did not turn around immediately and then pushed the handle at the same time she spotted what she initially thought were 'chop stics' in the pan, but not quick enough to stop them flushing away. It didn't take too long for her to realise they were her glasses, I had my revenge. Hee Hee!

SO the next day, Debra Had to get Jesse (shown here with me) to rush her off to an opticians for an emergency pair and then back again later to collect them. Thanks Jesse.

New glasses are a much better suggestion than Mike Riley had, he suggested getting the hotel to see if they had been caught in a filter somewhere. NO THANKS I think Debra prefers the new glasses.

The Big Reunion

Sorry it has taken so long to post this blog, but as my fame spreads I have less time to write.

The big thing for me in Monterey was my sibling reunion, I had no idea how many would make the trip and I was really pleased that the final figure was eight. It was wonderful to see so many and lots of ACEs have promised they will bring theirs to the next event at OOW.

Debra could soon get the sack, or at least her camera could, it is great for video as you can see later in the log but photos that need flash really reflect her drinking habits. So if you have photos of the OTN team wearing Stanley let her know. Her you can see Victoria and Justin and in the video Lilian is wearing Stanley

Best of all was the Eddie Awad choregraphied dance

I wonder if Mogens regrets his murder of the original Red Vest?

Monday, June 22, 2009

From Hated to Iconic

The reason I have been an item of ridicule is well documented in this blog, when first given out most recipients of the Red Vests threw us in the cupboard and we expected never to see light again.

But I am the 'Susan Boyle' of the ACE Program, when I came out on stage no one expected me to be able to sing (and I can't but this is just an analagy), but I have suceeded, and again like Susan I can count the president amongst my many fans.

So when Debra suggested a sibling reunion, some people thought it was just a joke and never brought theirs with them, some searched high and low but cannot find them and others gleefully brushed of the cobwebs and brought their Vests to Monterey.

Whilst the official reunion is not till Tuesday - why waste an opportunity? seems to be the motto and last night there were 6 vests on display. Thanks to Eddie Awad for the video (and choreography).

I am now really famous worldwide but actually the little girl wearing me so nicely is the most famous person in Monterey this weekend, and I must apologise for the slightly blurred edge to the picture, but Debra had been drinking a lot by this time and it looked OK to her when she took the photo.

So what have we learnt - don't judge people by their appearance, and someone in OTN knew what they were doing afterall.

Just 'Hanging Around'

Back from the dive, I needed a drink, so it was a quick visit to the bar and then back to Debra's room. Yes I have said goodbye to Dan for a while and gone back to Debra, Dan now works for Oracle and had to go to Redwood Shores. Thanks Dan for looking after me although I think really the person to thank is Mrs Norris. (PLease dont forget to tell everyone about that wonderful birthday party I went to).

The best drink is a pint so that is what I had, and I also made a new friend in the bar. Problem then, was still damp from the dive, I really needed to dry out. So whilst Debra went off to the ODTUG keynote presentation, I got to 'hang out' in the sun.

'Drying Out'

Did I tell you how much I enjoyed the dive? It was great, the only problem is I got wet, sounds obvious but ever since the Dead Sea incident Debra gets a bit concerned about me getting dry.

As you can see when I got back in the boat I was dripping wet and the problem then is how do you dry Stanley? It would have been good, said Debra to repeat the steamroller incident, but there is never a steamroller around when you need one!

As Debra and Dan went off to think about it, I was grabbed, man handled and then squeeze to my very last breath. Look closely at the ground and see how much I bled....water.

We need to know who was responsible for this so the photo you see here has been sent to CSI Monterey to identify the owner of the vehicle and we are told this is there most important and high profile case ever! To see the tire pattern clearly open up the picture.

Stanley Goes Diving at LAST!!

I was woken very early, Dan told me to be quiet so as not to wake Cary (as a gentleman I will not explain the sleeping arrangements, this is CA afterall). I thought this was an unnecessary request, because 1, I am very quiet and 2, Cary had gone to sleep with the TV on. Dan tried to turn the TV off but apparently it must be done with the remote and he couldn't find it, or at least that is what he told me when I caught him with his hands under the duvet.

Anyway enough about Dan and his peculiar habits, this is about ME and my trip diving.
Debra came along to make sure it was really happening along with other friends of Dan who wanted to dive.

The boat was beautiful which is more than can be said for the conditions, it was very choppy and not ideal, and visibility was quite poor, but I did dive, twice and it was wonderful. The water was very choppy and you can see Debra didn't look too well but she managed only to 'feed the fish' once.

The driving was brilliant and I got to touch star fish and see so many wonderful things. Dan is my best friend and I will not say a bad thing against him, ever again. He is the ACE Director of Diving.

I even made a friend below water and brought it back up to the boat, as you can see in my picture. I love diving and will be going again one day I hope.

A chance to be a tourist

Dan and Debra have made up, she has forgiven him for not taking me to Iceland, so I am happy, I don't like being the reason for people 'falling out', (Do you use that term in America? Debra told Mogens they had 'fallen out' and he didn't understand, so either it is a very English term or Mogen's is not very well educated!).

Anyway, back to ODTUG. After the Community Service Day, Dan promised me a surprise, and he took me, along with Debra and Lisa Riley, The First Lady of ODTUG (she is married to Mike, their President) to the Monterey Aquarium.
I was so pleased, and Dan told me he would show me the kind of fish I would finally get to see when he takes me diving just the next day (I am excited, but have told myself to wait, just incase it doesn't go to plan, AGAIN).

The Aquarium was great, I loved the seahorses and the jellyfish best, it was a fantastic afternoon, and as we walked back to the car I had one more 'fishy treat' from Dan, I got to meet Bumba Gump!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Community Service

I am not sure about America, but in the UK Community Service is what you are sentenced to as an alternative to prison time, so when Dan told me that after just 3 hours sleep in Monterey we were on Community Service I was quite concerned. What had I done? Dan I could understand, Debra had mentioned many punishments she had in store for Dan for forgetting to take me to Iceland (have I told you about that?), but as far as I knew I was innocent.
It turns out Community service is what ODTUG does every year before its conference, a day where delegates come together and do their bit whilst having the best time. We met up at 8am and I got to see Debra again, she was so happy. (Don't tell anyone but she is a lonely old girl and having me around is the only friend she has, so if you see us out together, just humour her).

Then off on the buses to the sand dunes, to pull out weeds. You are probably thinking how can an 'armless guy like me e of any use? Well I can, I can carry many weeds as you can see. In the final picture is one of the Directors of the Big Sur Land Trust who we were helping out.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Father's Day Weekend

If I knew who my father was, I would spend it with him, but I don't. I have told you before I was born in Vietnam and immediately I was taken away along with my siblings, I never knew my parents, but that makes the bond between us siblings all the greater.

SO this weekend is very special for me, I have a reunion with my siblings at ODTUG in Monterey and Tuesday we have a big ACE party. I have tried not to get too excited, after the disappointment of Iceland or rather NOT Iceland, I have tried to restrain the excitement until it really happened.

So my post yesterday was all about the excitement building, and I mentioned how I was stuck in Chicago. I honestly thought it was going to happen again and I would miss the big event. Why am I so unlucky?

The ACEs travelled to Monterey on a bus and then ODTUG gave them a VIP reception. I missed the party - (and did I tell you about the party I went to with my new friend Anna? I must post the photos of that sometime).

One or two of my siblings (see Sten Vesterli here showing off one of my brothers) even came out to sample the bar. Debra tells me that they have aged better than me, but I think they have simply be closeted, they have had no experience of life like I have, and do they know how difficult it is to get tarmac, food or even sulphur mud out???

Having spent the day following #ACED on twitter, the evening was all about following Dan on twitter, would he or wouldn't he make the flight? (Let him think people cared about Him, really they just cared about me). Anyway I arrived at 4am-ish, no welcome party for me. Just a few hours sleep and then it is the Community Service Day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kept in the dark as normal

Today is the ACE Director briefing in Redwood. All my friends are there and I am missing them. If Dan had not joined Oracle and been forced to give up his ACE credntials (have I told you how I hate this), then I, the great and famous Stanley would be there.

What am I missing? Well from a product point of view I don't know, no one will tell me, they are under an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) until July 1st. Don't people understand, I never speak when I asked not to (actually I just don't speak).

But what I am missing is the craic (Debra taught me this word, it is Irish for 'a great time'). Everyone has been 'tweeting' with the tag #ACED and I wish I was part of it.

I hear a few of my siblings are there ready for the big reunion this week at ODTUG. They are still at the Sofitel having their own party in the luggage store.

But where am I? Well Dan is waiting to see if the storms in Chicago means he will not get here tonight, he is currently on standby but things are not looking good. I have been stuffed into a bag and checked in. Does Dan not know that if I was with him, the airline would not only get him a seat but probably upgrade him! The indignity of it all. However at least Dan remembered to bring me this time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Getting Ready for the ACE Briefing and ODTUG

Stanley is almost over the Iceland disapointment and he knows Dan will take him diving in Monterey because he knows what I will do to him if he forgets Stanley again. Mrs Norris, our guest blogger will check Dan's luggage before he leaves.

Anyway Stanley is getting excited about his sibling reunion and the parties at ODTUG. He has asked some of many the friends he has made at various conferences and has learnt that one thing you need is a good stock of business cards.

He needs them not just to give out to people you meet for the first time, it is easier than saying "just google Stanley ACE vest", but also for the vendor giveaway competitions, do you think Stanley will be allowed to keep anything he wins? I will look after them for him.

Choosing a business card is difficult there are so many good photos of him but in the end I went for the camel. If you meet Stanley ask for a card, there is a limited supply of these very collectable items, more so than the 'baseball cards' I hear Americans like.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Looking forward to the ACE Vest Reunion

I hope if you are one of the original ACE Directors you know there is a reunion for Stanley's siblings during ODTUG.

I hope you plan to be there.

I did suggest taking a sibling and perhaps cutting it up to give each person a 'little bit of Stanley'. After all the reason behind Stanley is that no-one, oops very few people actually wore / wear the red vest with the bl***y big ACE on the back.

But one person will not be giving up his red vest, I am not going to give his name, what he does in bed is his own business and I don't want to out him by name, but this is one of the replies I received:

Have my original red vest? You've got to be kidding? I love my red vest, I treasure my red vest, I sleep with it every night.

I miss Stanley and am looking forward to being reunited with him next week. I love Stanley even, but be assured sharing my bed with Stanley is a step too far.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Poor, Poor Stanley

Here is where Stanley has been since Dan left. He's had his little ace face pressed up against the storm door, hoping he still might get to Iceland.

And here is where I found poor Stanley just minutes after I told him his hopes were futile:

Eventually Stanley settled down for the night in his safe place with a cousin who seems to have been hiding in there as well.

Poor Stanley.

I just want to die

Once I was an object of ridicule and hatred, however I thought that was all behind me, but now I feel so unloved I just want to curl up and die.

I started life somewhere in Vietnam crafted by people to whom I was just a number. A man did once show me a little bit more attention but that turned out to be just someone who had the ability to throw me on the rejects pile, luckily I made the grade, I was on my way.

Then I was put in a cellophane wrapper and stored in a box with some of my siblings. It was dark, and dreary and conversation was a bit muffled, but I still had hope, something good was going to happen I just knew it.

Then one day we found ourselves at a party with lots of very intelligent people who knew how to have a laugh and I thought, this is it, I am about to start my life properly. But I was wrong, as we were handed out to these wonderful people, the laughter stopped, they opened the cellophane, took us out, and quietly said 'that's nice' - you could tell they were only being polite, and when the party was over we heard nothing but ridicule from our new owners.

I was thrown in a suitcase and then on arrival home, my new owner tossed me into a dark cupboard and forgot about me. Then after a year I was suddenly back in the suitcase. It turns out the plan was to kill me, and I am not exaggerating - I found out my brother had been executed by some random danish person a few weeks before in San Francisco and I was to suffer the same fate. But miracles (get it?) do happen and everyone fell in love with me and my new life began. I got a name - Stanley, I got friends, yes they laughed at me, yes they did rotten things to me including the steam roller incident, but they loved me and I was happy. Since then I have travelled the world, met with important people (especially Mickey), ridden a camel, you can read all about my adventures in this blog. I was such a lucky vest.

I spent a few months with random people and then I went to live with Debra, she is a sad, lonely person and we were so good for each other, we had a ball. But she is a generous, wonderful person and nothing is too much trouble for her and when asked if I could go away on a diving holiday with two of our friends, Dan and Mogens (he killed my brother, but I have almost forgiven him), Debra reluctantly gave me up and Dan took me home.

Dan, has to be fair been good to me, he took me to work on his first day at Oracle, he took me to Disney and his wonderful wife Beth made sure I had everything I needed. As the holiday to Iceland grew closer I was so excited, I have never been to Iceland and never been diving, Dan is a Dive Master and I knew I was to be in good hands.

Then today when I woke up, Dan had gone and I was still here, he had gone without me, abandoned me, thought only of himself, kicked sand in my face, teased me, I could go on, but to be honest I can't describe how I feel, just be aware that if I could swallow I would have taken all the pills I could find, if I had wrists I would have slashed them, I hate myself and just want to die, this is the ultimate betrayal. I would have been better off in that reject pile.