...not in the sense of putting a new veneer over an old worktop, but in the sense of one's head breaking into fresh air after a long, deep, dive.
There may be a bit of bobbing up and down and gasping for a while.
I have a daughter. A new one. The first one, for me. Indeed, the first child of any flavour for ether my wife or I. Very new. Very lovely. We're all happy and healthy, all's good. Those of you who want to know more may know that I have pictures on tumblr, and some of you already have the password. Thank you for all the good wishes. Buzz me (directly, not here) if you want access. I'm trying to keep specific details off the internet until the whole identity/privacy thing shakes itself down. Or until she's old enough to vote for herself. Whichever comes first.
Anyway, excuses aside, adult life comes back in with a crunch next week.
I'm on the program committee for EuroSTAR. Along with the other committee members*, I'll need to be visible and available and therefore I'll need to be in Amsterdam form Monday to Thursday. That'll be a shock. One of the reasons I'm here is to get the dust off the testing neurones – I've spent a few weeks mainly thinking about babystuff.
We were very enthusiastic about the program in Galway in March. The EuroSTAR elves have been working like crazy to put together the actual conference, and it's going to be excellent to see it happen. These days, I tend to spend my time at conferences in @TheTestLab. I can't do two things, so Bart is running it with Martin Janson (Martin is one of the TestEye bloggers, worked with us on the EuroSTAR TestLab in 2010, and helmed a fantastic TestLab at Let's Test last May). I can't think of better hands for it to be in. The TestLab will be, we're told, central to the conference, and (at last!) easy to find. I'll be spending time there, if you want to come and find me, but I'll also be going to tracks and sessions, having conversations in corridors and bars, and basically making a nuisance of myself.
It's worth noting that, after the conference theme "Innovate: Renovate" was announced, both Shmuel and I told our colleagues that our wives were due in the weeks before the event. Indeed, I think they had the same due date, so both of us knew while we set the theme, but neither of us could say. Shmuel's done the Dad thing rather more (hats off to him) so I'll be the one looking more startled. Of course, the other difference is that he has a beard. It's harder to look startled with a beard.
Then, for those interested in my life in a furry hat, I charge back to London and change costume and language. After singing on one of this week's top-ten soundtracks (we're on Halo 4) on Friday 9th the London Bulgarian Choir will hit the ground running for their big gig of 2012. It's also the first gig for the choir after their leader had a baby** and we have a whole new way of doing a show. Stories throughout the first half, a wedding in the second half, presumably breastfeeding in the interval. We're at a gorgeous 500-seat venue in central London. In 2010, we sold it out to the last chair. This time, who knows... Anyway, here's a facebook event (one of at least four doing the rounds). Invite yourself.
Last thing on my list – I'm playing with systems again. I should have something a bit special for you, starting tomorrow. For now, let's see if I can get flash to embed here...
* Zeger van Hese is our program chair, and Julian Harty and Shmuel Gershon are the other committee people. Here, look.
** Same baby as my baby? Same baby. Our baby. Blimey.