So, LCA charity auction. Last night I had the sheer pleasure of being part of the chaotic mayhem that ended in a $10600 winning bid (earlier claims of $10500 were circulated before we knew for sure how much we actually had) for Karen Garbee’s beautiful award-winning print. Rusty informs me that’s the highest bid for an LCA auction, which I find slightly surprising but awesome if it’s true. All proceeds from the night are to be donated to tassiedevil.com.au, funding valuable research in to the Tasmanian Devial Facial Tumour Disease, which is slowly wiping out these unique and ridiculously cute creatures. If you haven’t already, please go and visit the site, read about the plight threatening these creatures, and give what you can.
Ironically, I’ve been on the verge of buying another print in aid of this fund for a little while now. For LCA attendees who’ll be hanging around in Tasmania post-conference, I strongly suggest visiting the Cradle Mountain park. And while you’re there budget a couple of hours to see The Wilderness Gallery. Amongst half a dozen exhibitions of gorgeous local flora and fauna, you’ll see this little guy. A couple of limited runs of this print are being sold as a fundraising exercise. I’m completely and utterly in love with this picture, and if I regret anything it’s not winding up with a copy hanging on my wall.
There’s been a lot of other coverage of the auction, but I thought I might offer my point of view of the proceedings. Bidding got off to a good start. Early standout was Jamie at my table, bidding $1000 and promising to donate the contents of his wallet if he was outbid — dropping quite a lot in to the bucket when the inevitable happened. The price continued before stalling at $2000. An attempt by Rusty to end the auction was stalled at the last minute by a Linux Australia rep, and after a hasty conference they came to the table promising to match a bid over $2500 (to a limit of $10k). At that point it seemed logical that somebody raise the bid to $2500, so I did.
It sat there for a very long time, resisting all sorts of incentives. After Linus promised to include Tuz (the LCA logo for this year, see the photo at the start of this post) in the next kernel release I started seeing a couple of offers of financial assistance. But it was going very very slowly until some wag joked about Bdale shaving his beard. Not long after that the Collabora guys turned up at my table, offering to add $2500 to my bid if Bdale actually did shave. So, again, I stood up and offered $5000 in exchange for the beard.
At that point, the auction exploded. Caveats were added. Conditional donations appeared and were matched. Buckets passed around the room and filled (the casino offered to count the contents, which apparently made the organiser’s jobs much easier). Every time it looked like things might be dying down slightly, somebody else would come to my table and basically open their wallet. I personally completely lost track somewhere around $8k. But I do know that at one point during an internal audit we realised that we were bidding considerably lower than what we had in hand, leading to some spirited bidding against ourselves.
The final consortium, in approximately the order they joined, were:
- Neil (sorry, I didn’t get your last name)
- Daniel Stone
- Collabora (hah! corporate sponsorship!)
- David Woodhouse
- Matthew Garrett (another blank last name :-( )
- Jamie Wilkinson
- Elspeth Thorne
For raising $10600, clearly they all deserve a beer.
The final haul, in addition to the print that kicked it off, was also substantial. Mary Gardiner volunteered a spot on the papers committee for the next LCA. It took a considerably larger target to be given an opportunity to get off the committee, but we now have the out. Bdale finally agreed to doff the beard if the combined total reached $25000. At some point somebody suggested the shaving be done by Linus, and that’ll be going ahead some time fairly soon. Flame agreed to transfer ownership of his custom numberplates (“GEEK”, highly sought by Elspeth) for a year. My personal favourite appeared this morning, after some high-speed hacking:
And at the end of it all, I somehow ended up with the print. I’ve already prepared the story of how it’s valued at $36000 and a beard.