Where is Darran?

Greetings All,

I have recently resigned from ServiceMesh to focus on family, community, and personal health. November 22, 2013 was my last day with ServiceMesh and I am very grateful for my experience with ServiceMesh.  We had a successful exit with a sale to Computer Sciences Corporation.

Since resigning I have spent a considerable time with my family over the holidays, explored technology communities around Austin at Tech Ranch Austin and Capital Factory, attended a few small business sessions at BiG Austin, and caught up with old friends. I’ve also spent some time volunteering with Coats for Kids and Keep Austin Beautiful. Lastly, I have made a concerted effort to spend more time exercising (mainly swim, bike, run) and practicing piano. These are two areas that I had not dedicated the amount of energy I had planned on this year and I am looking forward to making these foundational components of my lifestyle.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of the experience,


Some Opportunities at ServiceMesh – QA Engineers, Flex Developers, and Support Engineers!

ServiceMesh is looking for QA Engineers, Flex Developers, and Support Engineers! If you are on the hunt, or know anyone interested please send them this way! Don’t be shy. 🙂

Also, another local outfit, MaxPoint Interactive, is growing their talented team and looking for engineers with skills/interest in big data (hadoop), high performance web based systems and Web UI.  QA folks for both manual and automated QA activities and IT staff to fill several positions including IT Director, Data Center Sys Admin and Corporate Sys Admin. If you are digging this, contact the CTO, Kurt Carlson.

Ride to Auckland, Wendy’s for Dinner, Got Fourth at the Poker Tournament, Toga Party, Crazy Hectic Night at Globe Bar – Auckland, New Zealand (Day 36) (September 21, 2009)

Today began like many of the days before it: waking up in a room full of strangers, packing a bag, and waiting for the bus to go to a new place. Today we were heading to Auckland and Auckland meant it was time to find a job, a place to stay, and start settling in. The bus stop was a little bit of a hike from the hostel, so I got up early, got to the stop, sat down, and waited. I saw our driver from the beginning of the trip, Lauren, and said hi. It was good to see a familiar face. Eventually the bus arrived and we were on our way. I think we played some card games on the bus, but we might have just rested.

We hit some traffic coming into Auckland, but eventually we made it to Base. Base Auckland is the kind of hostel that grinds people into the ground and leaves them wondering where they are and how they got there. With 8 stories and 100’s of beds, Base Auckland is a beast of a hostel. It is filled with dysfunction and despair interspersed with intense revelry. If possible, avoid it. If not, stay only as long as necessary. There are a good amount of long timers there and you can see the struggle in their eyes.  We unpacked our bags and I headed out to grab a meal at Wendy’s. Australia doesn’t have Wendy’s and the only one I saw in New Zealand was in Auckland, so I decided to get some familiar food and walk around the city.

Eventually, I returned to take part in a poker tournament. Base has a poker tournament almost every night. There is a $100 bar tab on the line and the tourney helps get people in the bar and get the bar warmed up for the evenings. I ended up placing fourth and then headed up to the room. Up in the room, I was greeted by some roommates pre-partying. Tonight was a Toga Party night and there were free drinks for everyone wearing a Toga. Why not?

Auckland is a hopping off point for many people to head to another country or head back home. That makes an arrival in Auckland a special night for many. A last chance to get it all out before confronting a new challenge, a new place, or a life that was left behind. This was the case for a few on our bus and we did it big. The night started with wine in the room, then cocktails in the bar, then free drinks at the bar, then Jager Bombs, then more cocktails and absolute mayhem. Eventually we closed the bar down and headed out with a few locals to a bar on Vulcan lane. I think we made it home at around 5. Below are some pics from that night.


What kind of establishment has a claw game that involves live lobsters?

Guy and Kate

Free Drink

Sloppy with evil eyes


Man on a stripper pole. Do not like.


At least Guy has pizzazz.


Guy bought us a round of Jager Bombs


so goofy


closing the tab

perfectly normal

the bar had normal people in it too


vdg is trouble

trying to steal a lobster

vdg being vdg

This was the end of my New Zealand tour. The rest of my time in New Zealand would be spent getting myself together, looking for a job, finding permanent accommodation, and trying to settle in New Zealand.

Ride to Taupo, Card Games with Friends, Got Second at the Poker Tourney, Another Pretty Chill Night – Taupo, New Zealand (Day 35) (September 20, 2009)

Got up early and got my stuff together. The bus leaves Wellington at 8 AM from YHA which is a short walk from Base. The ride to Taupo is a long one. I think I spent most of the time resting and browsing the web on the smartphone. Eventually we got to Taupo and got checked in. I took a short walk around Taupo and made it back to the hostel in time for a dinner that was sponsored by the hostel. Later on we went to the Base bar, The Element, and had a few drinks while playing cards. Most of us were looking to have an easy night and it was a quiet night at the bar so we took it easy. The bar ended up hosting a poker tourney and I ended up getting second after hour or two head to head battle of attrition. After that we headed back to the hostel and got some rest.

Some pics from the ride:




Tour Progression:

View New Zealand 2009 in a larger map

Long Day on the Road, All Blacks Game Day in Wellington, Grocery Shopping, Calm Night, Rest – Wellington, New Zealand (Day 34) (September 19, 2009)

Today was pretty laid back. I got up early, ate some breakfast, took a shower, and packed my gear. Eventually the bus came and we all piled on. Our destination was Wellington which is around a 250 km ride according to Google Maps. The journey takes some time though because you have to get a ferry to cross the Cook Strait.

Below are some pics of crossing the Cook Strait




Even the sheep have to take a ferry in between islands


I was sort of fretting the entire day because one of the Tri-Nations games was in Wellington that night (All Blacks vs. Australia) and I hadn’t booked accommodation. Luckily, my bus driver was able to find me a bed at Base Wellington. When we got in the city you could tell it was game day. The city was packed and everyone was out drinking and partaking in other pre-game activities. I took it easy, checked in, unpacked some gear, and made a trip to the grocery store to get some food for the evening.

At this point in the trip I was looking forward to Auckland and contemplating how to get some long-term accommodation arranged and find a job. All of my friends were now gone or in different parts of the country and the buses heading north only have a handful of people on them making it hard to find and assemble a crew.  Had a great nights sleep.