Agility weekend, finally

Taught on Saturday

  • felt good to be outside and not too hot
  • felt good to be excited about Agility again
  • felt good to have my students learning and growing and succeeding
  • Beth gave me 5 lbs of shrimp that a client gave her (she is deathly allergic) and I went to the store and got groceries and cooked dinner from a recipe.

rained on Sunday

Was going to give a private but it got rained out. Took Twister with me in the afternoon to tear down the course. H had so much fun playing on the course, and did teeters (full) and ran the weave channels for the first time. I think he is a natural.

Woke up this morning to more Boston marathon insanity. One of the suspects is dead, and the entire city is on lockdown while they search door to door for the other. I am torn between wanting to go on with my life as usual, and feeling like that is a callus thing to do in a time like this. Torn between wanting to be on social media talking to my friends, and wanting to be as far away from it as possible to not fall into the trap of rumors and fear and lies. Not sure if it is better for my psyche to tune in or tune out.

Right. I realize that I haven’t blogged in over a year. I am working on remedying that, and have a bunch of half-finished projects to prove it. More on that later.

For now, here is my entry for the Handcrafted CSS Nashville Rebound Contest. The colors look a bit yuck surrounded by this site’s colors, so you can click on the image to see it on its own.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to sum up SXSW 2009 since I got back, and I’m still not sure I can do it. It was a much different week for me this year than it has been in the past, due I’m sure to all the personal changes I’ve been through in the last year. I have been in a weird space since I moved to Wilmington— not sure where I am professionally and isolated from my friends. I kind of detached myself from the Web world during the move, and I haven’t been able to figure out where to enter back into it. And to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to. So my goal for SXSW this year wasn’t to party and meet folks that inspire me and learn and get new ideas, it was to give a shit about the Web again by the time I left Austin. 

I think that goal was met for me, in spite of the size of the festival this year and the overwhelming prevalence of  “social media douchebaggery”, as Jeremy called it. I went to a lot fewer panels this year than in the past, and saw some real klunkers along with some that were really good. But I’m not going to go into the panels here. What really hit home for me was the time I got to spend with folks I didn’t realize I was missing as much as I was, and how many people I knew from previous years that I was happy to see and were happy to see me. And how it was easy to fall into conversation with these folks about the stuff I didn’t think I cared about anymore. I felt like I had a tribe. And if that’s where my tribe is, I guess that’s where I’m supposed to be.

I didn’t meet as many new people as I would have liked, but I did meet some real gems. The flyers helped with that— if I didn’t have those squirrels my social capitol would have been severely reduced. But, meh. I guess it’s good to have a conversation starter. And they are cute. There were of course several people that I only saw in passing that I wish I could have spent more time with, but that is always the case and I suppose that’s what the Twitter is for. (At least that’s what I think it’s for. The social media douchebags could probably show me how to leverage something with it, but I’m not interested.)

So. Looks like I’ve written another post that essentially says “SXSW is all about the people,” probably one of the biggest clichés in the online world by now. But it was for me this year in a very different way than it has been in the past. And I ended up having an awesome time. There are too many folks that contributed to that for me to name them all — you know who you are. But I do want to say a special thanks to Elaine for being a great roommate and friend, and for putting up with my noctournal schedule, Glenda for the picnic and for the always great talks we have, and Matthew for hanging out with me all week and now being stuck with me as a friend whether he was planning on it or not ;).

Now to figure out where to go from here…

I’ve been besieged at work with what seems like a million different “opportunities” for donating to someone’s pet charity of choice this holiday season. However, when I give, I like to give to organizations that I have a personal connection to or that support initiatives that are important to me personally. Donating toys for kids, while important, just doesn’t resonate with me, given my ZPG tendencies and lack of children. So I was happy to find out that Brighter Planet is running a carbon offset donation initiative this season, that you can contribute to for free. The first 5 people that sign up via the link below will have 136 pounds of carbon offsets donated in their name. That is the average amount of CO2 produced each day by a person in the US. Check out Brighter Planet’s site to see the kinds of projects they do to offset CO2 production. The message from Brighter Planet is below.

——

Happy Holidays!

As a gift to you this season, I’d like to offer you one day of carbon neutrality. If you claim this gift, Brighter Planet will donate 136 pounds of carbon offsets in your name. These offsets help fund renewable energy projects and are an important part of fighting climate change. All that is asked in return is that you consider conserving where you can during the holidays. For conservation recommendations take a look at: http://blog.brighterplanet.com/2008/12/03/top-12-conservation-tips-for-the-holidays/

Once you claim your free gift, you’ll be able to pay it forward to your friends, family and colleagues.

Best wishes!

One Day from Brighter Planet

Yes. Yes she did.

It has been so damn long that I feel like I sould be writing something deep and earth shattering, but I don’t have it in me. I decided I just needed to get this return-from-the-dead post out the door so I can stop feeling like a zombie and return to the vital stuff.

Since I last posted, I quit my job, said goodbye to all my great friends in California, showed our house umpteen times, didn’t sell the house, had the movers come and pack up all our wordly possessions and load them into a truck on the day of our 10th wedding anniversary, spent the night our 10th wedding anniversary sleeping on the floor of our empty house, spent 5 crazy days on the road with two dogs and a cat and two cars and two of the best friends anyone could hope to have, almost didn’t close on the house we were trying to buy in the middle of the great national mortgage meltdown, finally closed on the house after sitting down in the office of our mortgage broker and making it clear we weren’t leaving until we had the keys to the house, got the keys and moved in, drank entirely too much champagne that night and purged the karma from the whole mortgage thing, said goodbye to the Walstons and sent them back to California, had all our wordly possessions show up on the hottest day I have ever experienced in my life and loaded them into the house, hosted my parents for a visit and made my mom unpack the whole kitchen and all the linens, started a new job that is the same as the old job but on the other side of the country at a different university with different systems and a Windows environment that is blowing my mind, had to endure a departmental retreat complete with team building exercises my first week of work, had to endure more team building exercises at the new employee orientation my second week of work, had a fence installed for the dogs, spent the next 2 weeks working about 12 hours a day at the new gig and on a severely neglected freelance project, launched the first phase of the freelance project, hosted my sister and niece and brother-in-law and mom and dad for a week, went through extensive emergency preparations at work in anticipation of the hurricanes (yes, plural) that were headed here, endured a tropical storm that luckily didn’t become a hurricane even though we were ready, worked all afternoon this Sunday undoing all the hurricane preparations so that classes could proceed as usual on Monday, checked Twitter about twice during this whole time, and finally broke down and marked all my feeds as read.

That about brings me up to present, although I’m sure I forgot something. Luckily, Natalie did a great job documenting our cross-country moving extravaganza: it starts with this post, where you must promise to not notice how much weight I have gained since you last saw me, and goes on through the next 6 posts.

There is more I plan to write about soon, but this is about al I can manage for today, and I need to go cut Wallace’s toenails before he scratches me one more time and I say something to him that I really don’t mean.

Despite the craziness of the transition and intensely missing my friends and colleagues, I think we made the right decision to move. We love our new house, and I don’t miss the old one nearly as much as I thought I would. (There is also some good news about the old hosue that I am not mentioning because it is still in the works and I don’t want to jinx it.) We definitely couldn’t have made it through all of this without our awesome friends and family. And beer, wine, meds, and mojitos. But mostly the friends and family.

Yes, I have been neglecting this site for a while.

This time I have a valid excuse, though — major life changes are afoot. Most of you that are still reading this probably know that we have decided to move to Wilmington, NC this summer. Bri was offered an incredible position at UNCW, and we decided that we are ready for the next step in our lives. Our families are all on the east coast, and these 9 years on the west coast have taken their toll on both the emotions and the budget as we try to keep up with them. Plus, although we both love living in Humboldt County, HSU has fallen on hard times and we both feel like we have achieved what we can there.

We made the decision to make the move the week after SXSW, and life has been a whirlwind since then. We have our house on the market, and are trying to balance selling it with buying a new place in NC. And I am trying to find a job so that in case we can’t sell the house before we have to move we won’t end up in the poorhouse. Plus, I have been dealing with transitioning out of my job here — I am too responsible to leave HSU hanging, so I have been working hard to wrap up some projects and pass the torch on to the next web manager.

It is amazing how hard it is to sell your house. Much harder than buying one. There is the complication of keeping it clean all the time for showings and open houses, especially when it it is spring in the temperate rain forest, and therefore raining, and you have two dogs that love the mud more than just about anything else. Except for the beef bones we got from the butcher, which they keep trying to bring into the house. There is also the complication of having to detach yourself emotionally from the place that you’ve spent 6 years making your own, and of not being offended that everyone in the world doesn’t think this is the greatest place they’ve ever seen. And there is the denial that you are going to have to actually pack everything up and leave this place behind, which is always lurking right under the surface. And the complication that you can’t really buy a new place until you sell this one, which leads to many stressful nights as offer after offer on a new place gets refused because no one wants to enter into a contract that is contingent on the buyer selling their house in this real estate market that is in the shitter, Not to mention the week it took to clean out the garage.

So. That is what is up. I will be in Wilmington somehow by mid-August at the latest. My last day at HSU will be sometime in June. I’m not sure what I will be doing work-wise after that. If you have ideas or offers, let me know! 🙂

I am leaving bright and early tomorrow morning (like at 4am, sheesh) to attend my 4th SXSW. I’m really looking forward to getting out of Dodge for a while, and I really need the shot in the arm that I always get from hanging out with all the geeks, seeing old friends, and meeting new ones. If you will be there, look me up and say hi. I will have some kick-ass Interllectual Moo cards — get ‘em while they last!

If you really want to track me down, you can see my schedule on sched.org, the schedule service the SXSW should have created, but didn’t. I am also going to be speaking on an Unpanel, the creation of Matthew Oliphant. This will be my first foray into SXSW speaking— I will probably talk about our epic accessibility pursuits at Humboldt State, but may speak about some other topic related to Higher Ed web design/development. I am excited and slightly terrified, but I decided that I need to start kicking my fear of public speaking somehow. Details on the where and when of the Unpanel will be coming soon.

In the last couple of days I have soft-launched version 4 of Interllectual.com. Any craziness you have been seeing with the RSS feeds should be resolved now.

My goal with this version was to bring all the different aspects of my life together in one place, and to have the site feel like it represents where I am in my life at this point. Colors are brighter that they were before, and animals play a huge part in the site as they do in my life. There is a new logo-mascot, and my mammal and bird life-lists are a major feature. I have a backlog of data to fill in to the animal section, which is my favorite part of the new site. Brian and I spend a lot of time bird and mammal watching, and now we have a place to record what we’ve seen and to feature photos and videos we’ve taken of the critters. I have a bunch of videos from Australia that will be going up soon.

I also have a lifestream (the Diversions section) that pulls in my data from my other online forays— my tweets, links, books I’m currently reading, etc. And of course there are also the articles which I plan to devote a bit more time to in the near future.

The site is now running on ExpressionEngine, and I will write more about that soon. I still have a bit of work to do with some of the finer details and the IE6 compatibility, but I wanted to get the site out there and let everyone start enjoying it. I call this version “Finnegan”, which is the name of the owl. I’ve always wanted to name one of my pets Finnegan, and now I have. Finny is wise and shares his wisdom with us all in his “Thought of the Day” in the footer of the main page.

Enjoy.