Two more through the gates of my high school alma mater

@anthonykinley on Instagram

Anthony told the people in the row ahead of him and a few of the people around him that he was going to do it. He was going to do a selfie. And he was true to his word.

I had two nephews graduate from high school recently. They’re in the same grade and same school. Ben was born in the fall. Anthony in the spring.

They didn’t go to the exact, same high school I went to, but we’re all still from the same hometown. I’m proud to be their uncle. And as much as I would have loved to be there as they went through the process of becoming men, at least I was there on the day that childhood ended and real life begins.

To the next chapter in life. Here, here.

My Iowa Caucus Experience in Photos

2012 Iowa Caucus

On another trip back to my homeland of Iowa, I thought I should take the opportunity of being here to document a little bit of history while the caucus[wiki] happened yesterday.
Continue reading “My Iowa Caucus Experience in Photos”

The Geography of Rock & Roll and the World Around You

I got a posting on my Facebook wall about a band that was from Iowa, The Autumn Project. The question was about if I knew about them because we’re both from the same state and the person really hoped they would come to Vancouver.

It seems like I’ve seen their name float by me at some point, but it’s tough to say that I know a whole lot about them. Reading up on them a little bit, I found out that they’re from Des Moines, Iowa. And actually, they’re right in the middle of one of those “indefinite hiatus” situations.

But the thing that struck me is when I found on that they were from the central portion of Iowa, my first thought was, “Of course I don’t know who they are, they’re from the central portion of the state.” And it’s completely true.

A night out at Gabe's Oasis (2003)

My hub for a music scene was Iowa City for a number of years. There were those two or three hour road trips for a show on occasion, and that was often for acts from other states or countries on their tour route.

I think that once you start to get into a local music scene, your efforts of venturing out of your home base doesn’t seem as important. It’s not about losing connection with it. You just have the ability to have close proximity to something you enjoy while having plenty of friends who are able to tag along (or drag along in some cases).

In the last six months before I moved to Vancouver, we took one of our popular WSUI radio shows on the road to a coffee shop in downtown Des Moines, and the neighborhood in the area of the downtown core that I discovered really surprised me.

There was a feeling of creativity in the area we were in, and the amount of concert flyers I saw for local bands and musicians performing in the downtown area alone was impressive. I recall thinking at the time that I had never given Des Moines much of a thought for a local music scene. That’s almost a regret… Almost.

And yes, Slipknot came from that city and is one of the only bands that many people know from Iowa. They were the only ones I could actually name around that time, but my knowledge was more populated with artists from the eastern part of the state. You never looked west.

Photo with Troubled Hubble at Gabe's Oasis in Iowa City (2003)

I became friends with a lot of bands who called Iowa City home or claimed it to be one of them. I’d get other friends to come along or have great nights out with those passing through town, sometimes to catch a good show.

Being in Vancouver, that’s what’s fun about finding a new music scene, and I’m still learning. Even brief excursions to Victoria, cover band or not, goes to show that getting out of your comfort zone is healthy more often than none. Even if you’re let down, that’s just apart of the education of learning what finding a diamond in the rough is all about.

A frozen Field of Dreams

Frozen Field Of Dreams

I’ve spent a number of family outings at this place, but never have I been to the Field of Dreams during the winter time, especially in the middle of one of the coldest cold snaps that the Midwest has seen in a number of years.

I shot this from the backseat of the car. My finger tips still got numb from the mere minutes it took to take this picture.

My last time here was the July 4th holiday of 2005. My family spent the day there in the summer heat, getting in to take our turns at the plate, playing catch in the outfield, and having a little picnic under the trees, just near the picket fence of the house that is still there. Being there in the depths of this Iowa cold spell makes it seem even more of a distant memory.

It’s certainly worth the trek to see this landmark in the summer. Nothing compares to the imagery you get with the corn in the outfield and visitors all over the place just taking it in.

Midwest Summer Storms

This was published originally on as apart of Blogathon 2009.


Hanging out at WorkSpace today for Blogathon, Rebecca snapped this great picture. It’s one of many, many streaks of lightning that filled the sky in the late afternoon, and these things aren’t that common. I don’t think I’ve seen a storm like that in about four years, which is when I moved here from eastern Iowa.

In the Midwest, you expect these things, and that’s because you have to.

As I watched the wall cloud come in over Mt. Seymour, that was a site that would strike a little fear into your gut as it came out of the horizon back home. What followed that was anyone’s guess. Intense wind to bust up trees, torrents of rain that could sweep your car off the road, baseball sized hail that would lead to cheap new car prices on damaged stock, or the ever friendly tornado that might knock on your door as an uninvited guest.

Watching the lightning zap the holy hell out of the mountains, it reminded me of those times when it was, “Get to the basement!” And it always seem like at that very moment, you’ve got to pee. The adrenaline kicks in and you do what you’ve been told over and over to do in school, but you still have this worst timing hit you at the same time.

That’s because tornadoes are pretty damn scary. They are additively fascinating to try and catch a glimpse of, but you just don’t want it to get too close because I’ve driven through towns that were ripped apart on a direct hit. I’ve grasped onto my mother under a blanket while the wind thumped against our house, sort of saying good-byes to each other through mutual I Iove yous.

That was one of my first times being on the radio when WMT called our house to speak to a witness. I barely had my nerves together enough to say my name correctly yet alone recount all the trees and power lines down in our neighborhood.

Everyone seems to have a personal story or knows a story of someone else with experiences like this. You can never be too careful when it comes to any storm, but the one that reached downtown today was fairly impressive in its own right. Like I said, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen something like that.

Photo credit: penmachine on Flickr

San Francisco and WordCampSF 2009 Slideshow

We’re home from San Francisco, and it felt great to get back to the PNW. When you’re traveling like that and staying in a hotel room for a few days, it’s your own bed that you start to miss.

That’s not to say that we were all ready to leave San Francisco. That was my first time being there, and we saw quite a bit for only being there for not that long. This happens when you take an impromptu walk for about five hours. Combine that with getting around for all the WordCampSF events, the trip kinda wiped us out in the very end.

Here’s a slideshow of all the photos that I have posted on Flickr from the weekend.

Hitting the San Francisco ground

The original plan for today was to take part in the WordCampSF Developer Day down at the Automattic offices, but after a late night at the party and Dale having his return flight home later in the day, we thought it would be a shame to not get out to experience the city some more. Neither Dale or I have been to San Francisco, so it was a easy decision to make, even though I’m sure there was some really great things talked about at today’s developer sessions.

Needless to say, I took my camera along and gathered about 50 shots during our journey. We spent most of that time on foot, and when they say that this city is a tad on the hilly side, we experienced it wholeheartedly.

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Wandering around San Francisco

Tomorrow afternoon we leave this city, and it’s been a really great experience to visit and see as much as we have. San Francisco is an amazing place that could really grow on me if given the chance. I can’t say that I’m a fan of the way the temperature fluctuates almost minute to minute, but no place is perfect (especially if you visit Vancouver for a week during the nearly month long streak of rainy days).

If you would like to see more photos from today, view them here.

WordCampSF 2009: That’s a wrap

WordCampSF 2009 WordCampSF 2009 has come and gone, and the day was everything you could really want from an event that is put on by the group of people who have the day to day job of making WordPress be everything that it is. The day stayed fairly well on schedule, the food was excellent, there was an abundance of water (which is always a huge thing for me personally when it comes to any event or conference), the location was a perfect fit, the wireless was blazing fast, and there was plenty of places to plug into when your battery was running low (aside from the minor issue of a circuit breaker tripping in the downstairs room a handful of times during an afternoon session). I’m really not one to complain about many things, but there isn’t very much that I can complain about when I try to think about it.

There were a lot of great people that I ran into today as well. It was great to see Lloyd and Lorelle again, and I even met a developer who came all the way from Orlando to be at this WordCamp. When you have the chance to be around a group of people like this, especially in a city like San Francisco, you’ll make that long journey to spend a weekend talking about all things WordPress.

WordCampSF 2009 Steve Souders had a really good session about how to make your themes faster when it comes to page load times, and Scott Porad gave an interesting session on what goes on in the empire that is known as Pet Holdings, Inc., home to I Can Haz Cheezeburger and many other hilarious sites.

My time at the Genius Bar was relatively slow, but I did get asked at least one question as how one gets a basic, entry level to HTML because the person felt that might help them as a user with WordPress. That was a really tough question to answer, and I could only think to direct him to the WordPress Codex. I’ve been doing this stuff since I was about 14, and a lot of that was trial and error combined with simple reverse engineering. It’s not so much about having trouble with teaching what comes naturally as much as it’s tough to teach what took years to just make sense, so I hope I helped that person out a little bit.

WordCampSF 2009 In all honesty, I spent a large part of this afternoon reading through some of my RSS feeds on Google Reader that have been piling up over the months. I’m still not used to having a laptop that actually allows me to function on a very efficient level. My old PowerBook G4 was very sluggish, and this weekend has been one of discovery in terms of what I can actually do with this beautiful MacBook Pro. I spent my time at the Genius Bar doing some padding of my own genius by plowing through the various WordPress related feeds that I’m subscribed to and bookmarking things of interest into my Delicious bookmarks. If you want to get an idea of what I’m finding interesting, that’s a good place to check into.

Tonight is the post-WordCamp party at the Automattic headquarters on the San Francisco waterfront, just near AT&T Ballpark. It will be another chance to talk to people and get to know this community of developers and users more, and that’s what is really important when it comes to these types of gatherings. These are the people who are making the world get better and better when it comes to the Internet.

We also know how to have fun. As Matt Mullenweg said in his session today, “If you make a feature request at the party tonight, you have to do a shot.

Crusing along at WordCampSF 2009

WordCampSF 2009

After a GPS and Google Maps adventure of helping our taxi driver get to the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, it’s been a jam packed morning at WordCampSF 2009. And actually, it’s been very relaxed and chilled in terms of the sessions so far today.

WordCampSF 2009

Andy Peatling gave a great session on BuddyPress, Matt Cutts from Google had a variety of great insights when it comes to SEO and your WordPress site, and the “State of the Word” by none other than Matt Mullenweg himself was great. I learned a lot about the history of this CMS, and the future looks really promising for WordPress on multiple fronts. It’s one of those days that makes you excited to be a developer and gets those ideas cranked up in your head.

There have been a variety of great announcements that are going around the circles, and I can’t even recall them all. It’ll take a little while for me to digest them all and give my insights to later, but a lot of what I’ve seen today make our projects with sixty4media clients look even more exciting when it comes to current and future endeavors.

Needless to say, there is a lot more to check out today. The afternoon sessions are getting ready to kick off, and I have my time at the Genius Bar at 4:55PM to 5:45PM. If the morning has been any preview, the rest of the day should be pretty kick ass.

Wandering around downtown San Francisco

We just got in from a small journey around the downtown area of San Francisco, so I thought I would make a quick post with various photos from our venture with John Biehler after he got into town this morning. Rebecca has a pretty good group of photos you can check out as well.

Exploring San Francisco

Exploring San Francisco

Exploring San Francisco

Exploring San Francisco

Exploring San Francisco

Exploring San Francisco

Exploring San Francisco

Exploring San Francisco

Exploring San Francisco

Exploring San Francisco

You can see all of my photos from our trip to San Francisco in this flickr set.