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 Miss604.com 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.

Comforts of the Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Vancouver

My Hamburg Inn No. 2 coffee mug

This has to be one of my favorite coffee mugs that we added to our collection when we were back in my old stomping grounds this past January. Just a quick shot while doing some client work for sixty4media on a Saturday.

Sadly, I never went to the Hamburg Inn No. 2 as often as I probably should have when I lived in Iowa City. Breakfast was never something I really regarded as important to me until I moved out of the downtown area of IC, and then it got to the point where I never wanted to bother with the pains of parking in the area or waiting in line for a table or booth to open up. That all seems completely insignificant now, but it’s nice to have this memento at least.

NHL Winter Classic is coming on New Years Day

There is so much about this commercial that gets me excited and gives me goosebumps all at the same time. Also makes me shed a tear for the late, great Harry Caray[wiki].

As much as I have come to despise the Red Wings, I’m totally pulling for the hometown team in this one. Outdoor game at Wrigley Field in the Windy City? How can you not cheer for the Blackhawks? Of course, I spent years searching for a team to capture my attention in the NHL, and all the years I spent growing up in the Midwest, Chicago never did it for me.

At least until now because everyone in Chicago should rejoice in the resurgence of that team. They are chalk full of some amazing, young talent, captained by a youngster from and the pride of New Westminster, B.C. (which we often pass through on a regular basis), Jonathon Toews. Additionally, WGN acquired the broadcast rights for both TV and radio beginning this year, so that really puts a lot in place to bring the Hawks back into the hearts of Chicago.

In my opinion, this is the best thing that could have happened to the Blackhawks franchise. As many folks in the area can tell you, the bigger task is to put the team back into the mindset of the city where the MLS Chicago Fire ranks higher in popularity than its original six NHL team, at least as of a year ago.

Kudos to Michael DiLorenzo on Twitter for sharing this one.

There are more than just two parties in the 2008 U.S. presidential elections

Secrecy Envelope

One of the things that blindsided me when I was able to vote for the first time in the 1996 U.S. presidential elections[wiki] was that there were more people running for president than I was aware of. The fact of the matter was that I was a very young voter who was a few months into my senior year of high school, and it was important to me to vote. Still, I was astounded that I had never heard of any of these other people, parties, or what it was that they stood for.

It’s true that Ross Perot[wiki] had his run with the Reform Party, and the Green Party always seems to be popping up here and there. The thing is that the U.S. election system is not a strict, one or the other choice. There can be, and there are, more parties to choose from other than just Democrat or Republican. Yes, in America, there is an unspoken, multi-party system, and if wasn’t for the massive amount of personal wealth that Perot used for his own campaign in 1996, his third party probably wouldn’t have ended up as front and center on Saturday Night Live skits, yet alone in the debates. It was also great entertainment, not to mention a boost to ratings.

More than two parties to vote for

In the district in which I am able to vote via absentee, I have nine, total options to choose from. It’s true that there is a write-in, and that is an amazing option that we have in the U.S. system. I once had a good friend write in Trent Reznor for president and Henry Rollins as V.P. You can call that a waste of a vote, but it’s still an exercise of your right to let the government know how you feel.

Outside of the two main parties and the write-in, my ballot has seven other parties to choose from. Hardly any of them are covered by the mainstream media outlets, and not one of them were involved in public debates with the other big two parties, yet alone chased around the country with TV cameras, dissecting every move they made.

Straight ticket voting It makes me go back to that day when I was able to vote for the first time. Who were those people? What did they stand for? You mean there is an option other than these other two guys I’ve been essentially forced to choose between?

Folks will tell you that is just the way things are and the two party system is how the world works, and it makes sense to me why there are people across many generations who are disillusioned with a system where you have to choose between two entities that they would rather not vote at all. It’s personally hard for me to comprehend that apathy, especially when that write-in exists, no matter who it is that you want to write in.

At the same time, you have other options. Look into the other parties who are running under the mainstream radar. Some of them might seem completely crazy, but if you are one deciding not to choose “between the lesser of two evils” by not voting at all, give it some thought, register to vote, and cast your ballot for who you want to represent you.