Tomorrow is the first International Day of Awesomeness where everyone can be awesome.
I've been asking people all last week what they're going to be doing to be awesome, but haven't had an answer in return. I've finally decided what I'm going to do. First, I'm going to write those e-mails I've been meaning to to catch up with people I haven't spoken to in ages. Because it's awesome to to catch up with old friends. The second thing I'm going to do is make donations to the two people I know that are raising money for a good 'cause.
So what is your feat of awesome going to be?
Last Friday I attended the inaugural DC Talks event. DC Talks are the brain child of Jason Garber and Jackson Wilkinson and are a series of one day conferences geared towards the dc web community. This first conference, DC Design Talks was geared towards interactive designers and if this one was any indication, the rest should be a huge success. Next up (this spring) is supposedly the developer talks which I'm eagerly looking forward to. Following that, I think they're talking marketing and strategy.
The design talks brought together some of the great talents in the region as speakers at the event. All nine speakers did an excellent job presenting. While my primary role is not a designer since I'm often working translating the designs to code, I think the conference provided me with great insight into the work of designers and gave me a lot of things to think about when implementing designs. As always, it was great to hang out with members of the dc web/tech community -- an inspiring group.
Congratulations to Jason and Jackson for putting on a successful event!
Chris had the opportunity to go back to Alaska and see Anchorage in the winter. He was going for work so he didn't have a lot of time to do the touristy thing (all the tourists places were closed for the season anyway). He said Anchorage was very dry and even though there was a lot of snow, it was a really dry snow. The roads were packed and he had little traction in his rental Corolla. I'm glad he's home. I think he's glad too.
For as long as I can remember growing up, every year my dad would bring home these printouts with these ASCII charts for my aunt the nun. They were biorhythm charts and I can remember looking over this print outs following the rhythms with my fingers and pointing out what days were going to be "bad" days.
I've been in a rotten mood all week (especially towards the beginning of the week). Even though it wasn't a great week, it wasn't nearly as bad a my mood and I made it seem. This got me wondering and I decided to check out my biorhythm.
Sure enough my chart shows an emotional and physical low for the beginning of this week. Coincidence? Maybe. It's hard to believe that everyone who shares my birthday has the same rhythmic cycle as I do (biorhythms are based on your birthdate).
I had all but forgotten about this small part of my childhood until sometime last year when I was discussing with a friend over IM our rotten moods. Something triggered my memory and I decided to check it out. Sure enough our charts mirrored our moods. The few times I've checked since then, it's been pretty accurate. I'd be interested to know does your chart reflect you?
There was a lot of talk about photo books this holiday season and I had been asked on numerous occasions if I had used Blurb to create one. I had not used Blurb before. But I had heard of them because of their association with Flickr. After the craziness from the holidays died down, I decided to investigate a little further. I was immediately impressed with their pricing and the number of pages their books were able to hold. The books I've made in the past were limited to under 100 pages. Blurb books are expandable to 440 pages.
Next question was what kind of book should I make. Blurb has templates for all sorts of books -- cook books, photo books, portfolio books, blog books, and more. Yup, you can actually import your blog into their software and make a book out of it. Since I have pretty much stopped scrap-booking when I started taking digital photos (way back in 2001), I decided to make a book about our 2007. I added blog posts from 2007 and photos taken from 2007.
The Blurb software was quickly downloaded and installed (even on my mac -- MyPublisher finally has mac software, but it took them a long time to get it). It easily integrated with my Flickr account and I was able to select and add pictures easily. Since I didn't choose a blog book as my book type, I couldn't figure out how to import my blog posts, so they were copy and pasted into the pages. I didn't spend too much time trying to figure that out. As far as the functionality of the software, it seemed to be on par with the others I've used. The software did allow me to use any fonts installed on my computer and they printed without any issues.
What about quality? The quality was decent. The pages aren't as high of a gloss as the other books I've made. The photos appear a bit too dark (which I have read in other reviews). But overall I am very pleased with the results and will probably continue the tradition of throwing together blog posts, photos and other mementos from the year and publishing a yearly book. (If I was smart, I'd work on it though out the year.)
Below are a few pictures of the finished book.
Above is the cover with a selection of photos summarizing the year
One of the first events of the year was Cisco's trip to the vet for stitches in his ear (which was blogged about here).
On the left is my blog entry about my Aunt Marianne. On the right are photos taken with my iPhone while we were in Cleveland with captions under them (one of the template pages available in the Blurb software).
On the left is a page from our Alaska book (which was about 4 times more expensive than the Blurb Book). The right is the same photo in the Blurb book.
This is great news. I was having a conversation related to this the other week with my dad. He's refusing to sign up for yet another account with another service just to comment on blogs. He's not the only one getting sick of signing up for accounts for everything.
OpenID is a portable username and password you can use across multiple sites. If you have an account on AOL/AIM account, livejournal account, or a variety of other services, you have an OpenID. What that means is you can use this to log onto other sites. More and more sites are implementing OpenID which is great for those of us sick of registering for so many usernames and passwords for so many different sites.
On the Blogger Blog they have a post describing how to enable OpenID Commenting and how to post comments so I'm not going to repeat that here. But this is my personal plea to everyone I know using blogger for their blog (that's a lot of you), please, please, please go and update your setting and change who can comment on your blog to "Registered Users - includes OpenID."
Happy New Year! As we begin 2008 and everyone is making resolutions, I've decided to take a look back at 2007.
January 2007 we were in Columbus for my cousin Mark's wedding. Mark and Kim had a beautiful wedding and it was great getting to hang out with family members.
In February Chris had to go down to Orlando to support the Women in Aviation Conference. I joined him after the conference for a long weekend. We visited Epcot and the Animal Kingdom and had an excellent meal at Jiko.
My first trip to San Francisco was for the Web 2.0 Expo. I went out with some of my colleagues and had the opportunity to see some sights and learn a few things about Web 2.0 (although I think I learned more about my colleagues).
Well, this is the first year in a long time I haven't looked for a job or not been happy with my job. I did change positions, but not companies. I had the opportunity to work on a bunch of cool projects with a bunch of cool people, including my first ruby on rails project, CircaVie.
Cisco and Berkley continued to take agility classes and even managed to get a ribbon or two. I joined the TAG club and had two long weekends (one in May and one in August) helping with their trials - both which were very successful.
One of the many tech events I attended this year was BarCamp DC. I also have gotten involved with the DC tech community in attending Refresh DC meetings, semi-regularly. I'm hoping to be more involved in the coming year and am starting off the year attending WidgetDevCamp this month.
As if I haven't talked about it enough. We had a once in a lifetime vacation to Alaska with both my parents and Chris' parents. If you haven't heard about our Alaska trip, search this blog, look at the photos on flickr, or ask us.
The end of the year we had the opportunity to hang out again with extended family, but unfortunately it was for less happy reasons. We lost two family members between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They will be missed greatly.
The last big event of the year was the birth of our friends Kelly and Matt's baby girl. Many of my friends had children this year and I'm looking forward to watching them grow.
Before Christmas we lost my Aunt Marianne unexpectedly. She is the first of my mom's siblings to go.
My aunt was a unique person. She was a nurse, she loved to travel, she loved her family and friends.
I have quite a few memories of my aunt. We stayed with her on numerous visits to Cleveland from probably when I was in junior high (or maybe even earlier) though college. I used to get hand-me down clothes from her. When I was in high school, she got on my case about my messy room when we were emptying my closet so that my Uncle Al could lay new carpet. She took care of me the morning after my wedding when the excitement from the day before and the nerves of traveling got to me. We had a really great conversation that day, I wish I remembered more of it.
I had the opportunity to stay with her a few weeks prior when I was in Cleveland for my Uncle Eddie's funeral. My aunt told me while we were waiting to go to the funeral, "you know Kel, God takes you in your most perfect moment." I guess it was her most perfect moment.
Rest in peace, Aunt Marianne.
And Happy Holidays to everyone.
We had a relaxing Christmas Eve -- having pasta for dinner, watching a movie, and giving the dogs Frosty Paws to celebrate Cisco's birthday.
Christmas day we headed to West Virginia to celebrate with my parents after opening our presents at home. Along with the typical presents opening and meal eating, we also disassembled a 10 year old Apple Pro Keyboard and put it through the dishwasher and solved other computer issues.
The Alaska Book was a huge hit with everyone. Yay!
Life always gets so busy this time of year. So I figured I'd give a quick update of what's been going on around here.
December started with a quick visit from Chris' parents and me off to Cleveland for a final goodbye to my Uncle Ed. The rest of the month has been a bit of a blur.
Some of the highlights include Chris getting a new car (yes, I finally caved, but the threat of expensive repair bills looming overhead got to me), Missy and PJ's annual holiday potluck, unexpectedly running into Missy and PJ the following weekend at the holiday party of one of Chris' boss,' and finally getting ornaments on the tree. On the work front I've been busy working on a new project, learning more Ruby on Rails, and crashing my own holiday party (going as Tony's guest since I didn't RSVP myself).
On a sad note, my Aunt Marianne died unexpectedly this weekend. Last I heard funeral arrangements were still being made, but I may be headed back up to Cleveland later this week.
My Uncle Ed died yesterday. He was one of my favorite uncles (although they're all favorites for different reasons).
I have lots of memories of my Uncle Ed. He and my Aunt Bernie were the ones that visited us the most growing up. My uncle always knew where he was going and how to get there. He always treated everyone with great kindness and respect. He was very proud of his Slovak heritage and was one of the few people that would tell me how to say things in Slovak (I wish I had payed more attention). I can attribute my love of muenster cheese to him as well.
One of my favorite memories of Uncle Ed was when I was in grade school. Mom and Dad dropped us off in Cleveland and headed to Hawaii. We spent a week exploring Cleveland with my Uncle. Walking around parks and along the shores of Lake Erie with him. We were never in a hurry as we wandered and we had plenty of time to take in the scenery.
My Aunt and Uncle had been married for just over 53 years. They have three children and three grandchildren who mean the world to them. I know he's in a better place. But there's a bunch of us back here that will miss him greatly. I love you Uncle Ed.
We now have three brackets from Restoration Hardware. We were charged a different price for each of these three brackets. Long story short, we should be getting credit for one bracket which we don't need/didn't order and shipping refunded on the other completing the set we needed.
In the process of all of this I logged into my Citibank Credit Card account to see if we had been refunded the shipping we were told we were being refunded last week. (We hadn't been.) However, I was greeted with a nice red, bold message "A review of this account has shown recent high- risk activity. Please contact our Customer Service Unit ..."
Uh Oh, that can't be good. Now every time we buy a computer, we get home and there is a message on the answering machine from Discover wanting to verify we made the purchase. Yes, slightly annoying, but we don't use our Discover Card that much and a computer is a fairly large purchase so I'm willing to deal with that. I'm curious about my high-risk activity message, but thinking it can't be that serious since they didn't call. I decide to search the web for my message before calling, and find a couple of blog posts which lead me to believe, it's nothing major. I call Citibank. The high-risk activity was apparently two $22.00 charges from Dave & Busters last night. Awesome.
We had met up with Patrick and his wife Marsha last night. Chris (and I) had worked with Patrick back at ORBCOMM and hadn't seen them since our wedding and who knows when before that. It was nice having the opportunity to catch up. Hopefully it won't be another three years before we see them again.
I've done a couple of birth announcements this summer. Julia:
Lily's mom saw the birth announcement I had done for Lilly and asked me to do one similiar for her Lily who was due a few months later.
I'm joining the crowd a little bit late and turning this blog Pink for October.
Why pink? And why October? October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Websites are turning pink for the month to call attention to and get people talking about the issue.
All the pictures are up from Alaska. The really don't do it justice. Chris looked at them and basically said they sucked in comparison to what we saw. There is nothing like being there and seeing it with your own eyes.