My Movember, 2012

As most of you know, when I try to grow facial hair, I tend to look like a 13 year old Guatemalan boy.  On estrogen.  With that said, for the last four years, every November I’ve been growing a moustache ridiculing myself for money. What is this madness? Why would I do something like this?  What drives me to continue?

Background – What is Movember?

From their website, Movember is:

… the month formerly known as November, where men and women across the globe join together to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues. Men grow and women support a Mo (moustache) for 30 days to become walking, talking billboards, for our men’s health causes – prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.

Men who support Movember, called Mo Bros, start by registering at Movember.com. Mo Bros start Movember 1st clean shaven, then grow and groom their Mo, for the rest of the month, raising money along the way. Women who support Movember, called Mo Sistas, also start by registering at Movember.com. Mo Sistas champion the Mo by supporting their Mo Bros, organizing events, leading a team and spreading the important message of men’s health.

So, basically, on Oct 31st, I shave off whatever facial hair I have, and attempt to grow a lip caterpillar, and then post updates to my Movember page.  I feel that if folks are ok with paying a comedian to make them laugh, they should have no problem paying me to let them laugh at me.

Why Do I Do This?

First and foremost, I had a bladder cancer scare a few years ago. If you have never dealt with the fear of possibly being in the grips of the horrible monster known as cancer, or even worse, been diagnosed with it, you don’t truly know where I’m coming from.  Being diagnosed yourself or having a family member/friend diagnosed is worse, obviously…but having to tell your loved ones, family and friends that you may have a disease that kills millions is one of the worst things I’ve ever had to experience.  Seeing the pain on their faces made my physical pain feel like being tickled.  Telling my wife that I might have cancer was one of the hardest, if not THE hardest thing, that I’ve ever done.  Same thing with my best friend. I’ll never forget sitting on my deck, telling him everything over a few beers, and seeing the tears in his eyes.  Those two experiences changed me, and I vowed that I would do what I could to help fight this disease.

Cancer affects millions of people.  I think it’s safe to say that anyone reading this has been affected by cancer.  Either they have been diagnosed with it, or they know someone that has.  It’s a horrible, crippling and an all around douchebag of a disease.

I don’t care if folks laugh at me. I am 1/8 Cherokee Indian, and through some awesome DNA dealings, I received the inability to grow facial and chest hair.  My friends know this, and poke fun all the time, and I don’t care.  I really don’t.  If I can post pictures of my shitty crumb catcher and get money to help fight cancer? Let’s do this!

I’m also very lucky to work somewhere that allows this.  My management is very forgiving when it comes to grooming standards (more on this later) and how I keep my facial hair.  Granted, they’ll make jokes and I’ll then ask for a donation.

Seriously, it all boils down to this:  it’s the least I can do.  If I can use my own self-deprecation to help kick cancer right in the jiggly bits, you are damn right I’ll do it.

My Friends Are Truly Assholes, and I Love Them

Why are my friends assholes?  Because 19 days into Movember, and countless posts on Facebook and Twitter, I had just a hair over $500.  I offered to further embarrass myself in the name of charity and my friends couldn’t separate themselves from their money fast enough.

On Monday, Nov 19, I posted this pic as an update:

I may (or may not have) had a few frothy adult beverages, and this conversation happened in the picture’s comments:

Rob’s twin sister had recently lost her job (and health benefits) and then was diagnosed with breast cancer. He’s been doing a hell of a job to help raise money for her, and I figured this was a way I could help. I texted Rob and after our conversation, I said if I got $500 within the next 24 hours, I’d do the mohawk.

At 9:46pm I posted the following on Facebook:

In coordination with Rob Betz, if I get $500 posted to my Movember (link below) by 9PM tomorrow night, I will do two things: First, I will shave my hair into a mohawk and post it here. Second, I will donate an additional $250 to Rob’s own charity for his sister: http://savingnancysfancies.com/

Bottom line: FUCK CANCER. Let’s destroy this disease.

I underestimated Mr Betz, as he pimped out my post like nothing I expected.  Well played sir ;)

On Tuesday, November 20, at 9:25am, not even 12 hours after I posted:

I had the $500. I was blown away.

Within 12 hours, I had $500 donated to fight cancer, but I had to shave my head into a mohawk, during a nasty cold spell.  Don’t care, got donations!  Special thanks to Mayson for pushing me over the edge in donations.  It figures it would be my best friend to push me over ;)

What now?

I am currently at $1600 for donations.  I would love nothing more than to break the $2000 mark, but at the same time I can’t believe I’ve gotten this much.  I am honestly humbled by people’s donations.  I’m a cynical prick most of the time.  Every time I see my Movember page, I smile, and my faith in humanity is restored a little bit.

Within 28 days we’ve all raised $1600 to beat cancer.  I’ve whored myself out with shitty facial hair.  I’ve probably annoyed folks on FB and Twitter with my posts.  I’ve shaved my head into a mohawk and I’d do EVERYTHING again in a heartbeat.  I hate cancer, and I want to do whatever I can to beat it.

This long ass post is just me typing a bunch of words to thank everyone that has donated.  You don’t know how much it means to me.  Be it a dollar or $300, I’m truly touched by the fact you thought enough to reach out and help.  I honestly don’t know what I can do to top this year, but I said the same thing when I raised $555 last year.  So, with that said, maybe we can do more? I don’t know.  From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone for their donations, for their patience with my posts, and for their understanding.

Thank you all.

 

Dan

Link to donate: http://us.movember.com/mospace/1203800

Am I Wrong In This Comparison?

This post is basically trailing off my last post:  http://dangilmore.com/?p=194

Please read the link above first, then read this one. [Read more...]

Religious Tolerance

THIS IS A RELIGIOUS POST WITH LANGUAGE!  CLICK THE LITTLE X BUTTON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ IT!

 

I grew up in Snellville, GA, a suburb of Atlanta.  I was raised as an Episcopalian; Catholic light, half the guilt. I was baptized around 10 years old, had read the bible, and learned Christianity mostly from my mom.  My dad? He was more of the mind that you are no more a Christian for going to church as you are a car if you are in a garage.  I learned a great deal about religion and Christianity as a child/teen.  One of the biggest lessons I learned was that Jesus was our savior and died for our sins.  He was also preaching love and forgiveness, and that God would be our final judge.  I kinda dug that.  A lot. [Read more...]

Beliefs are NOT Facts, and how NOT to poke the bear

I’m a veteran.  I spent eight years in the US Navy and I’m damn proud of that.  I spent eight years of my life defending the rights of US citizens to do what they want and be free.  One of the freedoms I helped protect is the freedom of speech. I fully understand that, and respect everyone’s right to their opinion.  For example, I happily sacrificed eight years for you to burn the American flag as a protest.  I have no problem with you burning Old Glory (with that said, you do it on my property, expect an ass-whoopin’).  Feel free to express your opinions about the current President or Congress, the wars we are fighting, or whatever is on your mind.

Say whatever is on your mind, but be careful: you just might think that your BELIEFS are FACTS.  When you come into an argument or debate with that sort of mindset, you WILL get owned.

Case in point….

I had no idea when I left the military in 1999 that social media, i.e, Facebook, Twitter, etc., would become such a prominent aspect of society. I also had no idea that social media would advertise how fucking stupid most of humanity has become.

I am part of a group on Facebook for former US Navy members that were CTs (Cryptologic Technicians).  There are a lot of old shipmates that I would like to find, so I’ve been subscribing to it.  A couple of days ago, someone started a new thread, and at the time of this writing, there are 30+ posts, with the following:

what a confused world we live in! Thank god to the end of 2011, I only hope 2012 is better!!

It only took two comments for it to get political.

Robert Berry You mean o’bumer getting impeached, Robert? That will make it better! Oops, he may not be a legal president; so, that can’t happen. Only a real president can get impeached, right?

Four more posts of the political hatred, and then this little gem:

Donald H. White Impeach the President? On what? Because you don’t like him? That sounds rational.
Having just scrapped together and spent $10K of my money for cataract surgeries and having NO insurance because (a) it’s not affordable and (b) I couldn’t use it for up to 12 months if I did buy a policy…I have to respectfully disagree. Before the so-called “Obamacare,” there was nothing.

Two more posts down, we get Kristen.  She says:

Kristen McFarland Don’t like him Donald?…can I ask a question…why are you introducing politics into this? I didn’t think this site was supposed to have a political flavor to it.. You brought it up…why??? To shut everyone down? So no one could dispute your personal observation?…we all know we’re not supposed to bring this up here..why did you??? No one and I repeat no one likes Obama…and probably not even you..I served under Jimmy Carter..you wanna talk about embarrassing? Obama is a thousand times worse than Carter could have ever dreamt of of being…and I have to sympathize with anyone who serves in our military at this time in our history…because he hates our military without question…unlike Carter who abided it because he’d been in it for a number of years…do you realize what Obama’s doing to our health care? Healthcare we were guaranteed would ours for the remainder of our lives if we served for twenty years…well, honey, stays forever and Obama’s thinking of ways not only not to give us a cost of living allowance (COLA) and he hasn’t for three years now, but also how not to pay us our pensions…how does that grab ya??? And not to be outdone, he’s dreaming up ways to deny Medicare to our seniors…I’ll be there in fairly short order…but I ain’t going down without a fight, let me tell ya…k

A few posts later, I finally chime in with:

Dan GilmoreKristen McFarland – I see 5 comments of political nature before Donald H. White commented. Also, there are people who like Obama, so your rash generalizations fall flat.

Apparently Kristen felt a bit froggy that day.  I’m really happy she did.  She showed her stupidity with grandeur.

Kristen McFarland My generalizations?; newsflash Dan G. if you have ever been in the military, and I could tend to doubt that, from the comment you not only didn’t like Carter you definitely don’t like Obama…when you make sweeping generalizations about my comments, you’re the one who falls flat on your own face…Obama has no liking for anything military, including those who are in the military now or were ever in the military…and if you collect a retirement, you’d know that for a fact…don’t make idiotic comments yourself, if you don’t actually have something factual to back it up with..I don’t suffer fools gladly and I don’t especially care about someone who makes themselves look even stupider than you just did…k

For the record, I immediately “liked” her comment.  Here’s why:

Dan Gilmore Kristen – You make me laugh. I simply pointed out that there were five comments of political nature, yet you singled out Donald. You are simply wrong when you state that “No one and I repeat no one likes Obama”. You have no facts to base that on.

You then decided to personally attack me. Ok, that’s fine. I served in the US Navy in order to defend your right to speak your mind. Here is my response:

YOU made a sweeping generalization, and when called on it, you decided to childishly attack me.

YOU asked me for facts, yet you have yet to provide any of your own.

YOU doubt that I was in the military, but ask yourself this: Why would I be in a US Navy Cryptologic Tech group? Oh, I served 8 years and was honorably discharged as a CTO2. I guess since I didn’t retire I am not worthy?

YOU said I made “idiotic comments”. Please elaborate and explain how anything I said is idiotic. No, really, I’ll wait.

How DARE you think you are in some position to judge anyone else when you have about a fifth grade level grasp of grammar.

I liked your previous response because it shows the rest of this group how ignorant you truly are. For the record, I have yet to post anything about my likes/dislikes of the current POTUS, or any other POTUS, or government official.

In conclusion, and with all due respect, you don’t know a damned thing about me so do us all a favor and kindly shut, and grow, the fuck up.

I posted that at 10:38am yesterday, and received four “likes” on the comment.  She has not returned to the group.

I don’t know this Kristen person.  I don’t care to.  My whole point in this is that you better have your shit together before making yourself look like a complete asshole…in front of your shipmates.  If you want to speak about stuff that you believe in, you should realize that your beliefs are NOT facts.  They are opinions.

Oh, and learn how to debate.

The full thread can be read here, an open group on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/38517957251/10150471198262252/

Feel free to comment.

Serving is Serving…Regardless of Sexuality

This post is probably going to piss off some people, and quite frankly, I don’t give a shit.

Most of the folks reading this will have come here from Facebook, and if you are my friend there, you pretty much know my stance on a lot of issues.  Especially when it comes to gay rights.  I couldn’t care less if two men like to have sex, or if two women get it on.  Personally, I prefer women, and the key point is that it’s my personal preference.  I will never judge people for what they do in the privacy of their own bedroom.

Especially if they have willingly signed over their lives for our country.

Today, I posted on Facebook: “I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder to have served in the US Navy.” and linked to the article about the first Navy homecoming kiss between two women. The kiss was a light peck and honestly, I’d want a heterosexual couple to keep it just as quick.

I was greatly disappointed by a family member who commented “Just plain wrong to me”.  I know this person reads my Facebook posts, and will most likely see this link, and I hope they read it.

There is one thing that is guaranteed to bring me to tears, and that’s to see service members being reunited with their loved ones after a deployment.  I’ll be the first to admit that a naval deployment isn’t normally as dangerous as an Army or Marine deployment, as we were generally stationed in waters well away from direct fire.  This isn’t to take away the sacrifices that the Navy families and their loved ones have suffered.  Seeing families be reunited is like hitting my “insta-cry” button. That includes the traditional homecoming kiss.

Why should anyone give a flying fuck if it’s two women?  Or two men?  If you are pissed that they are gay, keep in mind that they are putting their GAY lives on the line for you to have the freedom of speech to hate them for it.

I gave eight years of my life to my country to protect the right of free speech.  I proudly served in order for people to proudly spew their homophobic bullshit.

My Religious Beliefs

They may not sit well with you.  Or you over there.  Yeah, you.

Organized religion kills

I do not like organized religion.  This does not mean that I am not a Christian, or that I do not believe in God or that Jesus is my personal savior.  It simply means that I do not like an organization that has perpetuated its existence through war, rape, murder and conquering lesser developed groups of people.  The Crusades, all nine of them, from 1095 to 1272, was mass murder blessed by the Pope and the Vatican.  The Trail of Tears, 1830-1835, was one of the most despicable things done by our own US government.  By 1837, over 46,000 of these “Godless heathens”, who were here first by the way, were forced out of their homes and relocated to present-day Oklahoma.

Those are just two examples of organized religion doing bad things, specifically Christianity.  There are a ton of other examples, but not only from Christianity, but from EVERY religion.  Jesus taught forgiveness.  He also said that God is the only true judge.  How arrogant is any organized religion to believe they are justified to judge above God?

Respect each other’s beliefs

Many of my closest friends don’t truly know my religious beliefs.  Why is that? Because they are mine.  It’s kind of like folks knowing the size and shape of my penis.  It’s mine (ok, and Nancy’s), and it’s none of your business.  I keep my beliefs private, and frankly, I wish more people would as well.  If you have faith, good for you.  If you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or whatever, good for you.  I seriously mean that, and I write it with no sarcasm intended at all.

My mom is a very devout Christian, and while we can debate theology, she is extremely open minded.  She practices tolerance.  I firmly believe that Jesus practiced tolerance as well.  I’m convinced that if Jesus were to come back today, he would condemn so-called Christians that spout that ALL Muslims are terrorists.  Just because someone’s religion doesn’t agree with you, and some bad apples of another religion fly planes into buildings and kill ~3000 people doesn’t mean that EVERY member of said religion is a cold-blooded murderer that hates freedom, puppy dogs, and boobies.

Please be tolerant on Facebook

I have many friends on Facebook that will post content that promotes their religion.  “Keep Christ in Christmas” is currently the big one this time of year.  I know that if I posted a response, showing that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, but that it was the Christian church incorporating Pagan celebrations to help get more followers, I would piss off a lot of folks.

It seems to me, on Facebook, that it’s okay to profess your love of Jesus and/or God, but if I were to post ANYTHING that doesn’t jive with your beliefs, I’m being offensive.  This boils down to the simple cliche of “You can dish it out, but can’t take it”.  If you think it’s okay to post about how great your religion is, you should be tolerant of folks that don’t believe.  We go back to that whole thing about Jesus forgiving folks.

In the same vein, I will NEVER degrade you or your beliefs.  We go back again to respect.  Have respect for others’ beliefs.  The golden rule.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (or something like that).  I will see some nonsensical shit being spewed on Facebook, but will look at it, realize that the person truly believes it, and let it go.  I respect their views even thought I don’t agree with them.

I think we should all do such a thing.

Bottom line….

Tolerance.  Don’t judge.  It’s not your place.  Acceptance. Accept acceptance.  It will make your life easier to live.

 

 

Programatically Changing Users’ Roles in WordPress Multisite

Background:

I inherited three different WordPress installations (each one on a separate closed network) from a developer that was leaving our contract for a government civilian position.  I had a grand total of five days to pick his brain about WordPress, and our infrastructure.  It sucked, greatly.

We had two custom Roles in our installations: Blog Owner, and Team Admin.  Blog Owner (listed as ‘owner’ in the database) was the role assigned to the Administrator of a personal blog (a blog with only one user, and said user was the administrator).  Team Admin (listed as ‘teamadmin’ in the database) was the role assigned to users that were Administrators for a “Team Blog”, basically a blog with multiple user accounts associated to it.  Why did we go this way? I have no clue.  I was not part of our organization at that point.

When I upgraded everything to WordPress 3.2.1, Administrators, Blog Owners and Team Admin’s seemed to lose some abilities.  In particular, they did not have the ‘edit_theme_options’, or ‘list_users’ capability.  Upon further research, it seems that I now have two major problems:  The upgrades did not recognize my custom roles, and thereby did not apply the appropriate capabilities to those roles. I looked through the database and saw that I’d have to change over 9,000 records in the wp_usermeta table, on one network alone.

Did I mention that on one network I have over 6,590 blogs, with over 12,000 users?  Yeah, that’s a lot of user editing that I would not do by hand.

Solution:

After much discussion via Twitter, I came up with the following little piece of code that is working for me, and I hope it helps with others.  With regards to the paths, I have this as a php page in a subdirectory of the home directory of our WordPress installation, hence the ‘../’ in each require statement.  Edit that as you need.

global $wpdb;
ini_set("display_errors", "1");
define("WP_INSTALLING", true);
require('../wp-config.php');
require('../wp-blog-header.php');
require('../wp-includes/registration.php');
get_header();
/*
*  Edit this variable to reflect the custom role you want to change.
*/
$role_to_update = 'a:1:{s:5:\"owner\";b:1;}';
$results = $wpdb->get_results("select * from wp_usermeta where meta_value=". $role_to_update .";", ARRAY_A);
if (is_array($results))
{
foreach ($results as $result)
{
//  This line pulls out the blog_id from the meta_key, i.e., 'wp_BLOGID_capabilities'
$blogid = mb_substr($result['meta_key'], strpos($result['meta_key'], '_') +1, strrpos($result['meta_key'], '_') -3 );
$user_id = $result['user_id'];
switch_to_blog($blogid);
$user = new WP_User($user_id);
//  Make sure you have the correct role here that you want to remove.
$user->remove_role('owner');
$user->add_role('administrator');
restore_current_blog();
}
}
echo "DONE!";

This is quick, dirty, and ugly, but it’s working for me. I would LOVE feedback on how to do this better, cleaner and/or more efficient!

You Can Help, You Just Might Not Know It Yet

I have been a WordPress developer for about 3 years, coming from a .NET background.

I run three different installations of (finally) WordPress 3.2.1 on three separate networks.

I converse on a daily basis with some of the best and brightest of WordPress developers, from the hobbyist to the WordPress core developers.

I have been repeatedly invited down to Washington D.C. to have dinner and/or beer and catch a Caps hockey game with one of the core devs who is also an Automattic employee.

I was asked to present at a potential WordPress conference in D.C. about how the Intelligence Community uses WordPress.

I have in my iPhone the number to the author of one of the biggest selling WordPress technical books available (Two editions!).  I was interviewed for those books.  In fact, he may or may not owe me money…need to look into that again.

I met Matt Mullenweg. I had a beer with him in San Francisco.  I told him how I utilize WordPress in my professional career, and he said “WordPress is used in the Intelligence Community? COOL!”  That’s pretty much one of the coolest things that could have been said to me.

With all of that said:  None of that goes to my head.  I am not trying to brag, just making a big point.

I am a newb, a functional WordPress idiot. 

Compared to all of those folks above (and many more folks), I am pretty much a drunken silverback gorilla trying to create source code with one hand behind my back and my good thumb removed.  I ask people questions about WordPress multiple times a day via Twitter.  I’m like your best friend’s little brother tugging on your shirt sleeve asking “Hey, can I play too?!?!?”  That’s how I see myself.  I know we all start at the bottom, and I’ve received nothing but awesome help from everyone involved in the WordPress community.

I was mentioned by Jane Wells in a her blog post “In Praise of the Forums”.  She makes really good points about how we, as a community, need to help each other, and the WordPress.org Support Forums are a great place to help out. Personally, if I post a question in the forums, I try to answer/comment on at least five threads.  I may not be able to fix a person’s problem, but at the very least, I’ll steer that person in the right direction.  The best case scenario is that I fix the person’s problem and learn something in the process.  Win-Win.

Now, what’s with the title of this post?  Well, don’t scare the newbs.  When I first started going to the forums, it was to leach knowledge.  I was scared and intimidated to provide help.  I won’t rehash what Jane posted, but it all boiled down to “Holy crap, the mod’s know 109348 times more stuff than me, so I’ll let them handle it”.

I was way wrong.

We, as a community, need fresh blood helping out in the forums.  Just because you haven’t had a slew of core edits added to trac doesn’t mean you can’t help out.  There are a lot of simple fixes.  You, as a WordPress dev, may be surprised at how much you could help.  Please, take 5-10 minutes out of your day, scroll through the threads, and see if you have any ideas  on how to help out someone else.

In the small amount of time that I’ve been on the forums I’ve been hit up on Twitter asking for help.  That kind of blew my mind.  Someone wanted my help.

I’m contributing, however I can. Contributing to a much bigger thing.  It feels good, and it really made me smile.

 

 

Multisite Blog Lifecycle Audit – My First WordPress Plugin…or not?

So I’ve been inspired to write a plugin for WordPress after attending my first WordCamp San Francisco.  I wanted to help contribute back to the WordPress community, but my chops for helping contribute to core code are not good enough.  With that said, I figured I would look for something I need at work that is currently lacking in WordPress and see if I could figure it out myself.

I work as a consultant for the federal government, and without going too much into it, the gov’t requires a LOT of paperwork.  One of the things I’d like to have in my multisite installations is an audit log of when a blog is created, deleted, and also when users are added/removed from blogs.  Anything that you would think an IT security person would want logs of.

Currently, it’s easy to see when a blog is created.  Sadly, when a blog is deleted, it’s just nuked from orbit.  My quick fix is to log to a text file, but that is scattered across multiple web servers, so I wanted to put it into the database. I found the Audit Trail plugin, and it does a bunch of logging, but not exactly the operations I want.  Specifically, addition/deletion of blogs, and adding/removing of users to blogs.

My current boggle is this: Do I modify Johnny5‘s to include the new functionality, or do I use this as a learning experience, start slow and small, and just create what I need?  I’m of the mind of the latter, just to learn more about creating plugins, and basically coding in WordPress.

Your thoughts?

WordCamp San Francisco – A Conference That Changed My Brain

Here I am at home, near Baltimore, MD, blasting some metal music (Machine Head & Trivium, just in case you were wondering, @jarret) while typing this, and I really can’t get this shit-eating-grin off my face. WordCamp San Francisco 2011 was beyond anything that I could have imagined. I was in a town car going from my hotel to the San Francisco airport on Sunday morning, looking at Twitter, and following the #WCSF hashtag, and I realized that I was going to miss a lot of information on the last day. I’m not going to lie: I wanted to turn the car around and figure out the airline issues later. So much had happened since Thursday night that I realized that I’d be missing out on too much. Unfortunately, I never tapped the driver on the shoulder. This post is a thank you to everyone that made this WordCamp possible, and to the folks that make the WordPress community so damned awesome.

I am on Twitter and follow a good number of WordPress folks, but I was sincerely apprehensive about flying across the country and being with about a thousand folks smarter than me. I tweeted my anxiety about going to the annual WordPress conference, and I received a response from Jane Wells, one of the people involved in setting this whole thing up. While it made me feel a little bit better, I still didn’t know many people, or who I to hang out with during my time in San Francisco. Why was I worried about that? I knew that San Francisco would be teeming with people that I could learn from. I was just too scared to approach anyone. I’ve have what I think is a good online relationship with a ton of WordPress folks, but again, it’s all online. I’m sure you all felt the same apprehension when you attended your first WordCamp, so I hope I’m not alone. With all that said, I would like to now thank a handful of folks that made my first WordCamp San Francisco one of my best experiences, both professionally and personally.

Aaron Brazell@technosailor

I “met” Aaron via a co-worker when he still lived in Maryland, a few years back. I had no idea that he was writing The WordPress Bible, nor did I know how damned smart he was. I needed a way to prevent all users from changing how permalinks were displayed, and Andrea Baker pointed me in his direction. He posted a comment on my blog, giving me the full code of an Mu-plugin that prevented users from changing the permalink option (or any option, really). Since then, he and I have chatted via Twitter, Facebook, and on the phone about a multitude of things, but we’ve never had the chance to sit down and chat (especially over beer).

This changed on the Thursday I arrived in San Francisco. We had made plans to meet up at The 21st Amendment Brewery and have a few beers. We had beer and chatted WordPress, the Ravens, but mainly had beer. It was awesome. Then the next two folks wandered into the bar…

Ryan Duff@ryancduff

I knew Ryan on Twitter via Aaron. At first impression, he was a pretty quiet laid back dude that didn’t say much. That changed quickly :) He’s very smart about a lot of WordPress stuff, and has a very quick wit. I had to make sure he wasn’t a Steeler’s fan, though, being from Harrisburg, PA…

Andy Stratton@theandystratton

I actually didn’t know about Andy until the week of WCSF when I saw a retweet from Ryan Duff about Andy possibly hiring WordPress devs in the Baltimore area. I’m not looking for another job, but I loved the idea that Baltimore had some WordPress developers living here. Andy, Ryan, Aaron and I sat and drank a few while waiting on the next guest…

Melanie Nelson@sfgirl

Melanie is awesome. I don’t now how else to put it. She arrived about an hour after the four of us were deep into WordPress talk (and beer) and she jumped right into it. She’s also very pretty (don’t beat me Aaron!). The five of us sat around for a couple hours and talked WordPress, WordPress people, and had a grand old time. The kicker? I hadn’t known her for more than two hours, but her and Aaron drove me back to my hotel. It was a cheap taxi fare back to the Hilton on O’Farrell, but the fact she said “Get in the car, Dan” with such authority made me respect her like +100.

Otto@Otto42

I didn’t know anything about Otto until Saturday morning when I was talking to Aaron before the first session. Now that I’ve learned about him, I feel like a total WordPress newb. Aaron introduced us, and somehow the talk went to beer (shocker!). Now that I’ve talked to Otto in depth about beer, I now need to go find Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. He says it’s good. Since he’s a homebrewer, I’m going to trust him.

He was also one of my favorite presenters at #WCSF, apparently reprising the Nacin & Otto show from Montreal(?)

Sara Rosso@rosso

Sara presented the first session on Friday, about the WordPress Ecosystem. She works for Automattic, and introduced me to the VIP options within WordPress. I broke my “ask a question at a WordCamp session” cherry by asking a question that I have completely forgotten now.

After the session, I did meet up with her and ask about government contracts and whether WordPress.com has any current contracts. They do, but not in my realm of the government. I will be emailing her soon about possibly getting a WordPress brainiac on contract :)

Andrew Nacin@nacin

This dude is not human. He’s a robot. Hence @nacinbot. Seriously, Nacin (that’s how I know him) is a machine when it comes to WordPress code. He and I connected via Twitter after last year’s WordCamp Baltimore, and also because we’re both fans of the Washington Capitals. He’s been trying to get me to go to the WordPress DC Meetup, and after #WCSF, I finally rogered up to going. I can’t wait to sit there and pick his brain about WordPress (and feed him beer).

Mark Jaquith@markjaquith

Mark is another WordPress developer that I can’t talk enough about (without sounding like a stalker). I use his Subscribe to Comments plugin at work, and I thank him for it daily (in my head). When I realized he’d be hosting a session at #WCSF, I knew I had to be there. Then I read what it was about: Scaling WordPress in the Enterprise. With over 12 thousand blogs on one server, I felt the need to attend his session. I took literally four pages of notes. One of the best lines from his session: “VCS or GTFO”. Just that on a slide. Sadly, I’m going to be hard pressed to get the government to go along with all of the great ideas I brought back.

Also, Mark is like six foot twenty, and his hair is epically awesome.

Jane Wells@Janeforshort

As I said above, Jane helped to calm me before my trip. While I was not able to bake cookies, I was somewhat calmed. From what I could tell, being my first WCSF, she did one hell of a job coordinating a conference for about a thousand web dorks. On top of that, she was part of sessions, and made it out to the happy hours. It’s the COMMUNITY of WordPress that makes me happy, more than the software. Folks like Jane, and anyone that coordinates the WordCamps need to be praised more than they are. Jane? Please let me buy you booze the next time we meet at a WordCamp?

Brian Gardner@bgardner

I only met Brian in passing while I was smoking a cig outside Pedro’s, but he’s pretty much the man at Studiopress.com with the Genesis Framework. I had tweeted him about a month ago, asking if I could use Genesis on *any* website I admin’d and he said yes. To me, coming from a Microsoft background, that sounded too good to be true. I asked him if it was ok to use the themes on my clients site, and he said “Oh, I thought I responded to your tweet?” To which I responded: “Yeah, but that sounded too good to be true.” He just smiled and said “Go ahead, man” with a bigger smile than what’s in his Twitter profile pic. Again, coming from a Microsoft background, this blew my mind.

Jarret@Jarret

I’ve only known Jarret via Twitter, and I knew of him via @andrea_r and @ipstenu in our tweets about WordPress Multi-site. He’s a really cool dude, metal-head, and sadly, I only had about 10 minutes to chat with him outside the 21st Amendment. I can’t wait to get back out to the west coast and have a few beers with him, and pick his brain too.

Matt Mullenweg@photomatt

There’s really no better way to explain this. I was drinking with Aaron and Melanie, and as I got drunker, I saw some other WordPress folks on the other side of the bar. One of them was Mr Mullenweg (that’s how I thought of him, since his code pretty much affords me a living, and we’d never met) and a slew of core contributors. I took the picture up top later in the evening. Without those folks, WordPress wouldn’t be where it is today. From left to right: Matt Mullenweg, Mark Jaquith, (someone I need to meet next WordCamp), Jane Wells, Daryl Koopersmith, and Nacin.

I remember walking over to where Matt was hanging out, and there was a bar stool open next to him. I sat down, and while a couple of other folks recognized me and nodded their heads, Matt was talking to somebody about a particular part of the WordPress code, and I didn’t want to interrupt. Once there was a break in the conversation, I offered him my hand and introduced myself. The only way I can describe the meeting to non-WordPress folks is this: Imagine meeting someone that helped create something that you now make your living on. That’s what I was feeling. This guy, younger then me by 10 years, created something that I am now using to support my living.

I explained to Matt how I used WordPress: I run WordPress on three different closed networks for the Intelligence Community, but sadly it’s not up to the latest version (We’re using WPMu 2.8.6…don’t hate, it’s the gov’t). Matt said something to the effect of “The IC is using WordPress? COOL!”

My weekend?

Made.

Conclusion

All in all, WordCamp San Francisco changed my life. I know that sounds like some emo/hipster cliche, but it’s true. I had no idea there were so many people out there that had such a passion for a little web app like this. I met so many cool and smart people. I realized that they devote a large part of their life to this open source codebase. They make it their mission to make WordPress a better product.

I’ve been inspired and motivated. I want to contribute to the core code. I want to make WordPress better. How am I going to do that? I have no idea. I’m going to try and make a plugin first. I contribute to the WordPress.org forums and help where I can. I’m going to continue to communicate with the WordPress community, because honestly, there’s no better software community out there.

Thank you, WordPress Community, for welcoming little old me into your arms. I can’t wait to contribute more.