Category Archives: Personal

Rock Band 4 can eat a bag of Hell….

It really pains me to post this, because I’ve been excited about this game for months…since around March…but….

Fuck Rock Band 4. Harmonix really phoned this shit in this time….They got an easy $250 from me and I would warn anyone else out there to wait until it’s in the bargain bin to get it.

The game plays fine, but there’s really nothing new (that I like), other than the fact I have a new drum set. Here’s what’s bothered me so far:

  • Freestyle Guitar Solo – No…just …no. If I’m playing a song, don’t let me ad-lib the solo. Play the effing solo like it’s supposed to be played. It comPLETEly threw me off when that came in…
  • Freestyle mode, to me, as a software developer, seems like an easy way out. “Hey, play like you want!” to me sounds like “We don’t wanna spend time mapping out the solos”. Oh, wait, that’s EXACTLY what the devs said in this:
  • I have to turn off Freestyle Guitar Solo EVERY TIME I LOG IN
  • The drums pads no longer control the XBOX
  • The ONLY thing you can do with the XBOX button on the drums is power off the CONSOLE.
  • There is no way to power off the wireless drums other than popping out a battery or letting it power itself off.
  • Harmonix said we could import all of our DLC. There is literally NO OPTION to do that……yet.
  • The on-disc songs are….meh….I was mostly excited about playing my DLC on XBONE…no idea when I can do that.
  • For pre-ordering the game, I got 30+ free songs. I input the code successfully and received this: “Congratulations, you now own Rock Band 4!”. Uh, no shit.
  • As the individual songs were downloading, they crashed RB4.

After the 3rd crash, I just said fuck it and powered everything off and started typing this. It’s a damn shame because once you start playing the songs, especially on drums, they are really fun. Unfortunately, the development put into RB4 is a MAJOR step back from any of the other releases, and after paying $250 for the game, and all new instruments, I feel robbed.


My wife, Nancy, has been best friends with Melissa for over 20 years. They were college roommates and their friendship has only grown since college.

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 6.54.03 PM

Nancy and Melissa

Yesterday, Nancy and I attended a “Life Celebration” for Melissa’s mom, Honey, who passed away on July 15th. The very first thing I learned yesterday was that her name was Victoria, or Vicki. I’m sure that at some point I had learned her name, but in the past 15 years, I’ve only known her by her nickname Honey, so that’s how she will always be remembered to me.

It was held in a private room at a bar near where she lived, and attended by friends and family. It was much like a traditional wake, minus the over-indulgence in booze that sometimes happens at other wakes.

Melissa and Honey

Melissa and Honey, on my wedding day, May 22, 1999

One of the planned events was to have folks tell personal stories about Honey that that others might want to hear. I absolutely had one story that was funny as hell, but not appropriate for that time or place. I brought it up to Melissa and we both laughed about the story, but agreed it shouldn’t be told there.

Maybe a post at a later date.

About 30-40 minutes into the stories from family and friends, I started to get choked up and excused myself. I realized I actually DID have a story that should/could be shared, so that’s what this post is about. I also realized that

  • my own unique way of telling stories verbally means that it usually takes 10-15 minutes to tell a 3 minutes story, and
  • I would never have been able to keep my composure enough to even keep it to 15 minutes

This is the story I wanted to tell yesterday, but was not able to because I became a blithering idiot just formulating the story in my mind.

Continue reading

The Man Kiss Incident

I was stationed in Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico from August of 1994 to October of 1996. It was my second duty station in the Navy and I loved pretty much everything about it. I was 20 years old when I got there, and for the next 2+ years….well, I’d like to say that I could remember all of it, but that would be a lie. There are a lot of fuzzy memories down there.  But one of the best memories is when I was first kissed by a man.

That last sentence is pretty much the weirdest sentence I’ve ever typed.


In the early summer of 1995, I met one Aurelio Luis Perez-Lugones (that’s his full name….I had to type out his full name because, come on…that’s one bitchin’ name!). He went by the nickname “Odie”, because apparently at one of his earlier duty stations he was known to get drunk and lick the foreheads of his drinking buddies, like Odie would do in the Garfield comics.

Don’t ask…just run with it…we did.

He came on board as our LPO (Leading Petty Officer – the senior E-6 in our division) and lived in the barracks until his wife Kim was transferred to Puerto Rico a few months later.  Odie and I got along really well personally, and I introduced him to the rest of the degenerates that lived in the barracks.  There were many a night where we’d all sit around at the E-Club shooting the shit or drinking beer in the smoking area between the barracks.

In September of 95, Petty Officer First Class Perez-Lugones was selected for Chief Petty Officer. This was right around when his wife Kim reported on board for duty. Kim was an E-6 as well, and ran our IT department. For those that don’t know, being promoted from E-6 to E-7 in the Navy is a huge deal, and it means that fraternization rules come into play. A Chief can’t fraternize with subordinates like they could as an E-6 or below. This was my first experience with a friend being promoted to the point that it affected our friendship. It sucked on so many levels. Odie was one of my best friends, and while I was ecstatic that he made Chief, I knew our friendship was about to change.

He was no longer “Odie”, he was “Chief”.  I respected the hell out of him and was extremely happy for him that he got promoted. The one beef I had was that we couldn’t hang out as much as we had in the past. To each of our credits, we figured out how to hang out and have fun and not get in trouble.

For the most part….


In late September of 1996, a Hail & Farewell was set up for me at the Enlisted Club on base. Kim had been promoted to Chief as well. Same friendship, but the same rules applied to her as it did with Odie: she was “Chief”, not “Kim”, for the most part.

For enlisted, a Hail & Farewell is essentially a going away party set up by your division. I’m pretty sure that Odie & Kim helped set it up. My Hail & Farewell was scheduled to start at 4pm at the E-club on a Friday afternoon. I got there a little before 4pm, and of course there were a few friends already there. I hadn’t had a Hail & Farewell before, so even early on I felt like this was going to be a special night.

Around 4:30, most of my coworkers were at the club, almost everyone in uniform, having just come from work. This duty station wasn’t strictly US Navy.  There was a large contingent of US Marine Corps that served as physical security. The USMC guys were mostly very young, this being their first duty station out of boot camp and their tech (MOS, for the military types) school.

Even though it was the Enlisted Club, officers would come in for special occasions such as this. My Division Officer, an amazing lieutenant named Krista (that is her first name…I’m not using her last name to protect the innocent), came in and sat down with my new LPO, CTO1(SW) Rich McGurr.  I remember that Rich was drinking tequila in his dress whites. That stands out to me because I hardly ever saw him drink at the club. The three of us sat there and chatted about my time in Puerto Rico, and were having a good time.

About two hours later, we’re all still there, and many more friends have shown up. Odie, Kim, Rudy, Kat, and many more folks came by to celebrate my going away. We are having a damn good time, joking and reminiscing about the fun times in the 2+ years I had been stationed there. I’m drinking, smoking, and hanging out with friends, regardless of their ranks.

Rich is still drinking tequila. Krista is still drinking beer. I’m still drinking….something.

At some point, Krista mentioned the friendship between Odie and I.  She said something to the effect of “Chief Perez seems to be really friendly with everyone that he was friends with before his promotion, and not letting his promotion go to his head.”  Rich and I immediately agreed. Odie has always had a way about him that he can be both the asshole that he needs to be, but at the same time, completely humble.

It’s really hard to not like that sumbitch.

Full disclosure here…at this point I was well into the cups, and some of the details of the event still elude me to this day.  I can only tell the story how I remember it. It might not be 100% true, but it’s still damned funny.


I have no idea how we got on the topic, but Krista made mention of how well Odie, Kim, myself and the rest of the enlisted got along both in and outside of work.  Pretty sure the alcohol was in full effect when she jokingly dared me to kiss Odie. Rich and I chuckled, but she looked at us and said something like “C’mon, you two are such good friends that this would be hysterical! C’mon, Dan, go give Odie a kiss!”  Notice that she used my first name, instead of my rank and last name? Yeah, that’s booze!

I looked to Rich for guidance, out of instinct, and he just kind of shook his head and laughed. I looked back at my LT and was honestly surprised by her candor. That’s when she raised a single eyebrow and cocked her head.

I didn’t have a problem at all with the idea of walking over to my Chief and giving him a pop kiss on the lips. The shock value alone would be comedy gold. Odie was currently in his Chief khaki uniform schooling some low ranked Marines in how to play pool. I was just a little taken aback that Krista dared me to do it. I’ve done worse things for less dares.

Now it’s getting serious…


So Krista dared me to go up and kiss my Chief. She owned the dare, leaning back in her chair and looking at me like I didn’t have the stones to do it. I looked over at Rich, and he smiled and shook his head at me, as if to say “Dan, this is on you. She dared you to do this…not me”.

Krista smirked, still leaning back, and crossed her arms in front of her chest, as if waiting to see what I’d do. Well, when men are young, we tend to do really stupid things. I’m trying to save some face here and trying to think of some loophole to get me out of this dare, when Rich finally breaks his silence.

“LT, if you want Petty Officer Gilmore to shit or get off the pot, you need to ‘triple dog dare’ him to do it”, Rich said.

I looked at Rich like he had just slapped my mom. My first thought was “You traitorous sumbitch”, but I just stared at him, until I heard Krista chuckle. I’ll never know if the chuckle was for Rich’s reply or my reaction, but either way, she forged ahead.

“Petty Officer Gilmore….I triple dog dare you to go kiss Chief Perez!”, she said, and then leaned back to take another drink. There was no way out now. I either had to admit complete and total defeat in front of two of my supervisors that I respected immensely, or put on my big boy pants and do what needed to be doing.



Odie was in his khaki uniform, shooting pool with a bunch of Marines, all of them at least 10 years younger than him. I put out my Marlboro Red, chugged the last of my beer, and stood up. I looked Rich directly in the eyes, my face solid as stone. He looked at me with a reaction that said “Hey, what’d I do?”.

“Rich, when the waitress comes around again, can you order me another beer….you at least owe me that!”, I said. I looked over at Krista, and she was still tight lipped, apparently wondering what the hell I was about to do. I remember thinking “Dammit, Dan…Rich has the right of it…I need to shit or get off the pot”, so I turned around, and walked up to Odie.

As I came up behind him, he had just finished taking a pool shot and was giving some Privates some shit. He turned around and said “Oh, hi, Dan!”.

I leaned in and gave him a pop kiss on the lips.

The look on the Marines was absolutely priceless. They were just kind of stunned. They didn’t move or say a word, and some of them just looked at us with their jaw on the floor.

“What was that for?” Odie asked.

“Krista triple dog dared me to do it” I responded. Some of the bystanders started laughing, wondering what Odie’s response would be. He actually threw his head back and laughed. I turned around and looked at Krista and Rich and they were both laughing as were a great deal of other folks. I’m thinking that I’m good and I won the dare! WOOHOO!


U.S. Navy sailor Glenn Edward McDuffie (L) kisses a nurse in Times Square in an impromptu moment at the close of World War Two, after the surrender of Japan was announced in New York August 14, 1945. A man who claimed to the sailor seen in the iconic photograph kissing a nurse in New York's Times Square to mark the end of World War Two, has died in Texas at the age of 86, the Houston Chronicle reported on Friday. Glenn Edward McDuffie, who was 18 at the time of the famed "kiss" photo taken in August 1945, spent most of his post-war years in Houston and will be buried in a veteran's cemetery in Dallas, the paper quoted his family members as saying. Picture taken August 14, 1945. REUTERS/Victor Jorgensen/US Navy/Handout via Reuters  (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY MEDIA) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Much like this…

In a completely serious and deadpan voice, Odie said “You think that’s a kiss? THIS is a kiss!” He then embraced me in a hug, used one of his legs to kick the back of one of my knees and dip me backwards, and proceeded to give me a REAL kiss…tongue and all.

Odie pulled me back up and our audience ERUPTED in laughter.

I could only stand there, holding onto the pool table for balance and think “Ok, THAT just happened”.  Odie asked if I was ok and hugged me. I realized the humor of it all and then I absolutely lost it in laughter.

For the rest of the night, folks came up to me and/or Odie and commented on how funny the whole scene was. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a more memorable scene for a Hail & Farewell.


All the above happened on a Friday night. My next watch was Saturday night’s midwatch, so I left work at 0700 on Sunday morning. When I got back to base, I went over to get my mail. The Post Office was attached to the base’s gym, and also a little short order deli-like restaurant. So I’m sitting on a bench reading my mail, eating some breakfast and Kim rides up on her bicycle to check mail.

She gets off her bike, looks directly at me, points, and shouts “HOMEWRECKER!!” For a second there, I was scared as hell, then she started laughing. I kinda feel bad for the short order cook that witnessed it, because he didn’t know wtf had happened.


On Monday morning, the end of my second midwatch, I did my usual turnover and was about to go home. As I walked out of the comm center, Krista was walking in. She asked me to grab Rich and meet her in her office. This was a very odd request, but when your Division Officer tells you to something, you do it.

Rich and I sat in front of Krista’s desk and neither of us had an idea what was going to happen. Situations like this usually led to an ass chewing. Rich and I prepared for it.

“I completely and totally apologize for my actions on Friday night”, Krista said.

Rich and I looked at her, at each other, and back at her. I was confused. Everything that had happened was all in good fun, and there shouldn’t have been any apologies from anyone. Krista said that Odie was on leave, and she’d have to apologize to him in person at a later date. She said that she was completely out of line to ask me to do something like she asked. I was even more confused.

“Permission to speak freely?” I asked.

“Permission granted, Petty Officer Gilmore,” she responded.

“What the fuck, ma’am? I don’t need – nor want – your apology. I have absolutely no issue with what went down, and I don’t think anyone else should either” I said.

It turns out that our Commanding Officer found out about the whole thing and was pissed that our LT was at the start of it. LT got reamed out for something that was so stupid, and she was forced to apologize to the “lower” enlisted that were part of it.

I told her, “Ma’am, I don’t accept your apology because it is not necessary. It was all in good fun and I’d do it again in a heartbeat because it was hysterical”. She just looked at me and smiled.

“Thank you,” she said.

Officially, that was the end.

She looked at me and said, “For the record, that was one of the funniest things I’ve ever fucking seen”.

And with that, it made it all ok.

My Wife Cried At the Bar Today

No, this isn’t the title of my new country/western song.nancy

As most of you know, my wife Nancy is shaving her head tomorrow and donating her long locks to WIgs for Kids.

She and I have been raising money for St Baldrick’s to fight children’s cancers. She set a goal of $10,000 to reach, back in November of 2014, and it came to fruition today…one day before the event.

We went to Lures in Crownsville for lunch. Honestly, we went there because I had a craving for a burger, but also one of our favorite bartenders’ last day was today. After we ordered our drinks, Nancy started getting notifications about donations to her St Baldrick’s fund. Little by little, it looked like she was going to make her goal.

Mike, the bartender, walked over to me and slipped me a fifty, and said “Please add this to her fund.”  He then walked over to another person sitting at the bar, and explained what Nancy was doing.

The guy introduced himself, and said “I own this place…Hey Mike? Take $100 out of the till please?” and boom Nancy had $150 that quick.

A little later on, we got an enormous gift from my best friend (names redacted due to not contacting him yet) which put her at $10K. We both got misty from the money from our local joint, but then our friend put Nancy at the goal?  Yeah, there was some eye leakage.

Bottom line? Not only do our friends kick ass, some folks we only know from a restaurant have helped restore faith in humanity.

Thank you, humans.


The Fathers Day Incident


Don caught a Hodges!


Cap’n Chris driving my boat!











(If you share this link on Facebook, please DO NOT tag folks involved in this story)

What do I mean by this? Myself, my wife, and damn near all my friends and family laugh at things that we probably should not laugh at. I can’t speak for my other friends, but I laugh at inappropriate stuff to help me deal with whatever I’m going through.

Continue reading

#wpmom and the WordPress Community

I have been involved in the WordPress community for about 6-7 years, and I’ve always been impressed with the people that I’ve met. Coming from a .NET programming background, the WordPress community could not have been more different. I’m not bashing on .NET, it’s just that with the advent of social media, specifically Twitter, I’ve received more help in this community than any other I’ve been part of in my professional life. I could list many a story on how this community has raised money for folks wanting a new computer, needing medical care, and at one point helped buy a person a house.

A friggin’ house, y’all.

Yesterday, I got the news that a WordPress colleague, Kim Parsell, had passed away. The how and why are not important. The point is that WordPress has suffered a huge loss. I don’t know when I followed Kim on Twitter, but it’s been years. She was given the nickname WordPress Mom, shortened to a hashtag #wpmom, because she genuinely cared about others. Her maternal instincts would make sure that Jan ate lunch. She would remind Andrea to get up from the computer for a few minutes during the day. She repeatedly reminded me that it’s a bad idea to tell my customers to “go shit in a hat”.

I finally met her at WordCamp Baltimore in 2012, and to be quite honest, at first, she kinda bugged me. Jesus, she could talk! About anything, and everything. I remember her being interested in almost everybody, and having that camera of hers either in her hands or around her neck at all times. She took some amazing photographs. At some point on that Saturday, she went from being annoying to endearing. I enjoyed hanging out with her that day, and looked forward to seeing her again. I figured BFE, Ohio isn’t that far from Baltimore, so we’d see each other again soon. Welp….

I could sit here and type how her passing made me lose my shit during the football game yesterday, or how I dreaded going to work this morning…knowing that I’d be on Twitter and be reminded about her death all day, crying into my keyboard, trying not to let coworkers see. But this post isn’t about me. This post really isn’t even about Kim’s passing so much as it’s about how awesomazing the WordPress community is.

At 2:37pm today, I saw a tweet that Kim’s son, Gary, needed some help.

Hi everyone. This isn’t the sort of thing I normally do, but with the recent loss of my mom, I am having to postpone the starting of my new job and money is running very thin. I would appreciate any help you could give to help me pay my bills while I grieve for the loss of my mother. Anything you can give is appreciated. Thanks, Gary Thrasher #wpmom #mymom

I clicked the link and saw something that made me lose it again right there at my desk:

$760 of $1000 raised by 8 people in 42 minutes

At the time of this writing, 29 people have donated $1,760 in four hours.

Go ahead and wrap your brain around that.

My long-winded point to this post? I’ll miss the hell out of #wpmom, but I have never been more proud to be associated with a community like I am with WordPress.  I’ve seen the wagons circled in support of folks when their code is stolen, pirated, or their copyrights infringed. This is the first time I’ve seen the WordPress folks circle their wagons on a personal level (as it happened). Seeing a community come together for #wpmom’s son made my heart melt.

To anyone and everyone in the WordPress community that has reached out and helped a colleague, thank you.

I’m convinced Kim is out there somewhere, looking down and appreciating what you are all doing….

Unless she’s talking St Peter’s ears off at those gates 😉

Help My Wife Fight Cancer

I apologize – only to a certain extent – for the click-bait of that title.


Look at those locks!

To clarify, my wife, Nancy, does not have cancer. She is helping fight children’s cancers.  At this point, I will pretty much do anything in order to help my wife make her goal of $10,000 all in support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.


As some of you know, I had a cancer scare five years ago. Thankfully, it wasn’t cancer, but it was a huge wake-up call that cancer is real, and it could affect me (and my loved ones).  In the past five years, I’ve gone out of my way to help raise money and awareness to help wipe out this horrible disease.

I’ve shaved my head twice for St Baldrick’s, done Movember a couple times, and donated to countless charities to fight cancer. I’m such a sucker for donations that I even offered to shave my eyebrows at the St Baldrick’s event last year for $600. Turns out my friends are awesome/horrible…I got the money in less than an hour.

But this post isn’t about me…

…this is about my lovely wife.

I thought I couldn’t be more proud of Nancy after what she’s done professionally, but I was wrong.  She and I had previously volunteered our time to help set up and organize the St Baldrick’s event at Fadó in Annapolis, MD, but only I had shaved my head. During the planning of the last St Baldrick’s event in February of 2014, she decided that she wanted to participate as a shavee. The last time Nancy got any sort of haircut was in August of 2013.

For those of you that don’t know Nancy, she’s a lawyer. She is currently Associate Area Counsel with the IRS. This might not mean much to folks that don’t/haven’t worked in the government, but it means she is a lawyer as well as a manager of other lawyers, while employed by the US government. The gov’t can be a bit conservative on personal appearances, especially at her level, a GS-15. On top of that, she’s a female, and current society doesn’t look upon females with shaved heads as easily as men. She really didn’t care, she just wants to help out, and both myself and our friends that she’s shared this with cannot be more supportive. Even her office is supportive.

Everything was coming together, her working with her office, deciding how to wear her long hair until March of 2015, and then something happened that made her really want to participate.

Rebecca, a little girl she didn’t know at all, died

I found out that Eric Meyer‘s daughter, Rebecca, was battling cancer at the beginning of 2014. He’s a web developer that I have followed for years on Twitter. I don’t feel comfortable typing a lot about Eric and Rebecca here on my own blog post, but I must say that one of the major reasons that Nancy wants to shave and raise money is to honor Rebecca.

When I first read about Rebecca, I told Nancy about her and would update Nancy about her when I knew anything new. It wasn’t until after I shaved my head in March of last year that I realized that the Meyer family was involved with St Baldrick’s.  Carolyn, Rebecca’s sister, had shaved her head for the cause. I would have loved to gone back in time and given all my donations to Carolyn.

Sadly, on June 7th, 2014, Rebecca passed on her 6th birthday.

I broke down and cried, and Nancy decided that she would honor Rebecca with her St Baldrick’s donations.

This is what Nancy posted on her St Baldrick’s page:

Cancer has affected so many people that I am close to, and I have seen too many people die from it. When the victim of this horrible disease is a child, the injustice seems even more poignant. This was brought home last year when, just a short time after last year’s event, my husband’s friend lost his 6-year-old daughter to cancer. This year, I am joining my husband by shaving my head to raise money for children’s cancer research. I have also been letting my hair grow for the last year so that I can donate the hair they shave to Wigs for Kids.

Childhood cancers are different from adult cancers and childhood cancer research is extremely underfunded. So please help me raise money for cures by making a donation. Every dollar makes a difference for the thousands of infants, children, teens, and young adults fighting childhood cancers.

Thank you very much for your support!


I have been on the fence for weeks about posting this, specifically about using information about Eric and Rebecca. I feel like I’m mooching off someone’s tragedy to make money and I feel dirty. It is NOT my intention to do that. Nancy and I were truly and honestly moved reading Eric’s posts.  We’re not trying to profit from anything, we just want to help stop cancer that kills children.

With that said, I felt I needed to post this to share how much Nancy is investing with this. She’ll be a 40 year old female lawyer with a shaved head that works for the government. It’s honestly not nearly as easy as it sounds.  I cannot be more proud of her, and I will be tweeting/facebooking the hell out of her link until March 15th when she gets the shave :)

Please share this post wherever you can, via twitter, FB, email, etc….I don’t care.  Let’s kick cancer in the nards!


In Memoriam: Rebecca

To donate to Nancy:

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?
Continue reading

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.


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 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 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.


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?



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 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.