Over the last few months, I’ve seen so much misinformation surrounding DACA and the Dreamers. I found this online and figured it’s easier to share this than to re-type it every time someone says “DO IT LEGALLY LIKE ERRYONE ELSE!!!!111”
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.
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.
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.
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. Continue reading “My Wife Cried At the Bar Today”
DISCLAIMER: I, AND MY CLOSE FRIENDS, HAVE A VERY WEIRD AND TWISTED SENSE OF HUMOR
(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.
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 😉
I apologize – only to a certain extent – for the click-bait of that title.
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!
To donate to Nancy: https://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/738756/2015
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 “My Movember, 2012”
This post is probably going to piss off some people, and quite frankly, I don’t give a shit.
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!”
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.