Category Archives: life

New home

So I’ve finally got my new hosting and I’m generally happy with it. I’m still adding some tools and trying to mod some stuff in the background. I’m hoping to release a version of my theme – less personalized since the one I use is pretty modified for my taste – soon. I’m hoping to have a few more as well but the designs are just not to my liking – too plain.

In actually making a theme, instead of modifying one I found, I learned a great deal about WordPress. It’s a very interesting and powerful tool. And the WordPress codex is invaluable in getting the full power out of it.

I’ve also been playing with some other open source stuff including a wiki, forums, comicpress and buddypress.  Depending on how useful I see them being, I might bring them public on one of my domains or subdomains.  I also have 2 new domains, one of which I hope to make as destination page for all things me – which will then link to my various efforts like this blog (including my portfolio section which needs updating), my open source contributions, my social media (delicious, twitter, etc).  But until they’re ready, I don’t foresee making them public facing just yet.

As for the open source software I’m really impressed with Buddypress – and the forums that you can tie in which I actually like a lot better than SMF, which I use for familiarity.  Buddypress basically allows you to use the wordpress-mu (multi user) to create a social network.  Who needs more social networks though, right?  Well, I have a niche one that might be interesting.  Or it could be closed off to only my family/friends if they’re interested.  Either way, it’s a fun and interesting tool.

Going back to the forums thing though – if you have a more useful tool than SMF I’m listening.  I’ve tried PhpBB and was not impressed.  I forget the one that ties in with Buddypress – I only have it locally configured on one of my boxes now – but, as I said, it was interesting.

So that’s about it for now.  All that takes time so updates will be infrequent to this blog.  Although they’ll be more frequent than recently (i.e. not once every 6 months or so hopefully) but less frequent than I was when I really used this.  Granted though, my aim is to use it for meatier topics – talking about new open source projects I’ve developed (themes, plugins, etc) and web design – rather than the more mundane topics in the past.

If you want to know about the more mundane aspects of my life or what’s caught my interest (and until I tie them into my site and/or blog) feel free to check out my shared Google items, my twitter, or my delicious.  Be warned though that they are more personal than professional.  Given that I have a cynical and sarcastic nature that I tend not to show on professional endeavors you may not like, or maybe even be offended, by some of the things on there.  I apologize if so, but it’s a simple fix – don’t read them.  I don’t anticipate it to be so in most cases but in this “PC” world, you have to be careful.

My thoughts are that overall, we’re all flawed and human. The more transparent you are – within reason and privacy concerns – the more people can understand you.  Perhaps seeing my cynical side, myriad of Magic the Gathering links, or other personal aspects of my life will make you enjoy my work more.

Or perhaps you’ll think I’m a tool.  That’s the risk we run when we share.

Random Tidbit: P2 is an interesting use of WordPress.  It seems that WP is becoming a very popular platform to expand on because of it’s open source nature and large community of developers expanding it.  It’s basically – if I understand it correctly – a group blog that combines aspects of Twitter and Basecamp.

By the way – if anyone knows an open source tool like Basecamp, especially if it’s written on the WP platform, please let me know.  I’m cheap.  I know they have the free Basecamp plan but it doesn’t really meet my needs.  We use it at Helium and it’s – to be frank – amazing.  37 Signals is a bright group of people.

Mugsy: A Friend Remembered

It was one year ago that I had to make that trip. The vet had called me and told me that although things had been looking up the day before, when Mugsy woke up this morning and the vet looked at her, he knew she would not recover. She couldn’t feed herself or move and there was nothing we could do.

I had lost 3 other ferrets at this point. Mugsy had been the first in my family and the last to go. She was the most loyal pet you could ask for. She would always cheer me up when I was down. Somehow she always knew how I was feeling.

People will judge you for being too attached or close to a pet, but I don’t really care. I had her for 7 years and, except for a few trips I made, was responsible for her care every day. She came with me to Virginia Beach and kept me company in a place where I knew no one. She was my navigator for the many trips home as well.

Like any pet owner I have many regrets – things I should have done or shouldn’t have done or should have done more. But you do the best you can and hope that it’s enough. I think my ferrets had a good life. I hope so.

Unlike my other 3 ferrets who died from cancer, Mugsy had survived cancer for several years. She had a different type that we were able to control. But she was getting old and her vision and hearing was not as good as it used to be I think. A friend was holding her, I picked up a plastic bag and the noise was enough to startle her. She leapt from my friend’s hands and hit her head on the floor. I think he blamed himself, but I never did. I did blame myself for a long time because I scared her and because I didn’t check her well enough after. She seemed ok, but shortly after my sister said something was wrong and when I looked at her my heart broke.

I spent that night with her on my chest, talking to her. I couldn’t sleep and she couldn’t really move. The vet gave me hope – I thought she would be immediately put down – but as I mentioned before that hope was dashed one year ago today.

I thought after losing the other 3 ferrets, after almost losing my dad and after my brother’s accident it would somehow be easier. It wasn’t. After I said goodbye and saw her fade, I went numb. I don’t think I felt anything for a week. I had to puppy sit for the next 2 weeks and I was so numb that as my friend lost her dog – the mother – and 5 of the 6 puppies I just couldn’t grieve anymore. I felt bad for her but my heart couldn’t hold any more pain.

It’s funny because all the things I used to get irritated about sometimes – having to take hours out of my day to let them out and make sure they didn’t get hurt, stopping them from getting into or breaking my stuff, etc. – I miss. They could break anything I have if I could see them one more time. I still wake up sometimes and think “ugh, I have to get up and let the ferrets out.” When I realize I don’t have to it only depresses me.

I don’t know what else to say other than I miss my ferrets everyday and I hope that this will never change.

Mugsy and Me

Mugsy and Me – taken just a couple of weeks before she died

All 4 of my ferrets

All 4 of my ferrets in happier times


Compilation – scanned from 35mm prints, forgive the low quality

Not So Random Tidbit: The Rainbow Bridge

My Uncle

I’ve had these thoughts for almost 2 weeks now.  Ever since I heard my uncle has passed away.  The last time I saw him was over a year and a half ago.  He was very sick at the time and from what he told me and what I saw I didn’t think I’d see him again.  I was right in that, but wrong in that he would live so long.

My uncle was a deacon, a father, a husband, a brother and above all else a good man.  I didn’t know him as well as I wish I had, especially considering the fact that he was my Godfather and my father’s big brother.  But from what I do know about him I know that I respected him a great deal, that he had a great sense of humor that could make you laugh at the oddest times at the oddest things, and that if when I die if they say I was half the man he was then I can consider my life worthwhile.

My uncle wanted his 4 brothers to be among his pallbearers but my father suffered a stroke a few years ago and was not able to.  I was given the honor of taking his place.  At the reception afterwards, my aunt thanked me for what I had done and I was too overwhelmed at the time to correct her – that I should have thanked her for letting me pay my respects to him and honor him in that way.

When my father had his stroke, I prepared myself mentally because for awhile, it looked like he would not survive.  I was lucky in that God saw fit to grant me more time with him.  After many years of bad blood between us we had just recently, at the time, started to make amends.  The passing of my uncle led me to think of the fact that soon my parents might follow.  I wish I could say I am a strong enough man that the thought didn’t scare me to my core – but I can’t.

My uncle was a man of faith and his faith in the face of cancer strengthened my faith.  I hope that he knows that.

How You Know You’re Old

When you get a MySpace friend invite… from your 10 year high school reunion.

The added irony is I added a friend from high school… and they didn’t believe it was me.  If that’s not funny, I don’t know what is.

I know, MySpace is horrible.  I actually use Facebook more, but I keep the old MySpace around for I don’t know what reason.

As for everything else, no I’m not dead or have given up on the site.  It’s been heads down at Helium and we’re helping my brother with my niece nearly every night.  That plus other stuff has caused my site to drop in priority unfortunately.  I do have some new templates photoshopped – I just have to code them up.  They’ll probably go to OSWD or OWD as well.

Random Tidbit: Use WordPress to host your site/blog?  Check out Smashing Magazine’s WordPress Plugin and Tutorial article.

Proud Uncle

I have been lax in my postings but I am working on several revisions, templates and a reskin of the site.  That, plus personal commitments has kept me away.

I did want to announce that I am the proud uncle and godfather of one Victoria Madison.  She was born around 5pm.  I have never been more proud of my little brother – which is saying a lot because though I may not tell him enough, I have always been proud of him.

No random tidbit today.  Possible pictures once I get permission and my Flickr integrated.