Influenza

Last weekend I was soundly defeated by the influenza virus. It locked me to my bed for at least 3 days (literally didn’t leave my bed for a 30 hour stretch at one point), and knocked me out for longer than that.

I’m not sure exactly where I’d gotten it, but have narrowed it down to the gym or a wedding I attended on New Year’s Eve. I don’t recall being around anyone with the flu or flu-like symptoms, but given the time I had become ill and the amount of people at each, that’s what makes the most sense to me.

I began feeling ill on Friday. Initially thought I was coming down with a cold, as the early symptoms are similar. Saturday morning I had the body aches. It was a bit funny, I found myself grunting with each and every little movement I would make.

It quickly apparent that I was in store for some type of major illness by morning, and decided to make one last drugstore visit should it continue to escalate (which it certainly did).

I got myself some supplies, notably a thermometer to verify if I had a fever. Turns out I did in fact have a fever. So I assembled all my essentials by my bed, and fell in for what would be an extended stay.

I don’t really recall much of Saturday or Sunday. I was in bed tossing and turning, sweating and freezing, and just riding out the flu and my fever. At some point later in the day on Sunday I realized that well over 24 hours had passed and I had not left my bed and supplies were dwindling.

So I caved and called my Mom in for reinforcements. Good old Mom came through, and it was important to have someone know of my condition at this point as I was in pretty bad shape.

On Monday I had to use my first ever sick day from work. My 15 year streak of never having used a sick day came to a halt. Oh well, it was an impressive streak. I was still running a fever and was much too contagious to be around others even if I thought I could will myself through the day.

Wow, it’s amazing just how much the flu can knock you around. It’s about a week later and while I no longer feel ill, I’m still pretty exhausted and it looks like that’s not going away for at least a few more days.

I’m not a fan of influenza.

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A Fish House Wedding

Long time friend Brian (probably my oldest friend, pre-preschool) got married this weekend. There was only a party to attend at Nick’s Fish House in Baltimore, and it was quite a laid back fun time.

Since it’s a fairly decent drive to Baltimore, I decided to ride up with the Shepherd and Scott. Scott was kind enough to drive. We got there in record time, but I must admit my co-passengers did get on my nerves a little bit with their poor habits (e-cigarettes are stupid). Oh well, it was a ride so I can’t complain too much.

We arrived a bit early, and stopped at some random Wal-Mart in the middle of nowhere. It was a bit strange with nothing at all around it, but we figured it was better than nothing. There was a screaming child, who just screamed at a constant amazingly high pitched rate while it’s mom did nothing. The constant sound was both incredible and I tip my hat to this child’s lungs for being able to sustain such a not for such a lengthy amount of time. Truly amazing and remarkable annoying.

After Wal-Mart, we were still very much early. So we drove around Baltimore a few blocks until we found a safe haven. There was a really fancy fenced in apartment area with shops. A pretty cool setup if you were living in the city.

We walked around a bit and noticed a park with some activity going on. Some event was taking place and there were a ton of dogs about. An amazing amount of different dogs. A huge shaved Saint Bernard, a therapy Blood Hound and many more. It was pretty awesome to see.

After that we headed over to Nick’s. It was a pretty cool place on the water. There was a chair for all attendees to sign. I thought that was a pretty nice touch. Apparently the Shepherds sloth knows no bounds, and I noticed that he added onto my signing instead of writing his own. Geez Shepherd!

There was a live reggae band, that while very talented was much too loud for my old man ears. I couldn’t escape it no matter where I wandered, and it eventually escalated a bad headache I had from the crazy card ride there to very bad. I eventually decided to attempt to sleep in a car for a bit, and Scott eventually found some Tylenol for me to take from his endless supply of drugs he carries in a strange bag.

After a pretty long time of laying down in a half sleep state in a comfy car (which I’m sure must’ve been quite the strange sight) I finally emerged to face civilization. My first stop was more water and a delicious cupcake. It was a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing, and I currently would like another one as it was yummy.

It was really great to see so many old friends and am reminded just how many of my childhood friends are still friends to this day. Pretty cool.

The car ride home wasn’t really as bad as the ride there. The Shepherd was too broken and sleepy to smoke his stupid e-cigarette non-stop, and there was much less traffic to Scott to attempt NASCAR moves thru.

Even with the stupid headache it was a pretty great day, and I wish Brian and Shanna much happiness. Great to see everyone and glad it was under such great circumstances!

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Drupaldelphia 2014

Took the PATCO again to Drupaldelphia yesterday. It’s really a great Drupal and just overall tech gathering, with a lot of higher ed folks. Which is really great to meet some peers who face similar issues as I am at work.

The trip was so much easier that it was last time around for me. I knew to bring exact change and not a $20 to the station to get my pass (change is given from the machine in $1 coins, I have no idea what to do with a $1 coin). I also knew which way to insert my ticket as well. Apparently last time was quite the disaster know that I mull it over a bit.

I got there right on time and saw Jesse from Atlantic Cape who is in the position I once held. We discussed work, shared ideas, and joked of co-workers and situations that clearly don’t change. Fun times, he’s a good guy.

I took in the following sessions:

  • Keynote – pretty interesting discussion with 4 folks. They had some very valuable ideas.
  • How to make Drupal NOT look like Drupal – this was  a solid session on theming. I’m interested to see his slides and code once posted on the site.
  • Using Git to Manage Deployents/Updates – uhhh, this one wasn’t for me. I left after a few minutes and went to …
  • Drupal Security Made Simple – though I arrived late, this one had some very useful modules to consider in securing a Drupal site. Oh and never hack the core!!!
  • Migrate Magic: An Overview – I still have to master the migrate modules. This session was helpful, but I just need more hands on practice.
  • Building Beautifully Complex Content Types – the presenter was very entertaining, but I found much of what he discussed to be bad practice. I hope nobody walked away with bad habits.

I started my first every BOF (Birds of the Feather) session. I picked up a magic marker and wrote “higher ed” in the 3:30 time slot. I had no idea if anyone else besides Jesse and myself would show up, and we were pleasantly surprised to find a table full of folks attending our BOF session!

This was probably the most useful thing of the entire day. A bunch of higher ed web folks exchanging war stories and sharing their success and pitfalls. We all went around asking the group questions, and pretty much at least on of us had been though it and had some sage like advice. It was pretty great. Very glad I picked up that marker and wrote on that board!

For lunch I met up with first ballot Honey Badger hall of famer and Atlantic Caper great Lauren. She works a few blocks from there and we dined at the Hard Rock Cafe. I’d never been to one of them, so it was a true adventure for me. Felt like old times lunching again, and it was pretty great to get caught up in person. I did smuggle a really ugly Drupaldelphia t-shirt for her for taking the time out of her busy schedule to meet me for lunch.

All in all a pretty great and useful adventure. Looking forward to more conferences and continuing to be more active when at such events.

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Water Park Fun

Had a pretty amazing water park fun day at Morey’s Oasis Park in Wildwood. It was Maggie’s birthday and she was kind enough to invite this old kickball captain along.

Getting there wasn’t too bad, traffic wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be for the summer. I was surprised to see all the construction on the Parkway in Cape May County. It was quite a bit.

I went to the Raging Waters park, which was the incorrect one. However I ran into other attendees and we figured out where to go and walked over to there.

The park was really nice! I hadn’t been on a water slide in probably 14 years, so I wasn’t sure if it would still be fun for me. I am much older after all.

Turns out it was a lot of fun, and I’m sure that was heavily attributed to the company. It was quite a fun and energetic bunch, and great to hang out with people mostly out of my norm.

I was scared waiting to go on their super tall slide. The ride itself isn’t too bad, but the waiting in line gave me more than ample time to psych myself out. I did go down, and it wasn’t too bad. Minus an almost lost contact and not knowing where to go to get out of the pool. Ha, I was really confused for a bit!

I guess my finest achievements were climbing in the activity area and winning the race slide despite a huge cheater starting way too early. I just like trying to climb stuff, it’s a really great workout. And racing friends is just super fun.

I’ve had a pretty stinky week or two, and this fine adventure was perfectly timed. It was a very fun time, and good stuff.

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Capture the Flag

Just finished up a fine afternoon of playing Capture the Flag at Birch Grove Park. Never played the game before, but it was an excellent suggestion from Caitlin and we got a solid turnout of 11 people to play. Not too shabby.

There was a lot of back and forth and debate about where would be the best place to play. A lot of it really came down to how many people were playing. Too big of an area and not enough people, way too long of a game and the inverse would be true as well.

So I did a lot of scouting at Birch Grove Park to find sections of the park that I thought might work well. This morning I got there real early just to confirm and draw some boundaries on the ground (but it turned out that wasn’t too necessary).

I think we played a total of 4 games, but it could have been 5. We used water guns or 2 hand touch to get someone out. The water guns turned out to be a lot of fun on a hot day. After the first game we did make some rule adjustments which turned out to help out the game.

I think the other team did a better job of playing as a team, they seemed to operate in clusters more and were backing one another up. Our guys were a bit more of individuals doing their own thing. Apparently teamwork won out this day (as it most always does) with the other team taking the majority of the matches.

Another exciting fact that I learned today is that Kevin apparently cannot feel when he is struck by water! I shot him numerous times and I saw Maggie get him a couple times too and he just kept on going. Ha, it’s ok it was still a lot of fun.

Oh and also that if you get a splinter right under your fingernail it will hurt quite a bit for such a little thing. How do I always manage to randomly harm myself? It’s a true talent.

This was another fun and unique Honey Badger Fun Day. Glad I met so many fine people who are willing to play such a silly, yet fun game!

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First Week Working at Stockton

After nearly 13 years of working at Atlantic Cape Community College, I started a new job at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey this past week. The commute is only a different by a mile, so no major changes there. Though I do have to admit that I found myself driving to the old job on 2 of my first for mornings. Luckily it didn’t cause me to be late.

First week went pretty well. I wasn’t nervous at all, didn’t have any issues sleeping, etc. Didn’t feel like that big of a deal so far. I think not taking time off between jobs kinda kept me from noticing much of a change. That and I am pretty confident in what I do at this point, so there’s really no doubt that I can’t do a great job.

Thus far things have been a bit boring as I’m mostly meeting people and had to sit through a very long HR orientation. The HR folks were extremely polite and helpful, but HR orientation just isn’t very exciting for me no matter how great a show is given. I’m just a bit anxious to tackle some serious web problems!

The guys I’m working with seem pretty cool. Definitely a bit unique as I would expect from someone with a web skill set, but very capable of getting some serious work done. I do look forward to doing some good and really improving the web presence in numerous ways.

I’ve eaten lunch at the Student Center everyday. Many of the vendors there seem to be closed for the summer, but with the flex schedule’s half hour break I really don’t have much time to adventure too far. So far lunch options have been good and I’ve been sure to bring an apple or something like that to hold me over throughout the day.

Access to my accounts, email, a computer, etc. all took several days, which was frustrating. It’s really hard to work a modern job without access to such. However, it turned out that this is the norm with new hires. So I just waited it out, and Dave did do a great job of helping to speed up the process. That was very much appreciated!

So far, so good. I’m really looking forward to settling in and getting some serious work done!

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