Alaska marks the 50th and final state visited by my wife. (I am well behind in the low 30s.) Alaska lives up to its Last Frontier hype. Views are grand, flora and fauna are abundant, and rules are guidelines at best. We flew in, rented a car, and road-tripped the state as best we could in two weeks. And as most Alaskans are quick to tell you, Alaska is twice as big as Texas…three times as big at low tide. (Special note, if you try this yourself, and you totally should, know that every road is under construction 24 hours a day during the summer. Plan accordingly.) If you like the outdoors, Alaska is nothing but. But for all the grandness and splendor, the highlight for me were the sled dogs in Denali National Park and Preserve.
(Photo credit to JFB for the better of the wildlife photography)
Over spring break we took a trip to Scotland to continue is our latest trend of travel where it is not hot. (Admittedly we’ve gone too far as all the places we’ve been have not only not been hot, but actually snowed at least once during the trip.) A few things I now know about Scotland:
- As a rule, the folks are quite friendly. Way to buck that stereotype, Scots.
- Haggis is delicious. (I ended up having it at least once a day.) Also blood pudding is delicious.
- For the most part, Scotland operates strictly between 8 and 5. Plan your days accordingly.
- History and grudges go back. Way, way back. No tale has less than 300 years backstory.
Last Christmas my wonderful wife gave me a National Geographic DNA kit. (On our trip to Morocco, one of our travel companions had completed this process and I was fascinated.) Today my results came in. For the most part, if you know me, the results are not too surprising – lots of northern European action. But there are two points that are interesting. One, I am 18% southwest Asian, which any number other than zero would have shocked me. Two, I am 2.8% Neanderthal. Most people have somewhere between 1% and 4% Neaderthal DNA, and the average person has 2.1%. So now I have a built in excuse when I do something stupid! “I’m just a caveman…”
If you’d like to see the full infographic of my results, click here.
Here they’ve compared my DNA to a German and a Brit:
We took a trip to Morocco over the Thanksgiving week. Despite crazy floods and catching cold, we had an amazing experience. I was surprised at how much the landscape of much of Morocco looked like the Southern California desert area. Driving around the foothills of the Altas Mountains was strikingly similar to driving out to San Jacinto or Joshua Tree. Another thing that threw me about this trip was my lack of expectations. For example, with a trip to Paris, there are things I know I am going to see that I’ve known about my whole life, like the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower. But I didn’t have much insider information with Morocco. All I really knew was the movie Casablanca (which was shot on a Hollywood soundstage, of course) and that it was, to me, an exotic and remote place. Instead of known or expected experiences, it was a series of brand new experiences. This was a definite travel style paradigm shift for me. Now, having seen it, and smelled it, and felt it, and read much more about it, I want to go back, see more and expand on this first experience. (See full Flickr album here.)
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I remember when Konstantin first starting talking about putting on a WordCamp Ventura County he mentioned that his vision was for a more intimate, more developer-centric camp. He and the organization team delivered, big time.
The venue at Green Art People set the tone for the whole event. Right away, it was clear that this camp was going to be an exchange of ideas amongst friends and not a formal classroom which put the whole event at ease. Imagine participating in a groovy think-tank. (I’m not implying the classroom setting is bad or wrong. Each camp style has a time and place. And WCVC did a superb job of establishing the vibe they set out to achieve.)
All the presenters did a fantastic job. I was able take away skills and inspiration from each and every one. Here are some highlights for me.
- Try using BrowserSync instead of LiveReload when developing front end elements. It has the live reload, but so much more. (Thanks, Alex!)
- Avoid common mistakes when submitting a plugin to the WordPress.org Repo. (Thanks, Mika!)
- It is time to start focussing on general WordPress performance, both in core and for themes/plugins. For most benchmark stats WordPress sites are about 20% slower than than the average website. (Thanks, Zack!)
- Get WordPress communicating with anything using the REST API. (Thanks, Rachel!) (Rachel’s slides)
- Better coding means coding better. (Thanks, Mike!)
If you were not able to attend or what the live stream, do keep an eye on WordPress.tv for the videos. All are worth a watch. Wes Chychel also wrote up a great review of the event if you want to read more.
Spent an excellent weekend at Joshua Tree National Park, despite our camper being partially incapacitated. (The electrical system was kaput.) Still, we made due and had an excellent time with our friends. The weather was superb. Highlights include: coyote sighting, full Milky Way viewing one night, Barker Dam, Hollywood-ized petroglyphs, Skull Rock, Arch Rock, Keys View, and Wall Street Mill.
Here are some helpful links from the Orange County Designer Meetup from 3 March 2014.
Sass – Sass is the most mature, stable, and powerful professional grade CSS extension language in the world.
Bourbon – A simple and lightweight mixin library for Sass.
Neat – A lightweight semantic grid framework for Sass and Bourbon.
Bitters – Scaffold styles, variables and structure for Bourbon projects.
Emmet – A plugin for many popular text editors which greatly improves HTML & CSS workflow
Well, the water could have been warmer, but otherwise setting were perfect. The water was clear and glassy. There was just enough breeze blowing off the shore to throw a little mist off the crest of the wave. The crowds were low by El Porto standards. And the waves, oh the waves. They rolled in the chest-to-head high range. And If you picked off the right one, it’d peel all the way to shore. The Sausage performed beautifully (though I didn’t really do it justice today). Josh, CW, Mike and I all seemed to have a good productive session. I could have stayed out there forever. We certainly stayed well past the start of the parking meters by an hour or so, but a parking ticket would have been worth it. All praise to the surf gods for looking out for us though – no tickets today.
Big waves on order this week. I went back up to Harbour to borrow the Sausage again. Man, I dig that board. I need to get one of my own. Although I am tempted to try getting it in a quad set up. Anyway, big beautiful waves at the Sunset Jetty today. Long peely rights for the taking. And I took. It was very similar to that foggy day in December at Bolsa Chica. It’s supposed to be even bigger tomorrow.
New film by Mike DeTemple trailor now available. Dig in! Follow the updates on his blog.