Category Archives: Current Events

Day 1

I am an Automattician. That is to say that today is my first day working at Automattic. It’s been a long road getting here and I’m thrilled it’s finally arrived.

Automattic is the company behind WordPress. WordPress itself is an open source project but there are a lot of services behind it and that’s where Automattic comes in. My role, specifically, is Technical Account Engineer on the Special Projects team. It’s like a Project Manager but more. If you follow the link just above, you will see that they we work on some pretty amazing sites for some pretty amazing people. (And if you know what sites I’ve managed the last four years you will know how desperately I need to work on positive sites like these!)

I have known about Automattic for years as I have worked with WordPress in one form or another for over a decade now. They were always on my radar as a place I would love to work. And when I was laid off from my last job in October, I took a look at it again. And got encouragement from someone I met at a WordPress Meetup here in Rhode Island who works there. And the rest is history.

Today I train for my first two weeks working as part of the support team as a “Happiness Engineer” and then, two weeks from today, I begin my new role.

These last four months have been rough. Job searching is never fun and doing it around the holidays is a terrible time of year as no one really hires then. But my family has been fantastically supportive and we got through it and I have not only landed on my feet, but I feel like I landed with style.



I haven’t gotten a chain letter in quite some time. I think I have managed to train most people around me that they are usually flat out wrong (or at very best, wildly outdated) and, if nothing else, sending them to me means that I will take the time to debunk them and will reply telling the sender that and a small diatribe on the evils of chain letters. I figure most people have either learned not to forward them at all or, more likely, to avoid sending them to me.

So, imagine my surprise when I received one late last night about how illegal immigrants are costing this country more than the Iraq war has and blames our economic woes on them. That was too good to pass up. It only took me about 3 minutes of searching while sitting in Panera this morning to find a good debuking of the entire email and send it along.

I hope I was nice about it. I’ve long known that being a jerk to people about chain letters makes them ignore the fact that you just debunked their screed and just get mad at me for being a jerk. So I am very nice about it, usually ending with a statement about being cranky when I get chain mail or some such.

But to me, the biggest revelation of this little event is how infrequently I get chain letters. It took receiving one to realize how long it’s been since I last got one. So, that’s an improvement!

Now, I have to go forward this email to ten friends so I can win a million dollars next week. Drinks are on me!

Why I Get Annoyed at NBC’s Olympics Coverage

Ok, so a friend of mine is pinging me on Facebook for my disparaging comments on Bob Costas and wonders why I am so down on him. So, this is my attempt to explain my feelings on this vital-to-our-lives matter. First, let me preface this by saying that I am not a sports guy. I’m a big Red Sox fan and I love watching the Olympics. But I do not live and breathe baseball or Olympics statistics. I cannot name any athletes competing aside from those few famous names that everyone knows. I know a lot about the Red Sox but any dyed-in-the-wool fan can stat circles around me. I just enjoy what I enjoy and don’t really care to delve much deeper than that. I am not that guy in the bar who will go on for 45 minutes about some arcane subject while your eyes glaze over. Well, at least not about sports at any rate. So, that’s me. Casual fan. Continue reading Why I Get Annoyed at NBC’s Olympics Coverage

Very Happy

CNN projects Obama has won. I am relieved, happy, and full of hope for the future.

It’s a beautiful day…

Ann and I went earlier this morning and just now I got back from taking my Mother-in-Law to her polling place and we’re all done. Now we sit back and wait… but it’s a truly gorgeous day out and there’s something about voting that just puts me in a great mood. Even when I am voting in a place where the outcome is 100% certain, it still feels good to be part of the process. I’ve been joking that I had a choice between change and change and I chose to vote for change. We’ll see how I did… the only time I’ve ever voted for the winning candidate was in 1992. My track record is not the best as far as that’s concerned. Here’s hoping I break my streak today.

Graphic courtesy Steve Bogart of

Go vote!

Some of the uncertainty in my life has been resolved and things are less uncertain than they were a few days ago. Two large items are outstanding and one of them will be decided today. GO VOTE!

Don’t Vote

Pass it on…

Honor and Integrity

I’ve been keeping quiet here about the upcoming election. This is largely due to the fact that I’ve been so focused on getting the book done and I’ve been spending a lot of time planning the curriculum for my Bear Cub Scout Den for this year. And, before two days ago when I moved this blog over to WordPress, it was a major project to post anything to this (I’ll go on an extended rant on why I am so disappointed in RapidWeaver another time).

Excuses out of the way, I am not going to say all that much in large part because plenty of others are saying quite enough and my main interest this fall is action at a more local level. I want to focus my writing on other subjects and not turn this into another political blog.

And so, I am only going to throw out a few links I’ve read today which really resonated with me and I think are important reads. I do not like at all what I am seeing. The McCain campaign is essentially lying and plenty of people are falling for it. It amazes me that they do given how blatant some of these lies are, but they are. These articles I read today do an excellent job of summarizing some of the key points. Do with them what you will, but I think they all deserve some consideration. I know that many Republicans stand behind McCain because of who he once was (and I think a lot of people don’t realize just how much he has changed from that man over the last four or so years) and I understand that. The man he was (prior to his sudden turn-around endorsement of Bush in 2004) was someone I could grudgingly get behind. I felt he was a Republican I could respect. But that changed and his latest actions over the last ten or so days have left me feeling a lot of trepidation. So, here are the articles:

It is easy to get swept up in poltical rhetoric at this time of year and it is also easy to get personal and mean with people who don’t agree with us. If you look at this election purely on the issues, there is a simple dividing line and I would never judge someone who is voting based on what they believe is the right way to run this country, even if I don’t agree with it. There are basic differences of opinion and part of being in a Democracy is accepting that. We can argue about it, but at the end of the day, we all believe what we believe for good or ill. What I do not like is the fact that McCain’s campaign is trying to distract us from the issues and make this about personal attacks, pointless (and intentional) misunderstandings (“lipstick on a pig” was about the McCain economic plan, not his running mate), and outright lies (the sex education commercial). I believe both candidates should say what they believe and what they will do and let the voters decide which person has the better plan. What McCain is doing is dishonest and dishonorable.

Some closing links of articles I read earlier in the week and liked:

Candidate Positions

Flickr Photo Download_ Election _08 Chart of Where the Candidates Stand

This is a great chart showing all of the candidates’ positions on various issues. Makes me realize how many of them are scary. And how few I find match my own positions. Found via (which also includes some other interesting links and commentary on this). I have to admit, I’ve taken a rather large break in thinking about what’s happening in the world beyond casual observation. Part of it has been a strong sense of depression at how bad things have gotten. Some of it is also a sense of futility. In hindsight, that’s a terrible attitude to have. We elect our government. We have a responsibility to stand up for what we believe in and elect those people who feel the same way. To sit back and say that nothing I can do matters is the worst thing I can do. So, it’s time to start paying attention again and getting involved. We have a year until the election. It’s time to get started.

All My Wife’s Fault

Thanks to iTunes, I now know what my wife has been doing when she’s been out and about. I’m shocked and, frankly, disappointed. (It’s the third item in the four below.)

Crisis in Darfur with Ann