Thank you Kari, for this photo of me and Andrea.
Thank you Kari, for this photo of me and Andrea.
I used to have a photo album thing for all my WordCamp type events. I since moved it into an old Moleskien so it basically looks like this:
And I really like it. It’s kind of cool this way and I’m happy I did it. I can flip through and see notes etc.
I’m going to try to start sketching in it. It’s already half filled, and that’s just from 2011! My first WordCamp was Montreal 2011 you see. I actually am missing a few stickers. I had most of them but I finally found out what the TSA took from my bag on my last trip. My WordCamp Europe stickers.
But hey, now I have a book to show off. If I meet you at a WordCamp and you can art, I’ll let you draw in it.
This post is not about the WordCamp, but about Las Vegas. Yes, I went there because of the WordCamp, but this is not about that at all. What happened at the WordCamp stays on WordPress.tv after all.
I flew in on a flight that gave me a bizarre panic attack, which is later identified as being because of Taffy. The last time I was on a SouthWest flight was the day she died, and I was coming home from AdaCamp in San Francisco. The flight was also the same length of time my Chicago-Cleveland runs used to take, and finally the only time I’ve been in Vegas before? With Taffy. Once that was sorted, I felt much better, and took a cab to my hotel.
The drive in did not make the trip any less surreal. I watch CSI, of course, and I like the show, even now when it’s old and grey. I have a vested interest in the show one might say. I saw the mountains and my brain started playing the normal SFX they use on the intros. The mountains are pretty by the way. At the hotel, when I (finally) got my room, I did my normal poke and prod to see how I liked it. Soap smelled bad, meh, I have my own, oh look a big window! The first thing I thought was “I could kill someone, leave out the window, use a string to re-tie the latch, jump down to the roof of the garage, and slip out by the pool.”
I may watch too much CSI.
The rest of the trip was just surreal. There was a rotating billboard that had ads for brothels followed by ones telling me I’m going to hell for gambling. I burst out laughing at that. The city is insanely bright without ever making you feel like it’s light out. I walked down Fremont Street, and then the strip. I saw the Bellagio Water Show and pretty much enjoyed the architecture. I have no interest in smoking, drinking, or gambling, so for me it was putting a face to the place I’ve known for years.
And I did enjoy myself. But Vegas is weird, man. It made me realize that CSI wasn’t doing a whole lot to make up the show, it really is that strange a place!
The most awesomely unexpected moment of WordCamp San Francisco was when Ben Dunkle made art!
— Ben Dunkle (@EmpireOfLight) July 26, 2013
I had a jaw drop moment and was so stoked about it. When I asked, he gave me the art at the Afterparty!
— ipstenu (Mika E.) (@Ipstenu) July 28, 2013
Who is Ben Dunkle? My wife had no idea, so I said “That’s Ben Dunkle, the guy who drew me and makes all the WP icon art.”
My wonderfully witty wife replied “So does that mean you’re iconic now?”
Either way, I am in love with this new image
I’ve only been in California for two weeks.
It doesn’t feel like that. It feels like forever at not at all, both at the same time. Last week, I went to Tybee Island, GA, for the WordPress Community Summit which was totally awesome (save me getting sick on Monday night). I met a lot of people, got networking in, and talked about a lot of code, and learned how to make things better.
One of the things I didn’t do was suggest a topic to discuss at the summit. See, I know what I know, and I get to talk a lot because I’m a pretty up-front, agressive, ballsy person. I will speak up when I see a need to, and I’m not shy (just ask anyone from Monday, when I shouted for folks to keep it down). So for me, I needed to try and shut up and listen for a while. I kind of did this, though there was a failure on some ends. I have trouble not speaking my mind.
What did we talk about at WPCS? A lot! And there’s a lot to do, but I’m trying to do one thing at a time. I am getting better at delegation. I’ve started to pawn some of the Make/Support stuff off to other people, like Siobhan and Christine, who are way better than I am at organizing writers, and educating. I’m happy being a front-man for people, but I felt like I was dropping the ball a lot. But doing everything is a bad idea for anyone, so I’m picking one, Support, to be my main focus. We’re actually doing good. In order to do this, I have to hand off other sub-groups of Support, like Documentation, Education, etc etc. Hence why I’m the ringleader.
Things I did on Tybee:
I think I liked it a lot more than the traditional WordCamp (which I mentioned to Andrea Middleton, the WordCamp Maven). Instead of being talked at for 45-60 minutes, I talked with people about things. I’d really like to see more un-conferences in the future for WP.
Oh and there was an open contest on whomever got the best picture of me to use as my new avatar. As soon as I collect them all, you guys will get a vote. This one was by Lisa Sabine-Wilson, whom I finally got to meet. We have a whole mess of pictures up at Flickr.
This is a lame post, but I’m tired!
It’s weirdly easier to get to a WordCamp out of town. That was my first thought on Sunday morning as I tromped over to the bus stop. While I know Chicago well, enough to know the futility in trying to drive to the event and the ease of a direct bus, I had been forced to miss Saturday due to Shabbat. That and distance. Had I still lived down in that area, I’d have walked, but now that I’m up in Rogers Park, it’s a bit much to walk to DePaul.
Still, I can’t say I wasn’t an excited nervous mess at 7 AM. After all, this is my second WordCamp: WordCamp Chicago.
Last year I wanted badly to go, but I’d picked up Indians/White Sox tickets for the same day, and I have priorities, man! The Tribe lost, too, and that pushed back my meeting of the illustrious Rennicks by a year. Happily, no one’s friendship suffered the wait, if Andrea and my freaky twin thing was any measure by which to judge in Montreal.
The first presentation I sat in was @RachelBaker’s on how the developer is the project manager. I admit, most of my reason for this was I ‘know’ her in that online sense, but it was something that interested me too! One of the things I suck at is selling myself (reason #103 why I am not a consultant), but project management has always chapped my ass at work. Mostly because I don’t understand what they’re asking. “How long will it take you to do something you’ve never done before? And you have 4 weeks.” We always push development to fit a timeline, which is in part why many products suck. We should really design at the speed of innovation, and not innovate at the speed of our users. You can’t support someone if you’re not ready.
Thankfully, hers was more a lessons learned and how to be responsible for what you’re responsible for, and I feel like I learned a lot! After that was an SEO chat by @theandystratton, which was awesome. There are no easy fixes. But then, like with Montreal, I walked out and started go hang. The Genius Bar was crowded, and one young woman looked lost, so I offered to help her and we fixed her Sitemap woes (inconsistency with www and non-www in her domain), and discussed theme optimization, caching and design for a while.
For lunch, I went for a walk, since it’s been a long time since I hung around DePaul, and afterwords I networked. By accident. I sat down, a guy asked me what I did, we chatted, another guy turned out to be someone I’d helped in the forums, and we chatted. When they left, Otto and JJJ showed up and we all sat together chatting, getting surrounded by more and more people, until I hit that moment that had made me love WCMTL.
Rifting on things with people. Live. Finding out they’re all just as consistent as we are online. Talking about SEO, bullshit, gender discrepancy, avatars, and everything else.
I don’t know how to explain it better, but being in a group of people where, even when you disagree passionately, still respect you and your opinion is … Gold. I was with people who I felt respected me and acknowledged me (even though I have a lack of core commits) because I think and can use my brain. Unlike the days spent in my corporate job, I rarely run into people being a misogynist git in WordPress (and when I do, even the men jump up and shout ‘Unmutual!’). Not that I’ve not had the asshats, but they’re rare, they’re easy to spot, and the community tends to shun them pretty effectivly.
So, to tangent a bit, when people ask me “Where are the WordPress women?” I want to point at myself, at a couple other women I know, and go “We’re here!” Part of this problem of ‘where are the women’ is that women ‘sell’ themselves different. It’s culture, to a degree, but most of the women I know who are tech goddesses are actually pretty modest about it. “Oh yeah, I did invent this awesome thing you use every day.” They whatever it and move on. I feel weird, because my Dad was the sort to tell me ‘Toot your own horn, but toot it correctly.’ Don’t brag, but do be proud of your skills.
So women, even if you can’t code, or are more modest about your coding ability then your male counterparts, you are a woman of WordPress. You’re a guru! You’re a maven and a genius too. Don’t be afraid to jump in thick with the boys. Even if you’ve been burned by the guys before (this is nothing against men, I’m not a misanthrope), WordPress isn’t a boys club. They’re going to respect you and, for the most part, ignore your gender and treat you like a person. Everything should be like WordPress. And on the flip side, men and women, just because a woman is being demure about her l33t skilz doesn’t mean she knows nothing. Remember, everyone works a little differently, so keep an open mind and check your assumptions at the door. A suit doesn’t make you an smarter than a skirt.
Basically, I had fun, I hung out with men and women, gay and straight … you get the idea. Come on down to the next WordCamp. You’ll learn a lot about WordPress, but also about yourself and how you think. Nothing will challenge you more than hearing blokes like @JohnJamesJacoby and @otto42 espouse an idea you feel strongly against, but in a way you find yourself kinda-sorta agreeing with, but not really? Oh, that is such a wonderful moment.
I forgot to take pictures, too. Oops. You can read a live blog at WPCandy (whom I forgot to introduce myself too officially, but not really, hi, guys).
I’m attending WordCamp Chicago this weekend. Alas, I will miss Saturday, but I’ll be there with bells on for Sunday.
And I have to remember I owe Otto a drink!
I just got back yesterday from a week in Montréal.
The first half was me at WordCamp Montréal – my very first WordCamp ever – and I love it. As WordPressers can tell you, I like to describe things in the vein of ‘It’s like Foo and Bar’ had a baby. For example, I said GlotPress was like if Trac and BuddyPress had a baby. Montréal itself is like if Seattle and Paris had a baby. Very unlike Toronto, which I’m far more familiar with, it’s got a majesty of soul and age to it. Old Montréal is exactly as tourist trappy as one might expect, but the architecture is worth it. We didn’t make it to old Quebec City, but next time. Next time.
The WordCamp part was terrifying for about a minute. Then I spotted Zoonini. She looked like her avatar, and my natural shyness faded into my manic panic chatterbox. I stuck by her for a bit, but then I found my long lost sister, Andrea. There was squeeing and hugging and ‘Oh! You have to meet….’ It was really wonderful to put faces and voices to names. Naturally, day one was Saturday, so there was me without a computer, talking and chatting, but not typing. It’s fun to be nerdy without hands on for a change. Sunday I took lots of photos, of course.
The WordPress nerds will wonder ‘Did you meet Matt?’
Yes, actually, but we didn’t introduce ourselves. He was sitting by Nacin and Otto, and they were talking about this and that. I wasn’t star struck (he’s just a guy, around my age, kinda reminds me of my brother, needs a haircut). I just didn’t feel the need to go ‘Hi, I’m Ipstenu.’ At some point, he mentioned how he was concerned, in a casual way, about Google+ and how their rebranding of Blogger would affect WordPress.com (which as we all know is the gateway drug to WordPress.org). That was when I spoke up and asked if he’d ever tried to leave a comment on Blogger? It’s non-intuitive and you have tons of hoops to jump through to login, and a captcha. He seemed interested by that.
I didn’t mention that the actual blogging interface is like trying to shove a monkey up a paper-towel tube. And videos? Forget it. Still, it was a nice chat about things, and we nodded, and went on our ways. Later on, Otto told me that Matt, like everyone else, assumed I was a man, and while he recognized the hat, he didn’t put two and two together that I was Ipstenu, but he did want to meet me. Alas, the only time we had for that, I was busy helping someone at the Happiness Bar, though I suppose that’s to everyone’s credit. We’d rather make people happy than introduce ourselves!
Nacin: “You’re in charge of finding cat images.”
Otto: “You’re on the Internet. How hard can it be to find pictures of cats?”
Nacin: “A tinfoil hat would look good on you.”
Me:”What do you think this hat is lined with?”
Sunday wrapped up and we went to a new hotel to see my mom and step-dad. They’d come to Montréal to meet up with us. We hugged, we kissed, we took a tour! We stopped in at Giorgio (an Armani store) and the guy was so friendly he gave me and my uncle free scarves. Lightweight grey scarf for me, which I like a great deal! Then Mom and my Aunt tried on shoes, and pretty much the trip went like that. Walk, talk, eat, drink, shop.
My Uncle presented me with my grandfather’s cufflinks and tie-pin. They say ‘M.E.’ in Hebrew, and as I’m the last one in the family with the initials who is both cool and actually wears shirts with cufflinks now and then, I get them. Most of the rest of the trip was heavily personal, but I was so happy on the trip that I didn’t miss home until I got there and was covered in cats.
A well done trip.