Lake Toho Sunset

Last Saturday all 3 kids had sleepovers with friends. That meant Ingrid and I had a night to ourselves. I don’t even remember the last time that happened, probably March I guess. We went out to dinner at Crabby Bills and took a nice walk in the park along the southern shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga. We had a beautiful view, and I snapped a few shots with my phone. A better camera would have done it justice but one of them came out O.K. enough to give a bit of an idea of what it was like. It was pretty impressive. Clicking on it will get you the full size photo.

Florida DrupalCamp 2010

This last Saturday (Feb 20th) I had the privilege of attending Florida DrupalCamp 2010. It was a great time and very much a worthwhile investment of time. There were great presenters, presentations and good food as well as swag. I don’t think one could ask for more for $6.11. The lunch or t-shirt alone were worth more than that. In fact I joked with my friends that when I was younger and single I’d have signed up for it just to get the food, even if I didn’t know what Drupal was.

This was my second DupalCamp after attending the camp in Atlanta last year. This one was smaller, but I think that makes sense, as the population of the Atlanta metro area is more than double that of the Orlando area. That said, the turnout was solid. The space was limited and it didn’t take long for all the spots to be taken and a waiting list to form. The event was held at the offices of Mindcomet, and they were very nice. It was a bit tight for all the people that came to the camp, but I was impressed they could handle all of us. They had very functional spaces and I thought more that once it looked like it would be a really nice place to work.

If you hit the camp site you can see what the schedule looked like and what sessions were offered. I mostly stuck to the intermediate track, and tried to upgrade my understanding of CCK, Views and taxonomy. As in Atlanta, I spent a lot of time just jotting down information of the various modules that presenters were using and storing that away for future reference. So much of the power of Drupal lies in learning what modules offer the most bang for the buck. I think I’ll start writing up posts on specific modules here in the near future. This is one space that seems to be lacking good resources. I hit “Top 10” lists every so often, but not much of real substance.

After the session on writing modules I bailed from the theming side of the intermediate track and jumped in to the beginner track for the sessions on modules and site maintenance. I don’t mind knowing how theming works, but I also know that design is not one of my strengths. If that kind of thing really matters, then the smart thing for me to do is not to spend tons of time and effort on what will be a mediocre outcome at best. I’m better off getting help from someone gifted and skilled in visual design. I can focus on my strengths that way and make sure things work the way they should while they make it all look nice.

I couldn’t attend the second day, it being my son’s birthday and life upset I’d taken an extra day away as it was. The folks that went got together and built a site for a local non-profit. They teamed up experienced folks with new folks and it was an opportunity to invest in the community and learn at the same time. Pretty awesome I think.

The sessions were videotaped and I’ll post when they become available, as anyone who couldn’t make it can still get the information. Everybody involved in putting this on did a phenomenal job. I was very impressed and I’m looking forward to next year.

Thinner

The older I get, the tougher it is to keep my weight where it should be. This summer I got on a diet and started exercising regularly. Progress has been slow but steady for the most part. The holidays were a bit tough, but I escaped without too much damage. Coming into the new year, I’ve been able to get things rolling again. It’s fun to finally be hitting a point where I feel better. I don’t realize how crummy I feel when I’m heavier until I get the weight off and I can feel the difference.

I’m not in great shape yet. I still need to lose another 25 or 30 pounds. (Though I just started lifting weights which is shifting my focus to body composition as opposed to purely weight. I’d been doing pure cardio before this.) I tried to run 3 miles yesterday. I made it 2 before I needed to stop and walk every so often. Not bad though, last time I tried it, 1.5 was about all I could put together.

If I can keep getting better at it, and my knees hold up I may run the Corporate 5K in April. Barring injury or some other unseen issue, that’s a very doable goal.

Sound of Lightning

Last night we were all hanging out at home. There was a thunderstorm. Some of us were upstairs, some down stairs. Lightning struck, out front I think, and it made a huge ‘crack’ or ‘snap’ sound. In fact – the sound I’ve heard when smaller stuff arced – but much louder. The kids screamed – I went around and checked that everything was o.k. The GFI was triggered on an outlet in back but I have no idea if it was related. Pretty crazy. Apparently the Orlando area had 5,000 lightning strikes in a single hour during the storm. 3,000 the hour after that. Wow. That is the closest I’ve ever been to a lightning strike in my life.

Oracle SQL Developer setup for MySQL on Fedora 10

I started working on a project today that uses the MySQL relational database to save data on the back-end. One of the packages available for Fedora 10, my current desktop OS, is the mysql-gui-tools package. This includes the MySQL Administrator and MySQL Query Browser programs. I had those already installed, but after a few minutes I knew that the Query Browser just wasn’t going to work for me. I kept trying to copy queries into the little window, and errors were getting into it somewhow. And even if that weren’t happening, I couldn’t get it to resize and not being able to look at more than a couple lines at a time was driving me nuts. So I hopped over to OTN and grabbed Oracle SQL Developer. SQL Developer was built with Oracle in mind but it can connect to a variety of database systems.

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Watching the Lightning

I get to see a decent number of Tampa Bay Lightning games on t.v. here in Orlando. I do enjoy that. I have to confess, it is odd seeing Rick Tocchet behind the bench in a suit. Not just because I watched him as a player for so long but because it wasn’t all that long ago there was a chance he might go to jail.

Oh! Lightning just went up by one. Need to quit blogging and focus on watching.

Florida Cottonmouth Encounter

The whole family went for a bike ride today. We stayed within a couple miles of home but did try out new routes. We went down a dirt road that ended at a gate that was locked and there was a no trespassing sign. Vegetation was pretty thick around the road and there was some watery areas so I kept an eye out for snakes. We rode back up out of there and stopped by one of the large ponds near Wycliffe so the kids could get a drink and have a snack. We brought water and granola bars.

I stopped near some grates over pipes into the pond so we could walk out on them and look out over the water. It looks like maybe a spot to try fishing some time. There were some holes carved into the side of the pond so we told the kids to watch their step around them. As we all walked about looking, I looked back at one of the holes and saw a very large snake coiled up. So I gathered Ingrid and the kids away from it and then we watched it for a while. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it opened it’s mouth and that led me to believe it might be a cotton mouth. I checked online and it was definitely a Florida Cottonmouth.

We walked around right by it for a few minutes before we realized it was there. It’s a cool day here (for Florida) so maybe that helped keep it from wanting to be active. From what I’ve read they are like most animals anyway and stay away from people if they can. I’m still glad nobody got bit. Once we realized it was there we were able to appreciate it from a safe distance. Pictures below – click on them for larger. I took them with my phone so that aren’t that great.