DrupalCon just happened to take place in my favorite place this year – Colorado! Spent 3 days taking notes and absorbing everything Drupal. Then headed off to Leadville and 2 days of snowboarding at Cooper Mountain. This video sums up my first ever snowboarding experience:

Day 1

I’m here! I made it! Got home from Maryland last night after midnight and got up at 4am to make a 6am flight out of Harrisburg. Needless to say, I slept the ENTIRE flight from Newark to Denver. Arrived at noon, got my rental car, headed into Denver to pick up a couple hiking guides at Barnes and Noble. I had ordered a couple books from REI on Monday and had them shipped overnight. They still weren’t there Wednesday. It seems USPS won’t ship overnight to a PO Box. Gee, they sure take your money for it!!! Grrr.

Left B&N, grabbed some food and while I ate, paged through the guidebooks figuring out where I was going to go first. By 3:30, I was heading out of Denver and into the mountains to Mt. Evans, a “fourteener”. Drove a scenic byway that went almost to the summit then hiked the rest of the way. H o l y c o w. I walked slowly but had to stop several times on the way up because I was so lightheaded. And by the time I got to the summit I had a massive, pounding headache. Hello altitude. Geesh. Spent an hour or so at the top getting a bunch of video and pictures and just taking it all in.

Mick on the summit of Mt. Evans

Mick on the summit of Mt. Evans

View from summit of Mt. Evans

View from summit of Mt. Evans

Mountain goat on Mt. Evans

Mountain goat on Mt. Evans

Getting back to the lower altitude of Denver, my headache subsided but left me in a fog. Stumbled around a grocery store, picking up snacks and food for the next four days and checked in with my host family. Staying with a fellow DrupalCamper and his wife, cat, and awesome dog – a huge Akita!

Jane, Chris, and Tonka

Jane, Chris, and Tonka



Spending the rest of the evening Facebooking, blogging, and figuring out my plans for tomorrow – what trails I’m going to hike.

Day 2
Woke up last night with another pounding headache. Ugh. I guess going from a few hundred feet above sea level to over 14,000 ft in the same day isn’t so smart. Otherwise, slept well. Got up to a beautiful, sunny, cloudless day….that was supposed to hit 100 degrees in Denver!!! I headed to the mountains early to escape the heat. First on the agenda was a hike up to Herman Lake – going from 10k to 12k. Only saw a couple people on the way up. But I lounged on a huge boulder by the lake for a couple hours and saw a bunch of people, including a Continental Divide Trail thru-hiker (Mexico to Canada!), and just as many dogs! It’s a requirement out here. If you live here and you hike, you must own a medium to large sized dog. No exceptions. Check! I’ll have that one covered when I get back home.

Afterwards, I headed into Georgetown. I was going to take the scenic byway down to Grant, but they were doing road work and the road was closed from 1 to 3. So I bummed around Georgetown, shopping and eating. At 3:30 I headed out of town but only got about .3 miles. The roadwork was complete but the road was still closed 5 miles on because of a rockslide. I wouldn’t be doing that drive today. Waah. Found another scenic byway heading north towards Estes Park (site of the ill-fated marathon last year). Nice views but still more roadwork. By the end it was 5 pm so I turned east, driving through Boulder (I love Boulder!) and back down to Denver. Still had a lot to do this evening to prepare for the conference tomorrow to figure out where I was going and when.

Continental Divide Trail hike

Continental Divide Trail hike

View from the Continental Divide Trail

View from the Continental Divide Trail

View going up to Herman Lake

View going up to Herman Lake

At Herman Lake

At Herman Lake

Day 3
First day of the actual DrupalCamp. Attended sessions all day. It’s good to be back amongst others passionate about Drupal and technology. And interesting seeing some of the things that are being done with Drupal – amazing stuff and I WANT TO BE A PART OF IT, DAMNIT! I can’t get there fast enough.

Brain is fried so today’s post is short. Got out of sessions at 6:30, went for supper at an Italian place, then back to the host’s house and watched Mary and Max. Odd little movie. Still processing it. Time for bed. Zzzzzzzzzz.

Day 4
Super incredibly awesome day of sessions. Virtualization rocks. Special thanks to m_rookie for the Ubuntu help! Spent most of the day downloading various components during the sessions so that I could get to work on setting things up in the evening. Stayed up way past my bedtime installing a Linux server and getting Drupal and Drush going. Productive day. The cat helped…in his own way.


Day 5
Wow, what a day! Way more than I bargained for. Hooked up with a couple Drupal developers (Kevin Bridges and Tyler) to go downhill biking at Winter Park, about an hour or so west of Denver. Umm…like….this type of biking…

My plan was to take the EASY trails! That lasted till we got off the lift. The first trail we took was an intermediate trail. 45 minutes down the mountain just on the inside edge of control…mostly. The second run and we hit the black diamond trails. WHAT??? I like having all my appendages attached and my bones in one piece. I do!!! Almost lost it a couple times but stayed upright. Third run and we were on the “most difficult” Black Diamonds. Had to get off the bike and walk it over rock boulders and down steep embankments several times but I landed at the bottom completely unscathed. By this time, every muscle in my body was turning to jello. So we stopped for lunch. Finished lunch by 2:30, in time to do 2 more runs. I told Kevin and Tyler I’d meet them at the bottom and opted for an “easy” route this time. Easier to control, yes. But harder on the muscles. I swear half of it was uphill! Came to a cross-trail about halfway down and there was Tyler and Kevin sitting along side of the trail, helmets off, hanging out. Huh? Found out that they were as shot as I was. So we became a hangout point for a half hour for others passing by where we traded tails of broken bones. We continued on our way on our favorite black diamond trail – the Bootcamp trail. Awesome jumps and turns. I came around the last turn of the trail just in time to see Kevin wipe out…exactly 2 feet from the very end of the trail on the very last run of the day. He was fine but it was hilarious.

Wow. Amazing day. Except when I took one to the tail bone going over a rock I couldn’t avoid. Hope I can sit tomorrow. Or it’s going to be mighty uncomfortable on the plane.

I opted for the full body armor rental package!

I opted for the full body armor rental package!

Free piano for the taking. But you haul it!


I'm attending DrupalCamp Colorado!It’s just around the corner. Woot! And this year, I’m actually taking a couple extra days and enjoying Colorado. Staying west of Denver in the mountains. Planning to hike the day before the Camp and mountain bike the day after at Keystone.

Woohoo! Another adventure!

Working to get Leslie’s wireless going before the big party at Marcs.

Krumy and Mick

Drupalcon San Francisco 2010I’ve officially gone off the deep end. Started off my trip with a H.A.R.D. run. Five miles with Krumy and Blue Eyes. That in itself is nothing unusual. But Blue Eyes wanted to start at 4 am. Yes, that’s 4 am eastern time. So she could get her 20 miles in. Krumy and I would just be doing the first leg with her. Others were lined up for the later legs. So up at 3:30 to dress and drive into Annville by 4. I think Krumy said it best in a past blog post, “One thing about running with this group – it’s contagious. You find yourself agreeing to things you promised you would never do.” 3:30 is just too damn early to be getting up no matter how you look at it.

Made it to the airport to a delayed flight. They were waiting for a mechanic to show up to take care of a small maintenance issue. That’s always comforting.

Like a Fish Out of Water

Got to SF with only a slight case of motion sickness. No reading on the plane this trip, just daydreaming. Adhered to my #1 rule though (no barfing at all cost). Hopped a shuttle to the hotel. Back in the city. Sorry to those of you who think San Francisco is great. To me it’s just another concentrated area of concrete, steel, and people with too much noise, overpowering smells, and overwhelming commotion. Not my thing. Why can’t they have these conferences in Rocky Mountain National Park or Yellowstone or someplace where you can camp out and talk Drupal by a campfire? I just don’t understand.

Tried to check into the hotel at 1:30. Room’s not ready, take a hike till 3 please. Out into the streets to find some lunch. Back to the hotel, check in, nap, wrestle with the computer to get connected to the wifi, and figured out the game plan for tomorrow. No TV remote in the room. Oh well, I don’t want to get sucked in anyway. Whined to a friend about being in the city and about dreading the next four days of trying to find a niche to fit into, and then off to bed.

Code Sprint Day

Leisurely morning getting out of bed – 10am!!! Errr…well…it was 7 am in San Francisco but I was still on east coast time. Put on my big girl pants and made my way over to the convention center, stopping for breakfast on the way. Registered and sat down to look over the conference book. Code sprint started at 10. [What's a code sprint? Version 7 of Drupal is in the works. In order to release it, the remainder of the bugs must be patched and tested. The code sprint is a mass effort to get as many items in the issue queue taken care of as possible.] No idea what I’d be able to do to contribute but headed over anyway. Sat down in the “documentation” section, sure that I didn’t know enough to join the Services or Code testing areas. The guy next to me immediately started jabbering about some node thing he was working on. I was out of my league. The best developers in Drupal were sitting all around me. I clearly didn’t belong. Checked email, typed a few text messages, and packed up. Nothing for me to do here. Headed towards the door and got about 10 feet from it when a guy jumped in front of me blocking my way.

Him: “Are you here for the code sprint?”
Me: “Well, I was but I’m in over my head.”
Him: “No, no. Come sit down. We’ll have you testing in less than an hour.”
Me: “You sure? I really have no idea what I’m doing.”
Him: “Positive. Do you have a testing environment set up on your laptop?”

Within an hour, I had a server set up, was applying patches, and testing code with the group I was sitting with. Woohoo! Finally got over a hurdle I’ve been trying to clear for 6 months! And one that opens up a ton of other doors. Let the conference begin!

Went to lunch with my group, locals who knew their way around SF. I picked their brains on what would be a good route to run and see the city. Worked with the group until 5, then headed back to the hotel, grabbed supper, and decided what sessions I was going to attend for the next 3 days.

Conference Day 1

Me with Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder

Me with Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder

Long day of sessions today. Nothing earth shattering – just confirmation of how far I can go with Drupal and how far I have to go with Drupal. The best part was the keynote speech by the founder of Drupal – Dries Buytaert. It was what I was looking forward to the most today. His speech last year was incredible. He didn’t disappoint. He has an amazing grasp of the larger picture of not just Drupal but technology in general and a clear vision for Drupal, and clearly illustrates Drupal’s path for the future. He has a way of creating a culture of sharing and collaboration, of making you want to give back to the community, and of energizing and inspiring you….I drank the Drupal Coolaid.

I attended sessions on security, the Top 20 Drupal API’s, the Views module, Object-oriented PHP, and Drupal as a Web service. Cool stuff.

There are 3,000 people attending this conference (up from 1,400 last year) so I was glad to see a few familiar faces – people I met at the DrupalCamp in Colorado last year. Got caught up with them.

Also made my peace with the city today. Not quite as intimidated or overwhelmed once I figure out where I’m going. The walking commute to and from the convention center is actually kind of nice. (Did I type that out loud?)

Drupalisms of the day:
Talk is silver, code is gold.
I want a Druplipet.

Conference Day 2
Another full day of sessions. Hard to believe it was only one day. Tried a different tactic this morning – session hopping. Instead of trying to stick it out in a session that I wasn’t getting much out of, I sat in on several for a few minutes each to get a feel for them. Ended up staying in sessions on internationalization (translating your site), the Views module (another one…it’s a complex module! I also have 7 hours worth of video waiting to be watched on the views module. Did I mention it’s a complex module?), practices to keep your admin simple for your editors, panels module, Drupal 7 theming, Drupalchix, and got stuck in one that I really didn’t belong in but didn’t have the heart to leave…something about gardening with Drupal. What??? Lots of good info I need to explore.

Also met up with Laura from PingV of Colorado. Her company helped sponsor the DrupalCamp Colorado last year. Found out the DrupalCamp CO is on for this year but the dates are still being decided. Woohoo!!!! Two trips to Colorado already in the works for this summer.

Conference Day 3

More of the same today – sessions, sessions, sessions. One on making patches to submit back to the Drupal community, one on Drush (a command line thing that speeds up development) taught by a 14-year old!, module development, etc. Started to get fried near the end. This is it, thankfully. Time to go home tomorrow….taking a lot of good things back with me – collected lots of resources to work through and made some connections I can turn to when I need a push in the right direction.

Looking forward to getting home and back into the regular routine again. It’s been ages since I’ve seen that routine. And I promise, HARD, that includes getting my butt out of bed to run in the morning!

The Drupal Song at the closing ceremony – the person playing the accordion is the 14-year old presenter:

Never did finish this blog post. But this was the essence of the conference. Don’t have the time or brain power to articulate the rest right now except to list some interesting facts from the conference:

  • $72,000 spent on coffee.
  • ZERO IE6 users on the DrupalCon website (yeayyy!), 43% Apple users.
  • Had up to 2200 people use the internet simultaneously consuming a 92 megabit pipe. Whoever did the wifi at Moscone needs a raise.

Another video by the Krumster. This was last weekend’s 13 miler – from my house to the shop. I’m still finding bits of silly string in the shop!!!

My eyes stay closed while I listen to the wind whipping through the trees. If it’s loud enough that I can hear it in the house, it’s not going to be pleasant outside. I reach for my Blackberry and press 8, the speed dial for work. One hour delay. Great, that’ll give me the time I need to dig out.

I carefully descend the steps of doom with Charlie under my arm. He’s all perky and wanting to go outside. I open the front door to a wall of snow. Charlie skids to a halt. He looks up at me and raises an eyebrow. I head to the bathroom and pick up yesterday’s clothes off the floor and get dressed. Looks like I’m digging out first.

I step out onto the porch, grab the shovel, and start making a path for Charlie. He takes two steps out the door and lifts his leg. Lovely. I get to work, clearing the porch and making a path to the car and the wood pile. Back into the house to get ready for the day.

Jump into the car at 9:30 with my stomach rumbling. My appetite is in high gear with the marathon training. But the cupboards are bare so it’s Mickey D’s for breakfast.

I back out of the driveway and into the lane, glad for the 4-wheel drive. Snow is about 6 inches deep. No problem. Head out, cross the spring and make the turn toward the main road. Hmmm…snow’s a little deeper here. 10 inches? I congratulate my KIA. We haven’t had the best relationship but it looks like it’s finally going to come through for me for once. Start feeling some resistance. Uh oh. Better floor it so I make it through this drift. Whew. Back to almost bare lane. I see another drift coming up. Hit the gas. Don’t want to get stuck. Bonk. Stop dead. Throw it in reverse. Spin the tires. Forward. Spin. Reverse. Spin. Forward. Spin. Smell the burning rubber. Shoot.

WoopsI go to hop out. The driver’s door opens 6 inches. Uh oh. Passenger door – 2 inches. Back to the hatchback. What? No way to open it from inside? I return to the driver’s seat, change my view of the situation from an annoyance to an adventure and begin strategizing. Worse comes to worse, I crawl out the sunroof. Back to the driver’s door and push hard with both feet. I squeeze out into waist deep snow.

I head down the lane back to house, and call into work to let them know I’ll be a little late. I grab the shovel and the bucket of ashes from cleaning out the wood stove the night before and head back to the car and start digging. An hour later I had moved enough snow to be able to start backing the car up. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the run I had when I got into the deep snow so I just ended up getting myself crossways in the lane. Time to give up.
Back to the house and call into work. “I’ll be working from home today.” My stomach sends a “FEED ME!!!” reminder. Uh oh. I have nothing to eat here. I take stock. No milk and no bread so that cuts out my usual fare of cereal and sandwiches. I start raiding the cupboard. Pancake mix (just add water!), an almost empty box of spaghetti, and a few packets of oatmeal. Pancakes it is. Huge pancakes. I post on Facebook while I wait for them to get done:

Michelle Williamson is stuck at home with an empty fridge and a ravenous appetite. Gonna have to get creative today.

I eat my pancakes and then the last couple slices of canned peaches I discover in the back of the fridge and settle onto the couch with my laptop. I contemplate what I’m going to eat when the pancakes wear off in a couple hours. Oatmeal just isn’t going to do it. I have visions of fighting Charlie for the last few morsels of his kibble. I surface a few hours later and do my usual check-ins – runner’s forum, email, Facebook, only to discover an entire conversation on Facebook from a bunch of smart-asses:

Jessica: mmmm.. i’m having super yummy pizza and chocolate chip cookies for lunch.. sooooo yummy! :)

I’d be jealous but I’m inclined to think that it was one of those “healthy” pizzas that taste like cardboard!!! Drooling over the cookies though.

Carol: Wait until Sally gets wind of this… she’ll be on snowshoes, limping, crawling and dragging herself to your place with a hot meal! LOL

[perking up] There’s hope! I can always count on Sally to rescue me!!!

Krumy: Ok – the stove is the white thing with the 4 black things on top – knobs turn it on… text if you need further instructions…

I tried that once. It didn’t turn out so well.

Leslie: The microwave is even easier. Do you have one of those?

I do. Just don’t ask me to set the time on it.

Leslie: The more techie the more likely it will get some action..…lmao

[Do not respond, Mick. I repeat, do not respond]

Krumy: I think I saw one back there – it’s more techie than the stove – she should know how to use that – at least for popcorn!

AND hot chocolate! Remember?!?

Carol: burn!

As in slam! or as in popcorn???

Krumy: Ummmmm… Oh so many things to respond with… ROTFLMAO!!!

Your second smart move for the day.

Shortly afterwards, I got a knock at my door. The neighbor had plowed me out! Time to go get my car…and head to the local pizza shop for a HUGE sub for a late lunch!

And I think I’ll do a little grocery shopping this evening…

Good news! There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just an introvert! Sounds stupid but it was a major revelation recently thanks to a conversation with co-worker, Lynn, and her suggestion of a book called the “The Introvert Advantage“. This book should be renamed to “Mick for Dummies” or “The Missing Manual of Mick” or “The World According to Mick”. It should have my picture on the front cover. And it should be required reading for anyone who considers me a friend or works with me. Really. It’s THAT accurate.

It explained to me:

  • why I’m more comfortable in smaller groups and one-on-ones than larger groups
  • why I keep information and my opinions to myself unless they are pried out of me
  • why I get grumpy if I’m around people or activities too long
  • why I like to backpack in the wilderness and can easily go for days without human interaction
  • why I can focus on and completely lose myself in figuring out geeky computer stuff
  • why eye contact is uncomfortable
  • why I like to listen a lot more than I like to talk
  • why, when I take in a lot of information, it takes me a while to process it
  • why I am not good “off the cuff”
  • why I don’t like the spotlight
  • why I always underestimate how much I know on a subject until I have completely mastered it
  • why words elude me in oral communication, but am able to put anything I want into writing
  • why it completely drains me to have to do a presentation
  • why I need alone time to recharge my batteries
  • why I prefer delving deep into a single subject rather than skimming the surface on many subjects

And it explained to me how and why extroverts (3/4 of the population) think and act the way they do and why their qualities are more valued in modern society.

I’ve come to realize several things:

  • That not everyone has a constant running internal dialog (chatter!) with themselves. WHAT??? REALLY??? (I can’t even fathom this.)
  • That I don’t have brain damage. No joke. I seriously thought that my brain was damaged in some way. That maybe my mom dropped me when I was a baby. Really.
  • That I’m just hard wired differently. And it’s not something I need to “overcome”. I just need to know how to use it to my advantage.

Introverts unite!!! Errr…hang on a sec…

Looks like a mission accomplished – http://krumy.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/181/


And the best line I’ve heard in a long time:

“One thing about running with this group – it’s contagious. You find yourself agreeing to things you promised you would never do.”

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