Do you know what happens when you leave a fish too long in an elevator?

You don’t??

Well here’s a clue:

Fish is biodegradable.

That means it rots!

Ah, the Jazz Butcher.  Love that band.

Seriously, though, do you know what happens when you leave a cell phone too long in a fish?  Apparently nothing!

Personally, I’ve never never had my cell phone swallowed by a 25 pound cod.  I have, however, lost it in the fall, and found it again after the snow melted in spring, plugged it into the charger and have it turn on, just like that.  In fact, I gave it to a friend, and she’s still using it.  It’s a Samsung, in case you’re wondering.

Granted, unless you beat on the things, there’s really not too much that can go awry.  But it’s still pretty amazing.

Twitter On Fire!

I like Twitter.

A lot.

I’ve also seen it do amazing things, like give me and everyone in Portland instant information about the weather. Or hearing about an earthquake that happened, seconds after it happened. I hear things on the news days after I hear about it through my Twitter network. It’s amazing. Networking, keeping in touch with friends, keeping my finger on the pulse of the tech community of Portland – all through Twitter.
I’ve also seen friends and aquaintances of mine ask questions of their tweeple (twitter+people) and have a truly amazing level of feedback, instantly. Instantly. Can you say that about forums? Or, ha, customer service? However, it’s not something that has ever happened to me.

Until now.

I’m currently helping the ORBlogs effort become an agile project. I’m also going back to IT at work (joy!) and have been approached about being a technical lead on a project at work. Being, as I am, an agile-vangelist, I thought it would be truly great if I could find a web-based agile tracking application that would help me with both of those efforts. So…I figured, I’d hit up my Twitterverse, see if they know anything. I mean, what the heck do I have 170+ people following me for if I can’t ping ’em for info now and again, right? I figured my pal and former coworker/teammate Jason (@slimstarman) would probably have some feedback about it, but I wasn’t sure if anyone else in my little network would have any ideas.

Well, I tossed out my question:

So, I figured I’d get a response or two, maybe three, right?  Boy, was I in for a surprise!  Witness:
And there was more.  That’s just the first major clump.  Wow.  I mean, wow.  Witness, the power of Twitter.  I mean, all those responses, within a minute of my question.  A MINUTE.  Instant, relevant, helpful, information.
Thanks to @hamids, @evacatherder, @mcottmeyer, @slimstarman (Ha!  See, I knew he’d have an opinon), @donpdonp, @gerrykirk, @rickwindham, @rockcogley, and @silvercatalyst for all the great feedback on my humble little question.  I ended up liking the Pivotal Tracker (@pivotaltracker!  They’re on twitter too!) and am giving it a test drive.
So to commemorate my first-hand exposure to the Power of Twitter, I will be wearing my new ThinkGeek shirt tonight at Ignite Portland 5!!!  It’s got Twitter written all over it. 
If you’re in Portland tonight around 6pm, just go.  You’ll see.  It’s free, and it’s awesome.  But get there early!

Sniff sniff sniff: Is that spring I smell?

Right.  I know, it snowed the other day.  I figure, it don’t stick, it don’t count, right?  And yes, I heard Dave Salesky saying it’s gonna snow tomorrow, too. 

And that, my friends, will make SEVENTEEN days of snow this winter!

But!  There was that one day last week.  Were you there?  Did you see it?  It was warm!  I took my jacket off!  I wore my sunglasses!

Well, I mean, I often wear my sunglasses even when it’s cloudy.  Cloud glare, you know.  Anyway…

It was just one day.  But hear me, my fellow PDXers:  Spring, she is a-comin!

It’s hard to believe it after the winter we’ve had.  But buck up, lil’ buckaroos.  There’s stuff sprouting.  The sun is warming.  Trees are shooting!  Err, you know, putting out shoots!  My bike gloves are looking awfully tempting!  My hyacinths are BLOOMING!  Seriously, like out of the ground, flowers, all…bloomed.  (I tried shoving ’em back in, telling them it’s too early, but they didn’t seem to like that too much.)  My fave Springwater Corridor Trail will be seeing my return soon!  Joy.  Happy sigh, even.

SO!  In honour of this impending nice weather craziness that is looming in our future (oh please!  Loom!  LOOM FASTER!), how about getting out to get that Springwater Corridor Trail, and the Johnson Creek Watershed it’s in, all spruced up for springtime?

Well, then, block March 7th on your iPhones, because it’s the 11th Annual Watershed Wide Work Party!  Complete with Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon!  (*cough* free lunch *cough*)  Come on out and lend a hand, meet your fellow PDX-lovin’ neighbors, get some fresh (hopefully springy!) air, exercise and fun!  And hello, free food.  Did I mention the free food? 

I, alas, will not be able to join you.  Please go in my stead.  Represent, and stuff.  I will be working VERY, VERY hard to facilitate the return of ORBlogs to our beloved PDX interweb at the first ORBlogs Code Sprint, kindly hosted by our friends at CubeSpace.  So if you’re not feeling up to the task of watershed sprucing, come and hang out at CubeSpace and lend a hand to make ORBlogs a thing of beauty for all of us to use.

Huzzah for Volunteers!

Spreadin’ the blog love

My fellow bloggers have truly been outdoing themselves lately.  So I thought I’d just give a shout out to some great stuff they’ve been writing lately.  Hey, Valentine’s Day is coming, right?  What better way to spread some blogger on blogger love then to …ahem…expose each other 😉

@caseorganic, aka Amber Case, wrote a great post with five dating tips for nerds.  Very useful!  Plus, she quotes me, so you know it must be really good info. 

@melissalion, aka um, well Melissa Lion, has tasked us with crawling up from the muck that is our paltry existence, raise ourselves up and try to be her!  Oh happy day!  If you think you’re up to the task, my pretties, take a shot at The Melissa Lion International* Superiority Smugacity Self-Improvement Challenge.  I’m making chai.  From Starbucks. 

The Recovering Straight Girl has some food for thought on the idea that being gay is a choice.  I must say, I agree…whether or not it’s a choice, I wouldn’t want to be any other way.

Seems my love affair with PDX is rubbing off on people.  @jarvitron aka zenboy wrote this blog post about how much he loves Portland, too.  We should have a PDX love-in or something.

As far as work-type blogs go, one of my favorites is Web Worker Daily.  Although they tend to cater to gig workers, there’s still lots of great info.  And now, I have a go-to article to send all my friends to when I find myself at a loss to explain the coolness of Twitter, complete with some of its drawbacks.

And not the least, @cecivirtue posted some AMAZING phone pix of the opening night party of Coraline.  They had the actual sets on display at the party!  Wow.  Cherry blossoms done with spray painted popcorn?  Very, very cool.  Makes me miss my old movie construction days, when I built breakaway doors, installed fake plastic Japanese roof tiles, and got to play with gas torches to distress wood beams.  Ahh, movie magic.

Spread the blog love, and take a peek at some of my favorite bloggers.  Or check my new blogroll over there on the right.  Yeah over there.  Under my recent flickr pictures.  Read their stuff, and comment often.  They and I will appreciate it!

Zut Alor! Or how to keep your non-photog friends

I clearly remember the first time I realized that being a photographer can strain relationships.

I was 15 years old, in Paris.  (Wheee!!!)

I was 15 years old, in Paris, with my mother.  (Ouch.)

So here I am, tooling around Paris with my mom.  I’d been taking french classes in high school, so I knew all the history, the art, the things to see.  We saw the Louvre.  We did Versailles.  We floated down the Seine, and saw the (other, original) Statue of Liberty.  Arc de Triomphe, Place de la Concorde, all connected by the Champs Elysee.  Notre Dame. 

And yes, we went to Le Tour Eiffel.

Now granted, this was before digital photography.  Each roll of film cost money to look at, and you couldn’t erase the bad shots  right when you took them.  I know.  I get that.

But dude.  The fraking Eiffel Tower, right?!

So due to my penchant for it, my mother entrusted me as official trip photographer.  Or, maybe I was the one willing to carry the camera.  Either way, I took lotsa pictures.  Lots and lots and lots.  I think we went home with something around 16 rolls of film.

Including the one iconic shot, of the Eiffel Tower in the background, my mother in the foreground, yelling at me to QUIT TAKING SO MANY DAMN PICTURES!!!!

But…It’s the Eiffel Tower, I insisted!

Yeah, and you’ve already taken 50 pictures of it already!

But…but I gotta get it *just right*.

Bless the inventors of the digital camera, by the way.  May you be showered with blessings upon you, and upon your children, and their children’s children. 

So I learned that people who don’t appreciate and/or enjoy the craft of photography tend to get pissy when you stop every five minutes and spend 10 minutes ‘framing your shot’ and then taking 30 versions of that shot to get it, you know, *just right*.

If you’re gonna go off walking around, taking pictures, go with other photo walkers.  They are far more understanding of the slow pace required.  And will most likely still talk to you afterwards.  They certainly won’t berate you, or ground you for using up 16 rolls of film.

With that in mind, thanks to Aaron Hockley, aka @ahockley, for organizing the first Geek Photo Walk!

There will be pictures.  Oh, yes, there will be pictures.  Look!  To the right!  A Recent Flickr Photos stream!

Yeah I know it’s empty.  Check back tomorrow, my peeps, check back tomorrow.   Activated! 

PS –  all you Flickr pros, any tips on using it = much appreciated!

Maybe I’ll embrace The Cloud. Maybe.

Remember The Cloud post?  From last week?  Well, a friend of mine sent me a link to this article that totally hit the nail on the head.  Except, well, it was the opposite nail. 

See, I was slowly descending into this state of panic.  Panic brain was sending me visions of myself, a drooling, brainless idiot, useless without my interwebs connection.  But perhaps, if you believe the claims in that article, perhaps I’ve just found a bigger storage system?

I dunno.  I’m not sure I want to be dependent on a solid wifi signal.  But boy, am I brilliant when I do have one.

I lost my brain in The Cloud

I have outsourced entire chunks of my brain to the Cloud.

I’m not exactly sure how that happened.

I mean, I used to know lots of stuff. Lots. I used to be a walking dictionary of Roman, Greek and a touch of Norse mythology. I once won a Trivial Pursuit game because I knew what Hadrian’s Wall was, at the age of 12. I knew the entire geneology of 80’s pop/alternative/new wave music. (Yeah, I’ll CLAIM THAT SUCKA!) I could’ve taught classes on the impressionist and dada art movement. I wanted to be an aerospace engineer, or at least a physicist.

Ok whoa. This was not intended to be a ‘look at all the stuff I know, I’m so smart.’ I mean, I am, and I do…or at least I did…know lotsa stuff. But not anymore. Because, you see, I’ve outsourced.

Perhaps I just reached a critical mass of information, and I needed to let some stuff go. Perhaps I’m getting more selective about the stuff I keep in my head. No, it’s not because I’m getting old. No way. Nuh uh.

Although, now I realize what older folks mean when they tell those young’uns “I’ve forgotten more stuff then you’ve ever known!”.

Whatever the reason, the effect is a bit disturbing, and usually the same. Someone will ask, or the situation will call for, some random/obscure/cool/pertinent piece of data/trivia/factoid. And my brain will go “ZOMG I KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT !!!!!” And will then proceed to flip through my (extremely scattered) Intellect-O-Matic filing system, only to find that instead of the little tidbit of data/triva/factoid, there’s a sign.

That sign says:


Crap. Fortunately, I have an iPhone, which means I have surgically implanted my phone into my hand or pocket at any given moment. But what happens if I leave my phone at home? (ok haha, that was a joke.) But really, what if I lose it? Or, I have no service? Or…armeggedon? How will I entertain, amuse, enlighten and educate my friends and aquaintances should the apocolypse arrive?

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Are we becoming too reliant on the internet for information? Where, and more importantly, how do you draw the line? Is there a limit to how much information one brain can hold?

I tend to think there isn’t. Or at least, I think I’m not living up to my potential. (Oh, how often I’ve heard those words growing up.)

So I’m thinking of declaring war on Wikipedia. Rejecting Roget’s. I think I will attempt to relegate them to a more appropriate place in my data aquisition model.

But first, I just have to figure out how. And if I should.

I can haz grace!

Hallo interwebs!  A little Morgan history:

I once tripped over the same spot in the sidewalk three times in a row.  And by once, I mean last week.  And when I say in a row, I mean I went to get coffee, trip.  Came back from coffee, trip.  Stopped, walked back to see what I tripped on, trip. 

Apparently I am not the most graceful person out there.  Everyone seems to have this opinion of me; my friends, my coworkers…even my mother.  I was actually forbidden from using knives for a while when I was younger, since I seemed to cut myself so often.  I still have scars from some of those incidents.  She’d always yell at me for flipping things.  Cans of vegetables.  Sticks.  Frying pans.  Crepes. (Although I firmly believe you’re supposed to flip those.)  Rocks.  My brother.  (oh, that’s ‘trip’ not ‘flip’ on that last one, sorry.)  She’d yell at me, claiming that it was just a matter of time before I dropped it, and crack! would go one of the ceramic kitchen tiles, and I’d be in TROUBLE!  Because, you see, I’m clumsy.  She’d say.

I think it’s a vicious lie, however. 

No kitchen tiles ever broke to my knowledge.  Those were some strong, hefty tiles!

So in order to quell this rising tide of bad publicity, a few years ago I decided to silence my detractors once and for all. 

Yep, I was going to teach myself to juggle.  Because really, that’s sort of what I was getting at, with all that flipping anyway, right?

And damnit, I did it.  I can juggle, three balls, pretty decently, for a few mins at a time, if I’m practicing.  Without droppage, much to my dog’s dismay.  (She thinks it’s some kind of cruel canine torture.)  I even went and bought myself some NICE juggling balls, that come in a fancy box.

And then I tried pins.  And those were awesomely fun.  And I even juggled with someone else, once, and we actually managed a transfer.  Once.

Then I tried rings.  Those are kinda hard.  Still haven’t gotten those down.

And THEN, because I grew up in the 80’s and watched Labyrinth five BEEELION times, I tried contact juggling.  And while I’m not ready to, you know, break it out at parties, I will say my skills are much better than when I first bought my clear acrylic ball.  Which is now scratched up beyond belief.

So now I think of myself as a juggler.  I’m really bad compared to Cirque du Soleil.  But next to my dog, I’m a wizard.  I realize that’s a pretty wide range there, but suffice that I’m in there somewhere, and not at the very bottom.

Imagine my glee, then, when I make the aquantance of one @lawduck via Twitter, and we’re gonna have a Camp. Because that’s what you do in Portland, you find a couple people who like something, and decide to host a Camp about it so you can share it with everyone else.

This is gonna be a CircusCamp. Wherein, I’m guessing, there will be juggling. And juggling lessons. And other circusy-type stuff.  Perhaps bears.  Juggling bears.  And fire eaters! 


Fire juggling!  <my inner pyromaniac is twitching>

Ok maybe not.  But maybe! 

So.  If you’d like to help create this CircusCamp thing, ping @lawduck, or me (@morganpdx), or @dietrich. 

And then start looking for some really kickass juggling balls.

End Wordiness!

I had an epiphany today about my blog.  A blog-iphany.  I realized something amazing.

My blog posts don’t need to be three pages long!!!!

Whoa.  Really?  You mean, I can haz short blog posts?  Short and sweet?  To the point? (yeah, right.  Don’t hold your breath on that one.)

Oh My.  Yes.

So along the lines of End Bloglessness a few weeks ago and End Joblessness tomorrow (you should go!  GO!!!  What are you waiting for?  Go.), I hereby will End Wordiness.  Or at least, excessive, unnecessarily long blog posts with numerous topics all jumbled together just for the sake of making my posts long.  How dumb was that?  Shyeah.  Silly me.  I really was relying on all y’all to, you know, “guide” me along my little blog journey, keep me from going astray.  Frankly I think you guys let me down on this one, but no worries.  No harm no foul.  You had to read ’em, right?  Right.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t be going all left field rants on you when the mood strikes.  But the house cleaning posts, not necessary.  Unless it’s about, well, house cleaning.  Or if it’s just a whole bunch of little related stuff.

Anyway.  Here’s a sample of what my shorter blog posts might look like, in the future:

I know what Skype is.  But it still doesn't sound like a nice thing to do to your friends and family.

I know what Skype is. But it still doesn't sound like a nice thing to do to your friends and family.

So there’s a charity wedding gown event at the hotel near where I work, in case anyone is interested.  And you can Skype your matrimonial finds to your friends and family, because you know any person buying a wedding gown clearly cannot make a decision on her (or his) own.  Clearly.  Anyone who doesn’t consult every last friend and relative is an alien, or a sociapath.  So please, skype that sequined, brocaded, appliqued satin/chenille/tulle gown.

Of politicos and prose

What a week this has been.

I mean seriously, people.  Half the country will remember where they were yesterday for the rest of their lives, for starters.  For me, this week has been…Momentous.  Thrilling.  Moving.  Confusing.  Thought provoking.  Surprising.

So how many blog posts have you seen about the Inauguration?  I know, me too.  Tons.  And I kinda didn’t want to just add to the Obama mania noise with my piddly two cents.  So this is just an amalgamation of a couple things swirling around my head, including (I mean really, come on, I have to say something, right?) my little Obama plug.  Call it another house cleaning post.


So without furthur ado…OBAMA!

That's my president.  Isn't he shiny and new?

That's my president. Isn't he shiny and new?

I recorded the exact moment in his speech where I lost it.  It was right about 10 minutes, 17 or so seconds into it:

“…to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more. ”

…and queue tears. 


I’m resolving to get my carpentry on for Habitat for Humanity this year.  That’s what I’m doing, for starters.  What about you?

Also, check out my buddy @dieselboi’s post on OurPDX.  He was THERE. And he has PICTURES!


Et Tu, Sam?

Sam.  We're all disappointed.

Sam. We're all disappointed.

What the hell??  My twitter/FB community has been, well, a-twitter with the news of Sam Adams’ announcement, and the repurcussions.  So he slept with an 18 year old intern.  Big deal!!  (as long as he was, in fact, 18.)  He should not have lied about it.  Especially when he was asked directly.  He could have skirted the truth, but no, he flat out lied.  And asked Beau Breedlove (yeah, what a name, huh?) to lie about it as well.  Which says clearly, I’m afraid that people will use this against me because I’m gay.  So I’m gonna hide my gay (legal) indiscretions.  Sure, it may not demonstrate the best judgment in your personal life, but it’s your personal life.  Your record of service speaks for itself.  If you’re gonna be our out and proud mayor, Sam, be out and proud.  You broke no law.  But now, the city is clamoring for you to step down, because they feel betrayed.  I personally don’t think so you should step down, despite my disappointment. I think the city would be best served by you staying in office, especially now that you will do your damnedest to improve your reputation. 

Some fellow bloggers who feel the same:


Nao fala portuguese!

I’ve been reminded just how much I love Portuguese.  Such a beautiful language.  I remember the first time I heard it.  I was at a friends house, and she was playing some music.  It was in a language that at first, I thought was French.  But soon realized it couldn’t be French, since I couldn’t make out a single word.  Spanish then?  No, again, don’t recognize any words as Spanish.  Yet I felt so sure that I should be able to understand what they were saying, it sounded so…familiar.  Thus began my love of the Portuguese language.  Mostly the Brazilian flavor.  

I was also introduced to Fernando Pessoa, a Portuguese poet.  And I heard beautiful words, placed in such a way as to make my heart hum in rhythm with the sounds.  Pitter pat, pitter pat:

If I could tell the future and if I knew all secrets,
and if I had all knowledge,
and if I had enough faith to move mountains,
but if I didn’t have love,
I would be nothing.

Eu tenho saudade.

I think I need to do something with those lines.  Like, something that will go on my walls.  I know, I’ll paint them, right on my wall.  In big fancy letters.  Big swirly fancy letters, that go across my walls.  So I can be reminded every day of the essence of my heart. 

See #7 for the reason why.


Ok, so maybe working here ain’t so bad after all.

I did a really hard thing.  I told people that I had made something of a commitment to, that well, it doesn’t seem to be working out.  It was a possible break up, and I was interested in someone else.  Or at least, something else.  I had to do it several times.  No one freaked, and I didn’t get fired.  Everyone was supportive, and understanding.  It was not painless (I do develop loyalties tres quickly.  Tres.), but they were at least conversations I could walk away from with my head held high, and no hard feelings, and mutual positive spin.  And it wasn’t even really spin, really.  I learned a lot.  No really, my brain is full of stuff, and I’ll take that with me, and be better for it.  But I have to follow my passion.  And even better, I was told I *could* go back, if I wanted to.

I can be a total geek at work again.  Joy!  Yeah yeah all you open source peeps out there, it’s .NET.  Yes, there is a bajillion hoops, some of them on fire, and politics and crap.  But I understand it.  I’ve maneuvered those roads, they’re familiar, and now that time has passed, they don’t seem so bad, in exchange for being able to be a code monkey again, and get PAID for it.

I haven’t decided for sure that I’m going back yet.  But I can, if I want to, and everyone knows I’m thinking about it, and it didn’t hurt (much) to tell everyone. 

I can even – maybe – be agile again.