Washington DC – Part 2

Well, Day One is nearly in the bag. I got to the office early today and set up my gear, waited for people to arrive to photograph and then got down to business. I’ve done about half of what I needed to do while I’m here. I’m also getting the distinct impression that tomorrow is going to be hell. I’ve got an open-house, a party, corporate headshots with the VPs of my company and I have no idea when any of it is going to happen. I had wanted to get some nice photos of the office as well, but I’m not really sure how I’m going to squeeze that in.

The rest of my trip (which hadn’t occurred when I wrote that last post) what sort of nightmare-ish. My plane leaving Chicago was delayed, twice, stuck on the runway and very late getting to DC. The rental car that I was supposed to pick up was of course booked at an off-site lot. I waited a good 20 minutes for a shuttle that didn’t come, only to catch a ride with a different shuttle who was going nearby. I got to the car, got the keys, put everything in the trunk and drove away. 30 seconds down the road, exiting the airport, was a tollbooth! The airport access road is a toll road. How retarded is that! Of course, my wallet was in my jacket, my jacket was in the trunk and so I had to get out of the car in the middle of the road, get the wallet, and pay Consuela a whopping $0.50. Then I promptly proceeded to get lost trying to find my hotel. Apparently the name of the “area” I’m in isn’t any sort of town or city, it’s just an “area”. Well, guess what isn’t on highway signs? Areas! The only reason I found it at all is because I’m staying at a Marriott and it’s the tallest building around.

Finally pulling into the hotel and trying to check in presented it’s own set of problems. The room I have is in a block of rooms prepaid for by the company. So, I was slightly confused when the lady asked for a credit card to “hold the room”. We went back and forth for quite a while before she finally admitted she was trying to put “incidentals” on my card in the form of $100 a night. I told her to go suck wind. Prepaid means prepaid. It’s on a corporate card, if you have any problems, put it on that. I’m not a fucking rock star, I’m not going to trash the room, I’m not going to drain the mini-bar, please just give me the fucking room key. She relented.

So, at about 10:00pm, I finally put my head on my pillow and called it a day. A long, long day.

The rest of today has been going fine. Lots of meeting and greeting. I finally get to put a lot of faces with names, which is always nice. Our DC office is very nice and they’ve got me set up in my own office with all my gear. My only real concern now is what kind of steak I’m going to have at Shula’s tonight. lol.

Matt out.

Washington DC – Part 1

As I’m typing this, I’m cruising at 10,000 ft, on my way to Chicago Midway, on route to Washington DC. Why on earth I need to go up to Chicago instead of some more southerly destination is beyond me, but here I am. I’m taking the first of what I hope will be many business trips for my company. I have a photo shoot in DC and if all goes well, I might be repeating it in offices around the country (and possibly our International locations as well, but that’s more of a pipe dream).

It’s extremely hard leaving Lauren at home, especially with our little girl on the way. I have a strong urge to be home and helping her in every way I can. The only solace I have is that this might lead to advancement and raises if I’m able to pull it off. That’s really all that’s keeping me going at the moment.

Normally, I dislike travel on a cellular level. The entire process stimulates my annoyance glad and I basically become a grouchy ass hole for most of my trip. The airlines, the flights, the airports, the rental cars, the people in general, all bother me at some level. I’m not really sure why. I’ve always been fine traveling, I’m certainly not afraid of it. I just find the entire exercise of losing a day (or more) a waste of time. This, of course, is the exact opposite for personal travel.

For personal travel, the trip is part of the experience. The road trip I took to Savannah for instance, was greatly enjoyable.

The thought of being on a plane all day, just to be at the office tomorrow, a different office, where things are not familiar, just seems silly. If I was 100% billable as a web developer, I suppose this wouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately, photographing people and locations sort of depends on actually being in said location at the time of operating the camera, or so I’ve been told.

Anyway, hopefully this will be a good flight. I’ve got a seat open next to me and a new book to read, so hopefully I should be able to entertain myself for most of the day. The that fails, well, there’s always Plants vs Zombies.


So, I’ve been recently considering building a darknet machine with spare parts I have sitting around. I’ve come to realize that the plethora of media I have is so large, and normal P2P channels so inherently dangerous, that a subversive way to share it all with friends and family is really the way of the future. What if each of us puts together a mighty collection, a massive underground library, and then we all link up and share all that information. That would be beneficial to everyone.

The real question is how.

There’s always the old alternatives. Direct Connect has been around for years and you can still find DC hub and client software. That would probably offer the least overhead. We’d simply need a machine to be left on as a hub and then each person could connect at their leisure.

An old school WASTE network is another possibility, but that would involve sharing public keys to gain access, which is tiresome.

A small Hamachi (or Hamachi2) network would operate in a similar fashion, as would an OpenVPN. In those instances however, the user would all need client software and would have to add predetermined “friends” or friendly IP addresses.

Freenet would offer a step up from that in terms of content management since we’d be creating our own mini-internet.

Beyond that we’re talking about setting up home web and FTP servers. That might be a little more complicated (especially if I’m doing it) than I’m willing to get.

This is actually something I’d like to do. I have a perfectly usable AMD Athlon generation PC sitting under my desk at home not doing anything and a 20mbps fiber connection at the house. The trick would be finding huge IDE hard drives. Or, finding the money to upgrade to SATA. Originally I had wanted to use the box as a HTPC, but given that I don’t have anything worth streaming to my TV and that my TV tuner card died, that seems like more of a hassle than it’s worth.

Anyone have any ideas as far as setting up a network would be concerned? Anyone even interested in sharing their music/game/tv show collections? Thoughts?


Well, we’re back after our long and restful vacation to Savannah. We mostly went back for ourselves, just to see what had changed in seven years, but we were able to meet up with some good friends and have a great time while we were at it.

We started driving early last Saturday morning. With the wife being pregnant, and at the doctors recommendation, we stopped every hour or two for a stretch. That left us with plenty of time, but a two day drive. We decided to have some fun with it and stop at each state line for cheesy tourist pictures. I’ll spare you from seeing those. Our half way point was Mobile, AL, which isn’t really half way but does have something worth stopping for. The Brick Pit BBQ is located in Mobile and is on my (and others) lists of “Holy Grails of BBQ”. It’s a simple shack along side a back road in Mobile, about 20 minutes out of the way of anything in perticular. The sign on the road reads “This is the real deal. The Brick Pit, the best damn barbecue in the great state of Alabama”. That pretty much sums it up. The dining room is large enough for about 12 tables. You order through a small window at the back by the kitchen. Our first stop was all about the ribs. Perfect, succulent, fall off the bone pork spareribs. They were legendary. It was so good that we vowed to stop again on our way back in a week. We did, the 2nd time opting for the pulled pork. It simply dissolved in your mouth, it was even better than the ribs.

Fueled by tasty pork products the next day we hit the road by 5am and finished our drive into Savannah around 4pm. Just in time to check into the hotel. We found a great deal on staying at The Mansion at Forsyth. A cool boutique hotel, our room was huge and had a great view of the park. It had a massive soaking tub which Lauren enjoyed and one of those “rainfall” showers that I liked. As soon as we had dropped off our bags and changed we made a B-line strait to the historic district for some Pizza. We had always loved Vinny Van Go-go’s pizza while we were in school and it was still alive and kicking. We were able to meet up with two of Lauren’s old roommates, Brittney and Hallie and my old roommate Jason. It was awesome getting to catch up with everyone.

The next couple days we did the tourist thing as a group and met up with everybody for dinners and lunches. We went to our favorite Italian place where Lauren and I had dozens and dozens of dates. We visited all our old favorite SCAD buildings, various shops downtown, the school bookstore and most importantly, our old coffee shop, Gallery Espresso. It was great to all at once be excited to be back and at the same time, be in such familiar surroundings that it felt like we had just left. The SCAD kids hadn’t started classes yet, so we pretty much had the run of the town without huge crowds, which was nice. We even got in at Mrs Wilks, a crazy little B&B that serves the best lunch in the city.

Tuesday night we all headed out to the bar above our hotel for a little more catching up. I introduced Jason to Scotch and Lauren and the girls had milk and cake. We talked and caught up for hours and I had a great time talking shop with Jason. I really missed being able to have real artistic conversations with people and Jason and I are on the same wavelength on a lot of things so it was great to catch up. We even swapped some music by the end of the week and now I’m working my way through the great stuff he gave me to listen to (Teenage Bottlerocket is epic btw).

Friday we had to say goodbye once again to the city where my wife and I fell in love, where we met our best friends, and where we spent four years doing more crazy artsy things than I have in all my other years combined.

We packed up early in the morning and hit the road, stopping for breakfast along i95 before turning westward onto the i10 corridor. Thankfully traffic was light and we made good time back to Mobile where, as I mentioned before, we stopped once again for some BBQ. Saturday was more leasurely. We knew it was the shorter of the two sections so we were able to take our time. We stopped once again at each state line, getting photos at the ones we had missed the first time. Around lunch time we were in the middle of the Louisiana swamp. Stopping at a rest area, we asked some locals where we could find something to eat. The first things they mentioned were all generic and chain restaurants a couple exits away. We asked them for some more local flavor instead. It had turned into quite a “road food” trip. We were led to the Boudin Store, which from all outward appearances was just a convenience store (complete with gas pumps). Inside however, was a really nice guy with a thick cajun accent wanting to know what we’d like to eat. Lauren got the fried chicken and I opted for the shrimp and crawfish. Both were awesome. Just goes to show that there are some great experiences to be had at small local holes-in-the-wall.

Saturday night we pulled into the driveway finishing what was a truly great roadtrip. We had so much fun in Savannah and it was great to see everyone and catch up. It was a long drive, but totally worth it.