Route 66 – Our latest road trip

By James at August 04, 2009 04:22
Filed Under: Life in General, Non-Technical

With work, family, volunteerism, side jobs, and all the stuff which leads to an incredibly rich life, Carmina and I don’t get a lot of alone time. So we decided when we got married to take a road trip, by ourselves every wedding anniversary, alternating who got to choose where we went. This year was my turn and I decided we should take the road less traveled and follow Route 66. Carmina’s friends worked really hard to convince her it would be hot and boring, but I won out. I think Carmina had the time of her life. She keeps talking about our adventure, and has already started planning our next trip along Route 66 – this time with more people – and better planning to see more sights.

First day, Thursday July 30 – Beaumont, CA to Kingman, AZ. Leaving around 6 pm.

We got out of the house and on the road at 8:30 pm. Just a bit of a delay, but since the majority of our life revolves around herding cats, it was understandable. I love driving through the desert at night,Route 66 so took the reigns and drove for the first three or so hours. Carmina traded with me somewhere in the desert and took us into Kingman.

We had decided, both to be thrifty and enjoy the ride, to only stay in the less-than-well-known places to stay. First night was at the Knight’s Inn. It was a cute little motel, similar to what you might see in a movie.  It included a lumpy mattress, rock hard pillows, an air conditioner straining to cool the air, and when we walked out in the morning, a dead cockroach on the steps. Oh well, at least the serial killers had decided to take the night off.

Second day, Friday July 31 – Kingman, AZ to Holbrook, AZ.

Carmina found on the map the Grand Canyon Caverns in Peach Springs, AZ. A chance to go underground in an area we've never been and where no one knows us? Hot damn! Sign us up! Of course we decided that would be our first stop.

100_0174 100_0173 100_0175 100_0176
  King’s Inn, Kingman, AZ
 100_0180  100_0178 100_0181 100_0182
Nuthin but the best for Kingman PD Hills outside of Kingman One of the many tourist attractions

What was supposed to be a 60 minute drive ended up about 2 1/2 hours to get to the caverns. With so many things to see, we made a few stops along the way, the first being Hackberry, AZ.

100_0184 100_0185 100_0186 100_0183
Hackberry General Store The Wagon Queen Family Truckster A few people just didn’t make it
100_0194 100_0196 100_0197 100_0198
A local resident More beautiful scenery

The countryside is beautiful, and interestingly enough, there is not as much traffic as I had thought there would be. Apparently T-Rex and Velociraptors ranged during this era, so there are a lot of symbols, signs and actual sculptures around. We finally came across the Grand Canyon Caverns and made our way in. This spot is privately owned, so there is a bit of kitch associated with it. But they have done a great job in maintaining the premises and the tour guides are fun and informative. Ron was our guide, an old hippie, and while it was obvious his patter was well practiced, his references to pop culture made Carmina and I giggle.

100_0249 100_0205 100_0211 100_0232
Grand Canyon Cavern Inn Into the cavern “Popcorn” Leftover fallout shelter supplies

The rest of the day was devoted to driving along the road to see the sights, just taking our time to relax, and to make a final stop for the day at Meteor Crater. I was surprised to see brand new Burma Shave signs along the road, and had a good time explaining them to Carmina. The next “big” town we came across was Seligman. Since it was after 12 pm, we decided to stop and eat at none other than the Road Kill Cafe. umm… yummy. The food was great, the atmosphere was terrific with giant stuffed animal heads all over, and Carmina got her first taste of drinking tea out of a giant mason jar.

100_0250 100_0251 100_0252 100_0257
Umm..purty Burma Shave Where we ate More purtyness

I had been worried the weather would have been horribly hot. What I hadn’t stopped to figure was the area we were driving in was between 6000 and 8000 feet in elevation. The climate was cool and comfortable, at sometimes with a nice wind, and occasionally we had rain and thunderstorms. The next town we came to was Williams. Heading into town we came across the town cemetery and just had to stop and wander through. A cemetery with headstones nestled in the woods is one thing you just have to see. It was obvious there were two sections – the drab, dull area for the white folks, and the bright colorful area for everyone else.

100_0258 100_0259 100_0260 100_0263
Williams Cemetery The welcome sign at the Red Garter B & B

We finally made it to Meteor Crater about 4:00pm, and it is an amazing sight driving up to it. The crater is about 3 1/2 miles in circumference, 1 mile in diameter and 600-700 feet deep. NASA trained the Apollo astronauts in the crater and a lot of science has been done examining the crater and surrounding area.

100_0265 100_0268 100_0276 100_0281
Driving up to the rim Shots looking into the crater The impact area at the bottom.

Another little stop we had wanted to make was to the Homol’ovi ruins. After Meteor Crater we made our way about 20 miles further and followed the signs. The area was very beautiful, but we couldn’t find any ruins. It wasn’t until later we discovered we had been standing on them all along.

100_0285 100_0286 100_0288
Standing on ancient ruins. Doh! Dangerous. Keep away James looking for a short cut

One of the Eagles first hits was “Takin’ it easy”. “I was standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…” Meteor Crater has an informational AM radio station and during the broadcast, it mentions “going to the corner in Winslow and taking a picture with the ‘girl in the flatbed Ford’”. Seeing as we were only about 10 miles from Winslow, we just couldn’t pass it up.

100_0290 100_0291 100_0296 100_0293
The two of us making history I think I need a haircut The flatbed Ford
100_0297 100_0298 100_0300 100_0299
Two beams from the World Trade Center Another antique More roadside Americana

We made it to our destination for the day, Holbrook, Arizona. The motel was much nicer than Kingman, so we cleaned up, went out to eat, found provisions for the next day – along with pre-made margaritas – then, headed back to the room for some much needed rest.

Third day, Saturday August 1 – Holbrook, AZ to ?

When I was a kid, we took a vacation to the Petrified Forest and it was one of the places I wanted to show Carmina. The park is about 30 miles from Holbrook so we got up early to head out. 100_0303 Needless to say, we were a bit disappointed when we saw the Wigwam Motel on the way out of town, and realized we could have stayed there instead of a basic motel room. Oh well, next time.

Carmina had never seen petrified wood before, and we stopped off at one of the many “Petrified Wood Company”s in the area. We found some pretty nice pieces to bring home, and fortunately the cashier told us to declare them to the ranger when entering the National Park. After seeing the smallish pieces at the store Carmina was fascinated with the huge trees in the park. And I had a great time showing her around.

100_0305 100_0314 100_0315 100_0316
100_0317 100_0318 100_0307 100_0320

So, we had pretty much driven to where we had planned to go, and it was only 11:30 am. I had heard of Canyon de Chelly (“Shay”), but had never been. Asking the park ranger how long it would take we decided to head out. Driving through the Painted Desert and the rest of the Petrified Forest was amazing. I don’t know if I did it as a kid, but this time is something I will remember. Carmina commented on how it looked like “God said, I have this brush, let’s see what it will look like.”

100_0322 100_0323 100_0324 100_0326

Driving through the park are various turn outs and points of interest, one of which is Newspaper Rocks, a place where Anasazi hieroglyphics are on the rock faces. We stopped and started walking to the area, about a five minute stroll. Carmina ran up ahead and we got separated by a pushy old dude and his fake plastic wife. He was more interested in talking about gambling on his cell phone, and his comment to his phone companion was priceless. “Hmpf… these rocks don’t look anything like newspapers.”

100_0327 100_0328 100_0329
The Newspaper Rocks

Before President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway bill, Route 66 was the main road from Chicago to Los Angeles. Imagine the adventure of 100_0330driving through the desert in the 1930’s not knowing what was ahead, or what to expect. Apparently many people tried just that, and when their car broke down, all they could do was leave it by the side of the road. This car is an actual stopping point inside the park. And just outside the park, along Interstate 40, we saw another abandoned car, of the same vintage. I wish I could’ve taken a picture of that one as well.

Continuing on through the Painted Desert was incredible. We stopped along many places to take pictures of the spectacular views.

100_0335 100_0336

Leaving the Painted Desert we travelled North on State Hwy 191 through the Navajo Nation. More gorgeous views of high desert with junipers, scrub, thunderheads, and the occasional rain storm. As this is reservation land, there are no fences along the road, and we were greeted many times by horses grazing on the shoulder. All of the ranches have typical buildings with a Navajo Hogan as well. We arrived at Canyon de Chelly National Monument and decided to take the southern rim tour.

100_0337 100_0338 100_0339 100_0340
Carmina checking out a Navajo Hogan Canyon de Chelly

The Anaszi built homes in the sides of the cliffs, and this is one of the main reasons I wanted to go with Carmina to this area. Along with seeing these dwellings, the majesty of the canyon is both breathtaking and mystical. At one stop, Spider Rock, I started focusing on the spire, and began to feel as if I was floating. People still live and farm in the bottom of the canyon, right next to their ancestral areas. Something which both Carmina I found interesting and something which I doubt would be seen here in Southern California.

100_0344 100_0349 100_0350 100_0346
Cliff dwellings Spider Rock

100_0358At the last stop we met a young Navajo, Marc Begay, who was painting Navajo symbols on pieces of flagstone. He showed us one and we decided to purchase it for $10.  He asked us where we were from, and had no idea of where Southern California is, as he has spent his entire life in the canyon. He was proud to tell us he would be receiving his tour guide card in November and invited us back so he could give us a native’s point of view tour of the canyon. So, this was the farthest we would travel on this trip, and we can’t wait to go back.

Saturday August 1 – 4:30 pm to Sunday August 2 – 3:30 am

We decided to just head home. What a drive that was. 606 miles. Whew. But crawling into our own bed, worth it.

All of our pictures are here. Our map points are here. Comments, as always, are welcome.

Time to dream.


Oh, fer cryin’ out loud. Close the darn tag!

By James at July 22, 2009 09:18
Filed Under: Web Development, Ajax and Javascript

I’ve been working on a side project for a while now. A big AJAX-y web application with tons of moving parts. Last night I was getting ready to publish a version for the client to review when I noticed something odd when viewing in Internet Explorer 8. It started out peculiar, turning out to be extremely frustrating.

How a portion of the page looked in Firefox 3.5



And how the same page looked in Internet Explorer 8 (with and without Compatibility Mode) Notice how the font style changes at “State”.


I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Thinking I had hosed a style somewhere, I opened up Firebug and inspected the element. This is what I saw. Ok, looks normal to me.


But using Internet Explorer’s Developer Tools, I saw this. Notice how the span does not close, and the rest of the elements are a child of the span tag.


So, going over the HTML in the ASPX page, I find this, I hadn’t closed the span tag properly. DOH!


Fixing the markup like such, makes the page render properly.


So, is this a bug or a feature of Internet Explorer 8? Or, a bug or a feature of Firefox 3.5?  For me the moral of the story is to make sure that all my block element tags are properly closed.

Time to code,


Inland Empire .NET User’s Group – 2nd Annual Most Valuable Member Event

By James at July 22, 2009 09:16
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG, Life in General

Last Tuesday (July 14th, 2009) was the 2nd Annual Most Valuable Member Event for the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group. The first MVM event was a great success, and I wanted this time around to be just as, if not more, spectacular. I’d like to say it was, and boy howdy.

The sponsors really came through with tons of prizes. Riverside Medical Clinic allowed us to use both the conference room and classrooms – the conference room for the meeting, the classroom for serving the food. My cunados, Ricki and Mauricio prepared authentic Salvadoran food - pupusas, chilaquiles, chiles rellenos y arroz - which was sponsored by Patrick Conway at TekSystems.

William played his guitar during the breaks, and there was tons of conversation, laughter, geekiness and all out fun. Efren Toscano and Josh Highland of TechZulu were there to video tape the event. Wm. Marc Salsberry was taking tons of pictures (in that fantastic way he does).

And, there were four special guests presenting. Volkan Uzun on ReSharper, Dustin Davis on Red Gate ANTS Profiler, David Jung on User Interface testing with Visual Studio 2010, and the lovely and fetching Lynn Langit, gave an update on what is going on with SmartCare in Zambia.

Everyone won prizes, and went home with giant bags of swag. Carmina and I were up till after midnight the night before preparing everything.

Up late packing the swag
Inside the MVM backpack

So after a fun evening of geeking out and eating great food, it was time to announce the winners.

MVM Second Runner Up with 8,360 points - Dennis Palmer

MVM First Runner Up with 17,980 points - Matt Penner

Most Valuable Member for 2008-2009 with 26,350 points - Volkan Uzun


You may be wondering, so what does it mean to be the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group Most Valuable Member and First and Second Runner’s Up. Here is what they each received.

Sponsor Most Valuable Member 1st Runner Up 2nd Runner Up
JetBrains 2 products of choice 2 products of choice 2 products of choice
Developer Express Dxperience Enterprise Dxperience ASP or Winforms CodeRush/Refactor
TechSmith Camtasia Studio Camtasia Studio Camtasia Studio
Telerik Premium Collection Premium Collection Premium Collection
Infragistics NetAdvantage for both .NET and Silverlight NetAdvantage for both .NET and Silverlight NetAdvantage for both .NET and Silverlight
O’Reilly Safari 5 book subscription, 10 books of choice 5 books of choice 5 books of choice
Apress 7 books of choice 5 books of choice 3 books of choice
Wrox 5 books of choice 3 books of choice 2 books of choice
Pearson LiveLesson LiveLesson LiveLesson
InnerWorkings Annual Subscription to complete library    
Red Gate ANTS Performance Profiler Pro    
Microsoft Premium Backpack, Wireless Mouse, Web camera Premium Backpack, Wireless Mouse, Web camera Premium Backpack, Wireless Mouse, Web camera

Additional sponsors stepped forward and provided software to raffle off. Telerik provided a copy of their suite of tools. TechSmith donated a copy of Camtasia Studio. Balsamiq Studios provided three copies of Mockup. TimeSnapper provided ten copies of their software. Red Gate sent books, shirts, lanyards. ComponentOne, Telerik, JetBrains, Developer Express, and Apress provided tons of shirts.

Some fun facts

  • 44 RSVP’s for the eventa new record
  • 58 actual attendeesa new record
  • 159 pictures taken
  • 10 real live women in attendancedefinitely a record

Thanks to all who helped out, who came to see what was what, who participated in collecting points, who provided the TONS of swag, and, who made the evening something to remember.

So, in no particular order…

  • Rachel Hawley – Developer Express
  • Britt King – JetBrains
  • Betsy Weber – TechSmith
  • Emily Parker – Telerik
  • Patrick Conway - TekSystems
  • Kathleen Rader – Infragistics
  • Marsee Henon – O’Reilly
  • Leonardo Cuellar – Apress
  • Ashley Zurcher – Wrox/Wiley
  • Eve Turzillo – Component One
  • Andrea Bledsoe – Pearson
  • Erin Jacobs – Microsoft
  • Janine Rood - InnerWorkings
  • Annabel Bradford, Sarah Grady, Sofie Westlake – Red Gate Software
  • Leon Bambrick and Atli Björgvin Oddsson –
  • Peldi Guilizzoni, Mariah Maclachlan, Valerie Liberty – Balsalmiq Studios
  • Melisa Castro, Amy Gonzalez, and of course,
  • Carmina Johnson

Time to breathe again,


Um, where’s my profile? None for you.

By James at June 19, 2009 03:53
Filed Under: Beta Software, Technology in General

I’ve been running Windows 7 RC1 natively on my main system since it came out. No problems at all until yesterday when I did a restart. Logging into my account, I first noticed the resolution was all pixely. Then my desktop had changed, showing the Beta fish, then a notice that my profile could not be loaded and I had been assigned a temporary profile. I rebooted and was greeted with the same thing. Looking through the event viewer I found the following at about the same time this all started.

“The file system structure on the disk is corrupt and unusable. Please run the chkdsk utility on the volume \Device\HarddiskVolumeShadowCopy1.”

So I started IM-ing my IT God, best friend, Rich ( He can figure out anything and the first thing he said was not to do the chkdsk. Fortunately I had also setup Carmina with an account so he had me do the following steps.

  • 1. Login as Carmina (I had set her up as Administrator)
  • 2. Create a new account
  • 3. Login to the new account and let it build the profile
  • 4. Log back in as Carmina, then go to Computer –> Properties –> Advanced System Properties –> User Profiles

What Rich wanted me to do was copy my old profile to the new one I had just created, but “uh-oh” the “Copy To” button was disabled.


I tried every combination I could think of and the only way the Copy To button would enable was if I chose Default Profile. Both Rich and I started searching for answers and came up with the following link, “Cannot Copy Local Profiles in Win7” ( Apparently it is either a feature or a bug, but being able to copy profiles in Win7 has been disabled. The thread shows a lot of disgruntled IT Pros.

I was starting to get frustrated. I have regular backups with Mozy, but I didn’t want to have to spend time re-paving my system. However now I was into this with a 6 hour investment so far. So I tried one last ditch effort.

  • 1. Login as Carmina
  • 2. Create a new “James” account with Administrator rights
  • 3. Login as the new “James” and let the profile get built
  • 4. Log off then login again as Carmina
  • 5. Take ownership of all the files and folders in the C:\Users folder
  • 6. Copy the entire James folder (the original) to the new James2 folder
  • 7. Rebooted and logged in as James2
  • 8. Bingo! It’s all back, including all my email accounts.


Only a few things are a bit flakey. Live Mesh isn’t working so I need to reinstall. But if this happens again, I know I’ll be ready. Ah…the fun of being a renegade.

Time to reorganize.


May 35th. Why I do what I do.

By James at June 04, 2009 15:35
Filed Under: Life in General, Technology in General

Not many people know, but I didn’t start out thinking I would be a programmer. When I graduated from High School in 1979, computers were things of Sci Fi movies and such. I spent my young adult life working to become a Veterinarian, and when that didn’t work out quite right, I spent 12 years working in veterinary hospitals.

Tired of being bit, peed, shat upon and minimum wage, I decided to move on, and took a job at Chaffey College working in the Life Sciences Department. This was when “Personal Computers” started to become known, and a 286 processor with 1 megabyte of RAM was the hot machine. The department got a few of these monster machines and I started fooling around with them; teaching myself DOS commands, formatting 5 1/4 floppy disks, thinking to myself “I’ll never run out of room with this 10 MB hard drive!”

One day I received an invitation (think WAY before email) from IBM to come and see their new technology called “Ultimedia”. I made arrangements to go to see what this was all about. The presentation consisted of a computer attached to a laser disc player displaying on a very large monitor. The presenter started in about how he could access different parts of the laser disc in a random fashion to make a presentation and teach. I was interested in what he was demonstrating – the beginnings of technolust – and I started thinking about how this could be used in the classroom, I was working at a college by the way.

The laser disc contained various pieces of information about Tennyson’s epic poem, Ulysses. The entire poem was available, with dissertations and explanations by literature professors and experts. Different Shakespearian actors would recite the poem in various tones and intonations. All the while, I kept thinking how cool this was.

The presenter began to end the presentation by saying, “that’s not all, look what I can do with this information.”

The screen went black, and a “thump, thump, thump” started with images of current affairs displaying on the screen, clips of the actors reciting the poem, key words flying on and off screen, building, Building, BUILDING. Goosebumps grew goosebumps, which got even more goosebumps as the presentation continued.

The theme behind Ulysses is that of a sailor, who has spent more time at sea, than at home. And when he finally returns home for good, he finds the life he thought he knew to have changed – drastically. But all the while, his mantra, his personal creed, how he had chosen to live his life by not to giving up, no matter what the obstacle is, to be true to oneself, to state his case, and not back down… “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

My heart was pounding, my jaw slack. As the music was playing, the video and photos are flying in and out, and with the fascination of the technology I had just seen enveloping me, this last image displayed on the screen just as the deep baritone stated “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”.

After that I knew this was what I needed to do. To use technology to bring information to people. To help them learn. To help them reach beyond what they thought was possible. To take a stand and talk about what needs to be changed. To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I asked the presenter – I wish I remembered his name – how I could do the things I had just seen. He asked for my mailing address. A few days later, waiting for me in my office was a big box from IBM. Inside was a 386 computer, a copy of Arts and Letters, a copy of ToolBook and a note…”See what you can do. Change the world.”

The rest is history.

Time to reflect.


My daughter’s video

By James at May 22, 2009 02:56
Filed Under: Life in General, Non-Technical

When I first met Carmina, I also met all her friends. One our first date, we we’re accompanied by Alma and her three daughters, Kayleigh, Nicole, and Dagny. I’ve known these bright, funny, intelligent, beautiful girls for going on 5 years now, and it has made my life even “more better” watching them grow up and being a part of their lives. When I introduce them to friends of mine, I refer to them as my “daughters”

Nicki is just finishing up her first year at UC Santa Cruz (um, go banana slugs), majoring in film. She sends Carmina and I links to her videos from time to time, and last night we got the latest. This one is a short little ditty, which she decided to put together because she was “bored”.

I wish I was bored like this girl. See for yourself.

Nicki's boring video

Time to dance,


Free training from Microsoft

By James at May 21, 2009 03:24
Filed Under: Microsoft, Technology in General, Web Development

Microsoft has released two sites with tons of free training. Yup, I checked it out and it's free.

"Ramp Up",, covers topics from moving from ASP or PHP to ASP.NET, ASP.NET, Mobile Developent and Sharepoint. has tons of webcasts and training materials, geared towards solution providers, however the content is available for all.

Check it out.



Keeping the faith

By James at May 05, 2009 05:41
Filed Under: Life in General

Having faith when life is going well is easy. Keeping that faith when its not a bed of roses is hard. However it’s the difficult times which shape us, hone our character and make us who we are.

For me, this past month has been one of those difficult times. Laid off at the end of March, going through the ups and downs of finding a job, offers changed at the last minute, sitting across from IT managers who could be my son, answering esoteric programming questions, dealing with lost paperwork at the unemployment office, being tested in various situations, and, battling to keep the faith in both myself and the Universe.

I am happy to say, it has all paid off. I have come through this period stronger, smarter, humbled, blessed, and most importantly, employed.

Say hello to the new Senior .NET Developer for I will be handling new development and will be working with a team to build even better energy management systems which EnerPath is famous for. The company is cool, everyone is happy, laid back, and insanely intelligent. Some of my new co-workers are members of the IEDOTNETUG. And best of all…wait for it… the office is 15 minutes away from my house. It is close enough, I could ride my bike to work – well, ahem, after some conditioning time.

I start tomorrow.

Thanks to all my friends who got me through this.

Sloane, Erin and Kevin at Job Spring Partners, who worked with me to find what it was I wanted, taught an old guy how to interview, and did not treat me like just another commodity. If you need a job, or want to test the waters, call these guys. Seriously.

Geoff, David, Lynn, Matt, and Mike who made sure I wasn’t curled up in a ball eating ice cream, but was keeping busy and upbeat.

Volkan, Cigdem, and Rich who worked their butts off making sure I was ready for whatever interview question came my way, and being there on a moments notice when I needed a hand.

And most of all to Carmina, who not once showed an ounce of doubt in her eyes (even though I knew it was chewing her up inside). She is my consejero, my friend, my sounding board, my partner, my wife. Usted es la luz de mi vida. va a querer para siempre.

Time for a haircut.


It’s official! I’m an MVP. Time for a nap.

By James at April 01, 2009 04:27
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG, Life in General, Microsoft, MVP

I was up way late again, this time checking email every 30 seconds for the “official” congratulations message. Click – Wait – Click – Wait – Repeat. “OK Johnson”, I say to myself. “Go to bed, it will come.”

7:00 am – nothing
7:30 am – nada
8:00 am – hmm, ok
8:30 am – nervous tension starts
8:45 am – uh oh, comments are coming in from last night’s blog
9:00 am – where is that darn thing?
9:01 am – this can’t be an April Fools Joke, can it?
9:02 am – maybe I shouldn’t have blogged last night and they took it away?
9:15 am – more nervous tension, beads of sweat on my face
9:30 am – this *REALLY* can’t be an April Fools Joke, can it?
9:31 am – HEY! there’s an email in the Junk folder?! WTF?
9:31:05 am – YAHOO! LIVE!



For quite some time, this is something I have been wanting and working for. Not for the recognition, more to learn what all the mystery of the MVP is about, to sneak a peak behind the blue door, to reach out and touch the secret squirrels.

Of all the emails that have come in the last 24 hours, there is one line that stands out:

…enjoy the award; take advantage of the opportunities it offers you…

Believe me… I fully intend to. I can’t wait to dive into the MVP site to check out what’s there.

Thanks again to everyone who watches my back and helped me get to where I am today.


Time for a nap.

Wow! What a roller coaster ride. I'm dizzy.

By James at March 31, 2009 15:31
Filed Under: Inland Empire .NET UG, Life in General, Microsoft, MVP

How many of you have watched the movie Parenthood? In one speech, Grandma makes a little statement about when Grandpa took her on a roller coaster…

“I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me feel so frightened, so sick, so excited, so scared, so safe, and so thrilled, altogether! Some didn't like it. They wanted to go on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”

I usually prefer the roller coaster as well, but for the past month I have been quietly wishing for the merry-go-round.

I have many great friends who are always there to support me. And because of my work with the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group and other .NET community efforts, several of them took it upon themselves to nominate me for a Microsoft MVP award. Thinking, and being told, it was a slam dunk, I was disappointed when I received an email last month telling me there just wasn’t any room for me, and perhaps next go round.

With development and management issues at work, supervisors reneging on their decision to let me attend Mix, so much code churn I’m going to patent C# butter, and then to top it all off, yesterday… “at our board meeting three weeks ago, we decided to cut back the IT department and eliminate your position.”  (A software company without a developer – smart decision. I’m sure they’ll be around a long time.)

Last night was rough. I stayed up till three doing the online resume thing and filing for unemployment. Carmina and I discussed if I should go into the office today, and decided I should. More along the lines of “they can’t get rid of me that easily”  than anything else.

Sitting in traffic on the 91, my phone rings. It’s one of my Microsoft friends, Daniel Egan. He starts chatting, then coyly asks, “have you read your email today?”  Nope, buddy, I’m on the road. He then goes on to start babbling about getting to a computer, not wanting to spoil the surprise, then, all of a sudden he blurts out, “you got your MVP! I just got off the phone with Suzanna.”

Ok, I like to play April fools jokes on my kids and everything, but after yesterday now is not the time. Daniel assures me its true and when I get into the office and have a chance to check my email there is this little tidbit waiting for me.

MVP prémio

Bem James, apenas não sei o que a say…. Excepto parabéns! Sei, apenas quando pensei que não era que vai acontecer, você foram aprovados! Bem-vindo ao programa MVP, conhecimentos de dev de aplicativo de cliente. Você receberá um e-mail oficial (ou dois) mas queria deixar sabe um dia mais cedo porque esse é o tipo de renegade estou;~)

Por favor manter esta notícia para si mesmo até receber a notícia oficial amanhã. Parabéns novamente e bem-vindo!

Suzanna Moran
Sr. MVP Lead, Community and Online Support

So trying to be a good sport I don’t tell anyone the news. Well Carmina deserved to know, so I called her. I’m waiting and waiting. It’s like being 12 all over again on Christmas Eve.

While at my desk at home, doing some work I start noticing some Tweets come in from @Zannabanna; “congratulations this, w00t that”. Then right about 8 pm PDT, I see the following:

Zannabanana Welcome, welcome NEW MVP @jamesLatringo :~)

Hmm… a quick little DM to Suzanna: “hey. does this mean I can shout it out now?”

The response: “SHOUT IT OUT! I figure hey, it's after 8 PM on the west coast, besides, I can NEVER wait!”

Well, what can I say? It’s still not April 1, and I haven’t received the “official” email, but boy, do I have proof!


So, is anyone in the market for a well seasoned ASP.NET/SQL Developer who just got his MVP? I’m available and ready to roll.

Thanks everyone for helping me to get to this part in my career. I couldn’t have done it without you.


About the author

James James is a five time and current Microsoft MVP in Client App Development, a Telerik Insider, a past Director on the INETA North America Board, a husband and dad, and has been developing software since the early days of Laser Discs and HyperCard stacks. As the Founder and President of the Inland Empire .NET User's Group, he has fondly watched it grow from a twice-a-month, early Saturday morning group of five in 2003, to a robust and rambunctious gathering of all types and sizes of .NET developers.

James loves to dig deep into the latest cutting edge technologies - sometimes with spectacular disasters - and spread the word about the latest and greatest bits, getting people excited about developing web sites and applications on the .NET platform, and using the best tools for the job. He tries to blog as often as he can, but usually gets distracted by EF, LINQ, MVC, ASP, SQL, XML, and most other types of acronyms. To keep calm James plays a mean Djembe and tries to practice his violin. You can follow him on twitter at @latringo.

And as usual, the comments, suggestions, writings and rants are my own, and really shouldn't reflect the opinions of my employer. That is, unless it really does.

James Twitter Feed

Recent Comments

Comment RSS

Month List