My Che Guevara hat

By James at December 17, 2007 19:25
Filed Under: Life in General, Miscellaneous

I've always had an independent streak. I don't know if it's because I was raised by two, loving democrats in the midst of the '60's turmoil or not, but I've never felt comfortable in playing by the rules. I also love hats. Strange but I like hats; baseball caps, fedoras, bowlers, driving caps, trucker hats. I'd love to wear one of those big, ostrich feathered hats the three musketeers wore. I have a big collection of ball caps that I usually wear on the weekend, but have never gotten around to actually buying something different.

But now that Carmina is in my life, and with all the goodness that comes from that, I decided to change my look. A few weeks ago, we were on our way down to Carlsbad to see my dad in his annual gig as a professional Santa Claus and we stopped off to do a little Christmas shopping. As it was "black friday" and the stores had all their sales on, we stumbled across a black, wool, Kangol cap. I wasn't too keen on it, but my Carmina said I looked handsome wearing it and insisted I buy it. So, I decided to go for it. And of course, since I'm somewhat of a rebel, I immediately decided to wear it backwards....Carmina immediately commented that I looked like an Artistic Sandinista. Ricki said I looked like Che.

I love this cap. I wear it all the time, and have gotten tons of comments on it. Members at the user group (especially the VS 2008 Load Fest), in meetings at work, and even from people on the street. And, you know, it keeps my head warm too.

So tell me what you think? Am I cool or what?

My apologies to my fellow .NET User Group Leads... Art Villa, Mike Vincent, Woody Pewitt, Reza Mandani, that weird guy in the green metal suit, and the others...

The Red Stick Ramblers - Right Key, Wrong Keyhole - Grand Texas

"Legalizing" my music

By James at November 12, 2007 14:26
Filed Under: Life in General

I was a follower of Napster, then LimeWire. But now that I'm older I thought "perhaps I should be legal on my music?" I have an eMusic account (which I love), and have occasionally downloaded music from iTunes (which I hate...no customer support).

I decided that I would start to convert my music collection to a "legal" one and had heard about Amazon's MP3 downloads. I usually go with eMusic, but since they're mainly independent, they don't have some of the tracks I want to convert.  

I also listen to NPR (National Public Radio) religiously. The other day was a piece on the Latin Grammy's, and how Juan Luis Guerra stole the show. So, I went to Amazon and downloaded the album. It wasn't until later that evening that I discovered the first track "Medicine for My Soul" and "La Llave De Mi Corazon" were the same. So I navigated Amazon for Customer Service, found their "Please enter your phone number" page and called it. After talking with someone in Bangalore for a couple of minutes, she realized she needed to get me to the MP3 department. I had a nice conversation with "Brandon" in the MP3 Customer Service department, who actually checked each track, decided that they were yes the same, and gave me a credit. He also said he'd "personally take responsibility" for letting me know when the bug had been fixed and let me know when the correct track was ready to download. Now, that's customer service.

Thanks Amazon!

James

A baby in the house

By James at October 15, 2007 17:06
Filed Under: Life in General

We have a baby!

Ok, well she's not ours per se, but she's our 1 year old niece, Camila. She'll be staying with us, along with her parents, till after the first of the year. Its gonna be great to have a little one around for the holidays.

J

Latest crazy song in my head Peter White - Promenade - Promenade

Teaching

By James Johnson at August 18, 2007 15:09
Filed Under: Life in General, Web Development

Ricki, my brother-in-law has been staying with us for a month. He's a good guy, sometimes makes the wrong turn in life, but has a full heart and is pretty smart. He's decided to learn how web development so he can help us out with our sites. I have always felt that if a person can peck their way around a keyboard and has some basic common sense, they can learn to program. I have offered to teach people what I do, most jump at the chance, then fade away after a day or two.

Ricki is different. Like totally different. He is devouring the books I have given him, is always asking questions, building sample sites, soaking up CSS and HTML tags like a sponge and has pretty much mastered getting around in Visual Web Developer Express. He's even jumped feet first into Photoshop and is getting the knack of that.

He has the ambition, the courage to learn something new and confusing, and the same "stick to it until you get it right" attitdue that both Carmina and I have.

I am so damn proud of my cunado (Spanish for brother-in-law). He's gonna make it.

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.

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