My son recently finished another season of hockey. This year he was on one of the traveling Bantam B-teams of the Sioux Falls Flyers. For those that don't know hockey, the "Bantam" means that he's playing with a team of 13 and 14 year old's. Some of his teammates he's played with since he was six years old (they were called Atoms back then).
When your child plays hockey you come to learn that hockey is more than rules of the game, but also embracing hockey culture and accepting every member of that team and their parents as part of your hockey family. For nearly a decade, the family has had a five month ritual where three evenings or mornings a week are dedicated to taking sons and daughters to practice. Weekends are for traveling to in-state or out-of-state hockey games and spending your nights in a Best Western. This is not only a significant time commitment for the young hockey player, but also the player's parents. Some parents love hockey more than others but all of us love our own kids equally.
I never once told my son he had to play hockey. My only requirements were that he did an activity that: got him off the couch; gave him exercise; had him working with others as a team; and most importantly something he would remain committed to for the season. Despite not being the most passionate or best hockey player on the ice, rarely did I hear my son complain on those days I knew he would rather be home. Given that I quit my second grade baseball team mid-season and never looked back, I can't help but think this young man is already on track to be a better person than I was when I was his age.
Here is a fun fact. I've never lived more than 363 miles from home. To be exact, outside of my college years, I've always lived exactly 363 miles from my childhood home in Kansas City, Kansas.
My first job after graduating college landed me a job at a Weather Service Meteorological Observatory in southwest Kansas. My apartment was 363 miles away from my parents' driveway. A couple years later, my next job took me to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. To my surprise, on the first visit from Sioux Falls to Kansas City I found that I added exactly 363 miles my truck's odometer.
I never planned to stay in Sioux Falls and my goal as a young adult was always to return home to Kansas City. After a quarter century of living in this South Dakota city, I've come to realize my plans to return to Kansas are likely to never be realized. But you know what, I'm OK with that because Sioux Falls has treated me well. Now, when I visit family and friends in Kansas City, I refer to Sioux Falls as home. Sioux Falls is where I married, prospered in my career, made great friends, and am currently raising a teenage son. My life would be a sad one if I considered my only home to be where where I grew up and not where I have lived most of my life.
The best part, 363 miles from home works both ways. I've never lived more than 363 miles from my Kansas City home. I'm also never more than 363 miles from my Sioux Falls home when I'm visiting Kansas City. The number 363 is a magical number to me.
My son had a out of town hockey tournament this weekend which resulted in my family leaving me home alone. In the past 48 hours, I've been the only human being in my house. My only duty this weekend was to take care of our dog Jasmine and the two cats, Oreo and Maya. What a wonderful gift I received in this opportunity to be alone and to be just me without interruption.
I know some people that can't stand being alone. There are people that have to constantly have someone around to be content and happy. This has never been me. I can go for several days without seeing another human being before I actually feel lonely. It has nothing to do with me not liking people. I value my time with family and friends very much. Instead, this has to do with the importance of solitude in my life.
Loneliness is marked by a sense of isolation. Loneliness happens when we no longer want to be alone and we desire to be around people. Solitude, on the other hand, can be defined as a "state of being alone without being lonely and can lead to self-awareness". Solitude is desirable, a state of being alone where you provide yourself wonderful and sufficient company.
Yesterday, I was the victim of an April Fool's prank. When you have a young teenager in the house, I suppose it's inevitably going to happen. I walked into my office and found Teletubbies on the screen. If there is a children's show I have to pick as my least favorite it is the Teletubbies. To make things worse, as the IT expert at both home and work I couldn't figure out how to get the video off my screen.
Well played my son. To be honest, this is the first of your April Fool's pranks that I didn't see coming. Now that I'm aware you're getting smarter and more devious, I'll be better prepared for you next year.
For the record, growing up it was the character Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street I liked the most. Let's not also forget another one of my favorites, the Adventures of Letterman via the Electric Company.
Over the years, I've told people that CMS Report is a side business. While I would never become rich from this blog, I've been lucky enough to have been able to put a little extra cash in my wallet from this website's ad revenue. In truth, what has actually sustained CMS Report is not money but my passion for information systems. I absolutely love this magical process where people, hardware, software, and infrastructure come together to improve the business or organization. A decade ago, I could find no better example of information systems in the real world than the content management system. I decided to write about CMSs and created a blog and website to host those articles. After spending ten years as this site's founder, editor, and primary writer I've decided it is time for me to move on to some new challenges.
What an amazing and crazy ride this has been for someone that started his career as a meteorologist and now works full time in government IT. This was supposed to be a one year exercise for feeding my hunger to learn more about CMSs. Instead, this became a ten year project that tapped into a community of developers, marketers, analysts, founders, executives, small business owners, and entrepreneurs. It has been a joy to have met so many creative, smart, and hardworking people through this website. I received more than I gave. But in the past few years, my passion to write only about CMS topics has diminished and I'm not happy that my articles lack the shine they once had. After considerable thought, I've decided it's time for me to pass the torch to another.
For the first time in 15 years, my family doesn't have a website to call their own. In January 2000, I registered the domain Bryansplace.com. This was the first website I ever built outside of work and it became a sandbox for me to express my interests as well as a way to seek personal growth. From handwritten HTML pages into Frontpage to a number of CMSs, the software and content at Bryansplace evolved as my life evolved.
Bryansplace.com was the website where my girlfriend and I announced our marriage to the world. As a married couple, we eventually publicly announced the birth of our son via the site. This domain was the site where I talked about camping, computers, and my latest beer recipes. It wasn't all about me either. My wife showcased her photography for the first time online via Bryansplace. This was also the website my son learned how to navigate the Drupal content management system and talk about his gaming skills. Bryansplace.com was synonymous with "family news". Despite how much I valued the domain, last week I unceremoniously killed the website.
Not long ago, my wife retired from the Air National Guard after having previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps. With 24 years of military experience, those that serve are almost always bound to walk away with a story or two to tell. This is one of those stories. In January 2006, Karen was given the opportunity to fly in the backseat of an F-16 (General Dynamics Fighting Falcon). Below, in her own words is what Karen experienced during that flight. She originally wrote this on our family blog that we're shutting down, but I felt compelled to make sure her story lived on within the contents of this blog.
Since retirement, Karen has become an accomplished photographer and is currently employed by a local capital investment group.
Packt Publishing recently asked me to be a judge for their Open Source Content Management System Award. You can find a brief bio and mug shot of me on their judges page.
For my non-IT friends, content management systems are basically software applications you place on the Internet server that are quickly replacing the old "flat file" format. For example, I use a CMS to blog about CMS as well as this site. Yea, my website needs some work done to it...perhaps when cold weather returns to South Dakota. Despite what you might think from the bio, I'm still with the National Weather Service and currently don't have the time or resources to make my "side business" in information technology anything more than a hobby. If IT positions were ever "downsized" in the NWS, though I know exactly what I would be doing for work.
Right now, I'm not working on any big projects...and for the summer that's great as this is a busy "travel" time for the family. With Karen having an option to retire from the military, she's looking into photography and we headed last week to Kansas City for a Nikon camera workshop. Meanwhile, Logan is growing like a weed and already seems on the road to being smarter and more athletic than his dad.