Our new puppy Toby!

The last day of our vacation, Debs and I finally made the move and picked up our new little puppy, which we named Toby. He is a purebred beagle. One of her coworkers beagles just had babies, so we picked one up (We actually picked up a second one, Dexter, who is now owned by our close friend Amy!).

Today he turns 8 weeks old!

Its been a crazy past few days with him. He wakes us up in the middle of the night, and can get really mean when he is tired. Its also been amazing to watch him grow every day! Each day he learns or trys something new. For example, Monday, he learned how to start running a WHOLE lot better, and loves to dash up and down the hallway. He also learned on Monday how to stay in the crate the entire time while we were at work, and not have any problems!

Yesterday was his first vet visit as well. We started going to a vet down the street from our house, that we can even walk to! He got a shot for a little skin rash he had, as well as a calendar for when we need to take him for his shots. While at the vet (for 2.5 hours 😦 ), we also ran into a REALLY old friend of mine, Vincent, who was my best friend pretty much through Elementary and Middle School. It was nice catching up with him again (this time on better terms, last time we met was at a funeral for a close friend of ours from Elementary and Middle School as well). 

Im uploading new photos and videos of him all the time to flickr now! Go by and check them out!


Just another quick update…

Things are going to be a little busy this week, so I figured if anything, I would like to post a little about whats been going on!

  • It looks like we are getting a puppy! Debs and I went out in Goochland to one of her co-workers place. They have a ton of pure bred Beagle puppies, and we picked one out. Now to figure out what to name it! You can see pics of the little guy here.
  • Debs and I are going on our first ‘real’ vacation since our Honeymoon. We are going to Chicago to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary. I need to pack like crazy this week!
  • The strawberry hill races were this last weekend. It rained a ton, which made the day suck in some parts, but otherwise a blast like usual. You can see some pics here. One of my shots last year actually made it to a services called “Schmaps”.
  • By the way, you meet the WEIRDEST people on the shuttles from RIR to Colonial Downs. Every one calm and quiet on the drive out there. On the way home, its a nightmare! Last year people were just throwing beer around. This year, we ended up sitting beside a guy that looked like Freddie Mercury, had a country accent, but totally thought he was a ‘thug’. He had a pretty bad time at the track (some lady problems) and decided to let everyone know his phone calls. Another rather interesting guy decided to comment back that we didn’t want to hear it, and then this unique character decided to threaten to beat the living crap out of him. By the time we got back to RIR, they had made up, and were almost going to ride home together.
  • Bought carpet for the den, and it should be installed either this week or the week we get back from our vacation.
  • Did more work around the house this weekend, including fixing our flood lighting on the back part of our den, cleaning up the office some more, and finishing the new fan install.
  • Started playing with HDR photography. I have my bracketed exposures, but I really don’t understand any of the software tools to really process them! I have tried a few Mac tools, but they just don’t make sense to me.
  • Finally, my Uncle George died last week. This was my moms older brother. While we were not terribly close (ive only met him about 10 times in my life), its always very sad to loose a family member, and im praying for my mom and the rest of the family non stop.

Listening To: ‘My Moon, My Man’ by Feist

Flickr now has video!

Well, it looks like after at least a year of talk, Flickr now has video! I find it somewhat funny, because it wasn’t until a week ago that I actually created a YouTube account myself. I have been taking a few videos here and there with my digital camera, and usually it was associated with some photo set. Now users can upload (only pro users it seems) to their accounts, and they sit right beside your photos. Also, you can embed these videos in other sites, so I may be doing a few of those soon here as well!

The only thing I have not seen yet is how to actually post the video. Nothing on the web interface (at least under my account) tells me just yet ‘OMGOMGOMG you can put videos on flickr now’. Im sure this will change in the coming days. 

For now, you can least read about it more at TechCrunch

Find other local Twitter users

Ive recently started to use Twitter quite a bit on a daily basis. Not that I want random people on the interwebs knowing what I am doing, but to create an instant communication with people around me, both locally and online. For example, I subscribe to quite a few of my favorite blogs or online services to keep up with their activity, or even to sometimes get a ‘behind the scenes look’ at whats going on with them. 

The other big use for me is to actually keep a pulse on whats going on around me in RVA. I am always curious what the local people think, especially those that also have a geek background. I have made quite a few friends on Twitter, and can share stories, knowledge, and insight, all in 140 characters per post. 

Today on Download Squad, I came across TwitterLocal. Its a search engine that helps you find other Tweets or Twitter users in your area. I put in my zip code and selected 20 miles, and added about 10 new people tonight. The interface could not get ANY easier! You can also get a customized feed, which would be great way to possibly create a online community of tweets around the area you choose. Another great feature is that it seems to pull users in order of recent posts, therefore I dont have to dig through multiple users who have not updated in 3 months. 

BTW – you can follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/jmlumpkin.

WordPress.com and Safari work now!

It appears that also with the new release of WordPress on wordpress.com, they have finally fixed the bug with formatting on in Safari! Safari has had a known bug on where it would remove formating from the text box where you enter your entries. It has now been fixed, and I can start writing in Safari again!

WordPress.com now running WP 2.5

The wife and I just got back in from running around getting dinner and checking out Lowes and Home Depot for some stuff (Why cant they make a fan that has a remote in a style I like?!?).

I come back to a few emails and log into wordpress to approve a comment.

Lo and behold, WordPress.com has started the move to using WordPress 2.5. Im writing this in the new admin. It looks quite a bit different and will take some getting used to, but is already MUCH faster and cleaner looking!

Looking around on the WordPress.com forums, a lot of people are already complaining. They say that its slow, hard to navigate, etc. Of course when things change, people complain. There are even petitions to allow people to decide if they want to run on 2.5 or not. Who cares? I love it!

We had the same problem when launching our new site, people were so ingrained on how they got around somewhere, it really shocks them to see a change! The immediate reaction is usually always negative in a change like this, until it grows on people. You just have to learn how to go with the change, realize that its ‘usually’ for the better, and move on! Our new site is faster, easier to manage/maintain, and much easier to grow. The new wordpress.com will be the same!

Its funny though, I was looking to going to my own hosting soon. One of the reasons was just to have my own thing again, but another was to start using wordpress 2.5. At least now I get to somewhat test drive the new wordpress 2.5 install before doing in on my own!

The guys at wordpress have more about the new setup here. It appears that they are actually treating as more of an ‘update to the admin’ that an ‘update to the entire site’. 

Heading to the Windy City

Debs and I will be celebrating our two year wedding anniversary this month! Its hard to believe that 1) we have been together for over 8 years now, and 2) that we are already celebrating our two year anniversary! Last year we bought the house, so we ended up not doing much but going to Williamsburg for a long day trip (pics here and here).

This year, we are doing something MUCH different.  Originally we were going to Las Vegas again, and we found a GREAT deal (staying on the strip and flights out there costing around $1000). But by the time we got around to booking, the price had jumped up $500! We also tried scheduling for a few weeks after (my parents will be out there for a conference for my stepdad), but we have a wedding and some other things going on back here in RVA.

Both of us really like big cities, and thought it would be nice to try something different, like Chicago, NYC, or Boston.  After looking around, we decided on Chicago. Its big and fun, but not as busy as NYC. There are also some cool events coming, including something called ART Chicago we may check out while there. Im excited to also take some cool city-scape shots with our XTi to help fill our house up with photography.

The best thing about this? Hotwire.com. I have only used them once before, a LONG time ago. We had been looking elsewhere, but decided to check out hotwire after a recent commercial I saw, advertising rates in Chicago as low as $79.99. After clicking through the site, I found a ‘4 star recommended’ hotel near the airport (even though we will be driving). It was listed at only $75 a night! After booking, we find out that its the Hilton at the Airport, and I start doing some research on reviews. This hotel had many perfect reviews, including perfect customer service and support. A lot of people also boasted that while being at the airport, they never really heard planes, and that some of the views from the place were amazing! Finally, I see what some of these people were paying – $250 to $300 a night?!?!

So the next few weeks are going to be filled with researching the city, packing bags, and planning the trip. I already set up a ‘schedule’ on Google Docs that Debs and I will use to kinda plan out what we would like to do.

Oddly enough, with my current occupation, its interesting to see how these cities promote traffic and visitors to their sites. I have found that Chicago.com (who is a member of the associated cities like us, and the only one other than NYC that get more traffic than we do) and ChooseChicago.com (the CVB site for the region) have been GREAT resources in learning about the area. Now if I could find any specific Chicago area blogs!

Listening To: ‘The Scientist’ by coldplay