Monthly Archives: October 2011


My department hosted an open house for the people at work today as a chance for them to get to know us a little better and to learn more about what the IT staff who toil down in the basement actually do. The whole team really got into it and we had a kick-butt zombie-themed tour to give to groups of our co-workers.

I had left things in the hands of some of my senior staffers to arrange, and I was blown away by what everyone came up with for today and how much creativity and energy they put into it. I setup my office, which is in the hallway opposite our entrance and Help Desk area, as a fortified bunker and stayed locked in there armed with a bike helmet and umbrella to keep the zombie hordes away. I’d yell at visitors to keep away, threatening to delete all their email, since obviously crowds attract zombies. I even put out a dish of cold brains by my door in the hopes that any zombies that came by would get distracted. It seemed to work.

I also sent a few notes the 500 employees of the school  (email signature is my favorite part): Read More


This spring I played host to Janeen McCrae, the Brooklyn-based writer and cyclist, inviting her down to Austin to give a presentation to my staff on the website she and BreakfastNY built to document her bike trip across the country, Janeen was recovering from a very bad crash when she was visiting Austin and had to stay off her bike for a couple of weeks beforehand. While she was here we went for a long ride together and she was very frustrated how far her fitness level had dropped during her time off the bike. Since then I’ve continued to keep up with her online, reading her occasional updates to her story about her cross-country trip and also following the various blogs and sites she publishes. This included her ride reports at

She left Austin determined to get her fitness back and so her ride reports at Dailymile were frequent and occasionally epic. She described the long rides she’d take away from the city, the training laps she’d do in Prospect Park, nights and rainy days spent in her apartment on a trainer, hundred-mile-plus expeditions upstate and over mountains. The rides she described sounded like a lot of fun – dodging tourists over the Brooklyn Bridge, out to Piermont or Nyack, down River Road or up 9W, stopping for coffee and a muffin, expertly pacelining down the road at 25 miles per hour. So, when I registered for a conference that was being held in Philadelphia the next thing I did was to write Janeen and see if I might be able to join her on of these rides. After a bit of back-and-forth over schedules and logistics, we got things setup for me to join her and a friend of hers for a ride from Brooklyn, out across the George Washington Bridge, and up the Palisades towards Piermont. We’d leave early and see how far we could get before turning around to ride back through Manhattan. And, she promised me at least one hard climb – perhaps as turnabout for a steep climb I took her up on our ride in Austin – including this bit of warning in an email discussing some changes to the planned route:

“We’re going to turn around at the State Line, which will shave about an hour off the ride…and cuts out a tonne of climbing on the way back, which you will probably appreciate since I’m going to make you climb Alpine.”

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I had to travel to Philadelphia for a work-related conference, so I made a side trip to New York and spent a night in Brooklyn so I could go on a bike ride with my cycling hero, Janeen McCrae, and digital marketing ninja, Dan Manco. The ride was a blast, and I’ll have a separate write-up on that soon, and the trip was great. I didn’t take many pictures, but here’s a sampling.