Year: 2015

Leaving DOL

I’m leaving my job. Friday is my last day. It’s been a good two years with the Department of Labor. I started here one day late because the government was still closed back in 2013.

I walked into the job and three days later my co-worker was let go. From then, I worked alone (with a lot of help from others) to get me into the position where I was able to support the department’s WebEx events without failure.

I was a one-man support team until Jan 2015 when I finally got some full-time help. Then we were finally a two-person team again. Then that person left suddenly in October and we hired a new person who I’ve poured all of my knowledge into and left him with a pile of documentation and as much training as I could cram into our few weeks together.

He’s knowledgeable, excited and hard-working and I know he’ll keep things going once I leave and continue the tradition of success I’ve worked so hard to build.

I tend to disappear from jobs without so much as word as I did from NIH in 2013, with my two-weeks being entirely during the shutdown.

This time, I setup an auto-responder to all new email to alert people who I was leaving and to email the group email address and not me directly as they’d gotten used to when it was just me.

I’m terrible at goodbyes but it’s nice to know your hard work didn’t go unnoticed which it can so often feel like when working in a support role. I got this email earlier this morning from a person I’ve worked on countless events with over the past two years.

Carl – I just learned you were leaving DOL this Friday. I wanted to say thank you so very much for all you have done on behalf of OCIO and the IT Modernization Team to support learning events, All Hands meetings, committee meetings, etc. – you were the glue that helped make these events work seamlessly as a norm. And if there was a hitch you had a quick remedy.

Your expertise and service-oriented way of being have been greatly appreciated and valued by all on our team. Knowing that someone with expertise and knowhow was available to assist in the less visible parts of the work removed a lot of stress.

Your departure is a tremendous loss for DOL and OCIO. I wish you the very very best in your next endeavor and hope your new employer understands the contribution you can make to their work.

So with this, I leave contracting to the Department of Labor for a contract job with the Food & Drug Administration.

Find Destiny Friends

Want to raid in Destiny but don’t have enough friends?
Tired of always playing Iron Banner solo?
Is the Nightfall an impossible venture without a fireteam?

The 100 is a great web site that will help you find a team to play with. I’ve used it to join raid groups who needed one more person to fill out the roster. I’ve posted when I needed help on Nightfalls or in the Prison of Elders.

I’ve made friends and had a lot of fun with other Destiny players I never knew before The 100.

You can join a group and keep an ongoing roster of people to play with or see what games are open when you’re looking to play.

Check out The 100 and never play alone again.

Destiny is a lifestyle

Ever since Destiny came out, it’s all I’ve played on the Xbox. I could get into why and what has captured my attention about the game. But it’s simple.
It’s about community. It’s about friendship. I’ve made a lot of great friends online (and one I knew in real life.)

And we have fun together.

Comparing Swords

The story of Destiny is a mess. The new expansion, The Taken King is a new game more than an expansion.

Michael Lopp, aka Rands is still playing Destiny. He also wrote a post that I immediately related to. Be Unfailingly Kind is a love letter to Destiny and the friends he plays with. He talks about DJ. The leader of their raid group. In a raid, you need teamwork, communication and most of all patience.

Chilling in the Ward of Dawn.

Everyone screws up. Everyone shoots a rocket into the back of a teammate or spends a little too long before running for cover. Rands talks about DJ and I see a lot of my clanmates in his praise.

Rands says this about DJ:
* He clearly explains the situation. As many times as possible. Calmly.
* He has an insightful answer ready to any question. He’s done his research to become an expert in his field.
* Once the raid has begun, he monitors the situation, provides real-time feedback, and updates to the other players in a helpful and educational manner.
* In the face of disaster, he never loses composure.

We all have our own DJ. Our group leader that keeps us together and helps us through. Destiny is not just a grind. Destiny is about friendship and teamwork. I’ve played the same mission countless times. But each time with a different team of people who needed help getting through it. And I knew when it was time for me to run through it, they would be just as willing to help me out.

As of this morning, the Destiny iPhone app tells me I’ve spent 21 days, 16 hours and 36 minutes of my life playing it. I play because I have fun. I play because of the people I can have fun with and that will always keep me coming back.

peroty at rest
Why can't I take this gun with me?

Games should be fun and not take themselves too seriously. For Halloween, the Tower, where Guardians hang out, dance, shop and access their vaults was turned into a creepy wonderland with a series of quests to complete wearing masks. We’ve been collecting candy to fill bags to exchange for masks and other items. It’s fun. And hilarious.

Crota: Pumpkin King!

We are the Fr0zen Clan. Our motto is Let It Go!

Remember when I said games are meant to be fun. Here is our clan description:

Are you an orphaned princess who likes to sing her emotional status? Do you have super powers that should terrify your local serfs and merchants? Are you unaware of the number of plates in your house? Can you build an ice castle and create life (both terrifying and wildly annoying) from snow???? THEN THIS CLAN IS FOR YOU!!!!! We’ll also accept whalers from the moon, cannon fodder, bullet sponges and anyone that throws panic grenades.

We play on the Xbox One and are always looking for new friends. If you understand life comes before games, children exist and need to be cared for and like laughing and having a good time. Look us up.

The Setup / Michelle Vandy

I’ve written about The Setup before. But today’s entry made me look further. It features Brand Designer Michelle Vandy. She designs with her nose.

Michelle Vandy

Here’s her setup:

The last few years my arms have largely shaped my work setup. I used to struggle with severe pains and cramps in my lower arms and couldn’t design unless I had my special equipment. Basically I assembled a device from a Manfrotto Table Top Tripod Kit 209, 492 Long, tripod adapter plate and an Apple Magic Trackpad and placed it in front of my 15 inch MacBook Pro. I then used the tip of my nose to draw and maneuver the mouse, while my arms were resting in front of me. Yes, it was pretty frustrating at times and yes, it looked ridiculous and yes, it took a long time to increase my precision and speed, but somehow I ended up becoming extremely efficient!

Check out her site with a great domain name. She has full details on the hardware, photos and video of her using the setup in action.

Apollo Three Ways

Recently, NASA released photos from the Apollo missions. This is a treasure trove of 13,911 photos.

The photos themselves are wonderful to be able to see through the eyes and cameras of the astronauts. The photos are the originals without any post-processing or color correction. Which means someone took it upon themselves to do so.

NASA Apollo Images : Exposure & Color Corrected | Light And Matter

Unfortunately, the scans have not been corrected for color and exposure, so they tend to be flat and tinted. For those of you who like the Instagram-filter look, they’re just fine; it does add a bit of vintage charm. My instinct, though, is to repair them… to try to give them them accurate color and the crispness of a full-tonal range.

There are just a few of the more interesting photos with a before/after color correction applied to them. It gives new life to the photos.

And we couldn’t stop there.

Apollo Missions on Vimeo

I was looking through the Project Apollo Archive ( and at one point, I began clicking through a series of pics quickly and it looked like stop motion animation. So, I decided to see what that would look like without me having to click through it. Enjoy!

Sit back and enjoy almost three minutes of frantic space exploration.

Header image: Apollo 7 Hasselblad image from film magazine 4/N – Earth Orbit