3.21.2009

Thing 1: Portland Wordpress User Group

One of my coworkers introduced me to the invaluable Calagator. It's Portland's answer to a tech calendar and most of the events are free. The Portland Wordpress User Group put on a little talk about CSS.

"Great!" I thought. No matter how much I read documentation on these Internets, I cannot get the hang of CSS. I was hoping for a little hand holding, maybe some friendly people, maybe some socializing. It also might help me figure out what the hell to do with this thing. I don't write it in a whole lot, though I go through spurts. I'm working on changing the hosting to Blogger but the CNAME instructions aren't complete for blogs previously hosted elsewhere. I've been a little disappointed by Wordpress.com. You don't have nearly as much control as you do with Blogger and it feels clunky. But there's a user group and I don't know much about .org, so what the hell right?

I practically ran there after work, I got caught as I was leaving thanks to some printer problems. That meant I arrived at 5:58, or 2 minutes before the presentation was supposed to start. That didn't leave much room for mingling, even though it started around 15 minutes late. There was some talk about the old website, about a two day event that happens to take place over my birthday in September regarding Wordpress.

Someone tried to be friendly with me at first, but I think I had my bitch face on. After introducing herself she quickly turned to the pixie-cute women who'd just started a marketing company. No one else spoke to me. I was surrounded by people locked in to their laptops, browsing Twitter and their blogs, reading Wordpress news, doing whatever that didn't include having much conversation with new people. I didn't have time to grab my laptop or even a damned notebook, so I was even more out of place and forced to take notes on my phone.

The presentation itself was fantastic. It was given by someone who made CSS look so damned easy and he provided a lot of tools that I'd never heard of. When I eventually want to start customizing again, his advice will be invaluable. All well then right? And then a marketing person spoke up.

Marketing people are everywhere in the United States. In England they seem to be afterthoughts, charged with getting balloons printed with company logos. But here they're everywhere, permeating and controlling every aspect of corporate culture. This particular marketing person took a job she knows nothing about. She was tasked with creating a blog for a client, one that posted videos. She didn't know which host to use, or how to host them and wanted to know the difference between Blogger and Wordpress.

She wanted free consultancy.

Thankfully for her there were some Wordpress evangalists in the group more than willing to bring her over. They launched a rant about Blogger ownership, terms of use and how there's no such thing as a Blogger community all the while admitting they knew little about Blogger itself. And I have to admit that kind of one sided love really turns me off. Wordpress, like Blogger, Moveable Type, Typepad, Xanga and Livejournal is just a blogging platform. That it has a community to support it should be more worrisome than anything else.

I was a little deflated. I mean sure, I should have expected to hear Wordpress propoganda from a um, Wordpress User Group but it stuck in my craw. The group leader spoke up, wanting us to socialize. I tried again with my neighbor and had a good bit of small talk. But my last cup of work coffee went through me and I had to find a bathroom. When I came back the marketing pixies and marketing out of her league had gone and the rest of the group was crowded around a laptop. I picked up my things and left.

So I failed at creating small talk with more than one person. But I succeeded at creating small talk with one person. I guess those are baby steps. And really, the presentation clarified some things about CSS I'd previously found really confusing, so that was awesome. Though I'm finding I want to TDD everything, so that's a little distracting. I'm not sure I'll be a regular attendee, I didn't like feeling like such a third wheel. But if @nantronics is speaking on something again, I'll definitely go.


Nathan Bergey's blog post from his CSS tutorial.

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