Happy birthday, mom

Today is the birthday that you didn’t make it to.

It’s hard to imagine, still, that your body gave out before you were done with it. Your soul. Your being. Your presence. They never gave up. They continue to wrap us with joy and laughter and learning.

Today is March 17, 2015. You would have been 63.

In the seven months since your body left us, we’ve continued to grow. We now know grief. We now know love and bonding and what strength really means. We’re starting to know what it’s like to not have you laughing in the next room. Or this room. We’re starting to let the gaping void heal. The wet wound is drying.

Nothing is getting easier and it’s best for the people around us to ignore our pain. None of us want them to see it because it’s not their burden. Our emotions range from freedom to happiness to soul-crushing desperation. But there’s acceptance. Acceptance keeps us moving forward and our daily lives are just as simple as they ever were. Family comes first. Then work. Then play.

The kids have grown to the point where you might not recognize them. I’m overwhelmed with pride at each corner. Each turn is better than the next. There’s thoughtfulness and tenderness and a wit that is amazingly disarming. These kids are everything that you would have ever wanted them to be. They’re my kids. They are kids that you would have raised. They are who they are because of you.

I’m proud of you, mom. You built an amazing community, incredible family, and a life worth living. You fill me with hope, daily. You remind me about the important things and allow me to step back from the ones that can wait. You’ve taught me to cherish my moments and the people around me. You’ve taught me to live and to enjoy this life. You’ve done well. Your best was the best. I can only hope to be like you one day.

Happy birthday, mom.

May this day be filled with overflowing martinis, damn-good Chinese food, rowdy dancing, abundant laughter, and a few tears. May this day be filled with your eternal light. May this day be filled with your presence and all of the joy that it brings us.

Today is a celebration. Today is the day that you were born. Today, we celebrate your life.

Happy birthday, mom.

Minecraft Birthday

This week my dude turns seven. Seven. I don’t know how it happened and I don’t want to know, but I sure am proud to be his papa.

For his birthday, all he wanted to do was play Minecraft with his friends. I mean, who can blame him? It’s a pretty neat game that becomes more neat as you add people to your realm. So Lu and I decided that we would make it happen. What I didn’t know was to what extent we would make it happen.

What you see here is the work of Lu. I was just a pawn, catering to her every need. Take a look at the images above and note the beauty of her work:

  • Floor to ceiling Enderman
  • Shoot the Creeper game
  • Skeleton Piñata
  • “Make a chest” gift bag, that each kid filled with supplies
  • Snacks galore, each with their own Minecraft sign

Of course, I did have my dad-specific projects as well, which included the “Survival Potion” for the grown-ups and the Game Cave.

The Game Cave was pretty neat to put together. I ran two iMacs and a MacBook Air, as well as some additional monitors in case the stations got crowded.

iMac 1 was the “server,” which was hosting the game on our local network. The MacBook Air served as not only the space for an additional monitor, but allowed me to use AirPlay to mirror the display to the TV up in the living room (via an AppleTV.) This made it so that the grown-ups could watch the game that was taking place in the basement, live. When they decided to battle the Ender Dragon, I saw it as it was happening, and went downstairs to offer my advice.

Overall the day was fantastic. We had a blast and so did the kids.

Last night, while putting The Dude to bed, he wrapped his arms around my neck and said “Thanks, dad.” Mission accomplished.

One Central Hub for All Your Content

This launch is something to be really proud of.

WordPress.com News

Last week, we announced a few updates to the WordPress.com interface, including faster stats and enhanced site management on both desktop and mobile devices.

Our push to make all WordPress.com sites faster and easier to access and manage continues. This week, we’re thrilled to unveil a few brand-new features that allow bloggers, publishers, and business owners to run their sites and manage their content from one central hub, no matter what device they’re using.

From new blog post and page management tools to Jetpack site integrations, we hope you enjoy the latest additions as much as we do!

Centralized post management

You can now access all your posts from one convenient location, whether you write one personal blog or publish on multiple sites. Quickly sort through published, scheduled, drafted, or even trashed posts for one or all of your sites at once!


A visual preview of each blog post lets you…

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My mom. She lived. She died. She’s here.

image(2)I’m not good with talking about my emotions publicly, openly, and without hesitation. I’m not good at feeling angry or upset or confused. I’m not good at knowing that my life is changed forever.

What I am good at, though, is realizing that just because my life is changed that doesn’t mean that life is going to be bad. The raw pain will turn into a dull one and I’ll soon be able to see myself living again. Being a father. Being a husband. Being an Automattician.

It’s been three weeks since my mother died. My mom. The woman who had so much faith in me that I learned to have faith in myself. The woman who loved me so much that I learned to love myself. The woman who was so optimistic about my future that I became optimistic myself. She died.

I’ve been visiting her grave and speaking out loud like a lunatic. When I visit, I feel like I hear her. She tells me to stop visiting because I can talk to her from anywhere. My mom. She died.

There are moments when I feel like I can’t breathe and I don’t know how to have faith or love or be optimistic. And then there are moments when I’m determined to make the most out of every second that I have left. My mom. She died. She was 62.

When I think about her final years, I think about how much she lived. My mom never struggled. She never fought. She never battled cancer. She lived with it. She took what was a devastating and horrible turn in her life and she lived. She traveled. She loved. She laughed and danced and sang. She married people. She continued to grow and learn about herself and become the best that she could be. My mom. She lived. She died. She was 62.

I know that she’s here with us. I still ask her advice and I still lean on her for support. She’s around us and she always will be. She weaved her soul into me from the moment I was born. Teaching me, learning from me, growing me. My mom. She lived. She died. She was 62. She’s here.

My mom. My mom lived and then my mom died. She had 62 amazing years. I’d rather live with the gigantic hole in my heart than have had my life be any other way. I’m so lucky that I got to know her. My mom. She’s here.


Hey, mom.

We buried you yesterday and it was awesome. You would have been proud of the service and you would have been proud of us for keeping our shit together. Had you physically been there you would have danced and laughed and sang louder than anyone else in the room. You would have cried too.

It’s not easy to say goodbye to your physical being and all of us have a lot of work to do to get used to the idea. Rabbi Marc reminded us, though, that your calendar is now wide open and we can talk to you whenever we want. You’re here around us. Everywhere.

I’m not going to eulogize you. I didn’t at the funeral and I won’t do it now. There are too many words for any of them to have any meaning. Instead, I’m going to live the rest of my life with your influence. I’m going to treat people the way that you taught me to treat them. I’m going to raise my children the way that you raised me. I’m going to use my brain for good. I’m going to love myself. I’m going to hold those around me close and build my personal community to be the strongest it can be. I’m going to feel things. I’m going to be conscious and deliberate and I’m going to enjoy my moments like there’s no tomorrow.

We’re going to be fine. You knew we would. There’s a lot of love in this house and life is such an amazing adventure. We’re all just so lucky to have known you and to continue to know you. You didn’t leave us behind. You grew us all. We’ll continue to learn from you each and every day, regardless of your incarnation.

I love you, mom. I hope the music is good wherever you are today. If not, I’m sure it will be good tomorrow.

WordCamp Philly

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking at WordCamp Philly. What an amazing event in an incredible community.

The whole place was alive and there was so much learning happening around every corner.

My presentation was WordPress for Non-profits: For when your Operations Manager is also your Webmaster. Here are the slides from that presentation:

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Scripting for Linkinus (IRC Client)

At work we use IRC to communicate. It’s an old technology, but it’s really awesome. I’ve come to think of IRC as my home base. It’s the place where I chat with my colleagues across the globe and get to enjoy their company. With distributed work, it’s the best way to feel connected with people.

Because it’s my home base, I’ve always wanted to make it mine. I’ve made a few tweaks here and there, but I realized quickly that the only way to truly customize it is to write a script.

A friend of mine at work loves burritos. Every Friday (I suppose, out of companionship,) we have what’s called Burrito Friday. That means that no matter where you are in the world, you eat a Burrito of some kind. I personally don’t have too many options for Burritos in Philly, so I’ve decided that Burrito Friday is a state of mind. That means that anything that I eat on Friday is a Burrito. My friend hates that.

He hates it so much that I just can’t stop giving him a hard time about it.

What’s the point of giving someone a hard time if you have to do it manually? So I wrote a script1 to do it for me. Now all that I have to do is type /burrito in Linkinus to give him a hard time.

To use this yourself, open up your AppleScript Editor and create a new document with the code below. Save the file as burrito.scpt to /Users/USERNAME/Library/Application Support/Linkinus 2/Scripts

-- --------------------------------------
-- Burrito Friday
-- by Alx Block
-- Version 1.0
-- Description: Automatically insert sentances claming that anything is a Burrito
-- Usage: /burrito
-- Output: [burrito]
-- -------------------------------------

on linkinuscmd()
	set burrito_list to {"Everything is a beautiful Burrito", "My desk is a Burrito", "This pencil right here is a Burrito", "Today is Friday, so that means that your mom is a Burrito", "My MacBook Pro is a Burrito", "Only at Automattic can anything be a Burrito", "I'll admit that my trackpad is a Burrito", "This monitor right here is a Burrito", "The Bagel that I had this morning was a Burrito", "This baby monitor right here is a Burrito", "The salad that I'm eating is a Burrito", "This coffee is a Burrito", "I got you a Burrito", "I'm sorry, but you've never had a real Burrito", "I was eating an egg and all that I could think about was that it's a Burrito", "My kid. A Burrito!", "The sun is out, so it's a Burrito", "Have you ever had a frozen Burrito?", "There's no such thing as a Burrito. Only ZUUUUULL", "Burrito? Where we're going, we don't need Burritos", "My motorcylce is like a fancy Burrito", "I'm wearing a Burrito costume", "You're a real Burrito", "I hear that all of the Northeast is a Burrito", "Have you ever even had a real Burrito?", "This muffin is a Burrito", "Twitter is a Burrito", "Once a Burrito, always a Burrito", "My dog ate my Burrito", "I think IRC is also a Burrito"}
	set the list_count to the count of burrito_list
	set pick to random number from 1 to list_count
	set result to item pick of burrito_list as string
	return result
end linkinuscmd

The beautiful thing about this is that it’s super-simple. This is such a basic script, but it allows me to customize my home base in a way that’s meaningful to me. I’m excited to try more things and see what I can come up with next.

  1. The script that I’m using is actually a bit different because it mentions my friend by name. You can simply edit the code to add in the Nick of the person that you want to annoy the pants off of in front of each sentence.