Tips for planning a high school reunion

TuHS class of 2006

Having never planned a high school reunion before, here’s a non-exhaustive list of things I wish I had known in advance:

  • Pick a date about 9 months in advance, announce it, and then don’t think about it for 7 months. You don’t need to spend 7 months meeting, discussing, and meeting again. The last two months are sufficient for pulling all of the details together.
  • Convince 5-10 people to volunteer. Even if you think you can do all of the work, getting buy-in from others means there are other people with a vested interest in making the reunion a success.
  • Choose a venue that’s a good fit for a high school reunion. We ended up at On Deck Sports Bar and Grill, which regularly hosts reunions. This was awesome, because it meant they already had some of the logistics covered.
  • Rent a couple sets of cornhole. Ladder Golf and giant Jenga are fun too, but cornhole seems to be the winner for parties.
  • Put conversation starters on the name tags. Make them fun, and not offensive, to make them a good entry point into re-meeting someone you haven’t talked to in 10 years.
  • As a host, put extra effort into circulating, striking conversations with people, and making people feel welcome. Everyone initially feels super awkward about being a high school reunion. If you can help them break the ice, they’ll get into enjoying the party much quicker.
  • Purchase a pony keg to keep the alcohol flowing for those who want to keep drinking after their drink tickets run out. I think offering the pony key was the right balance between not having enough drink tickets, and everyone getting smashed.
  • Put a little bit of effort into decorating to make the venue feel special. We had a banner, “Welcome Tualatin High School Class of 2006”, and some light decorations at every table.

We had a ton of fun last Saturday night. I’m super glad I volunteered to help out (I wasn’t on ASB or anything). And, now I know what’s involved for next time!

 

Year in Review: 2015

A reflection on family, business, and travel. See also: 2014, 2013.

What a year. It’s hard to imagine life moving any faster — and then it does. Having a second kid is parenting squared.

Wait a sec… I haven’t blogged about my son yet. Hey, Charlie!

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Charles Edward Bachhuber was born at home on December 16th, 2015 weighing 9 pounds 6 ounces. He’s a total bundle of joy. Leah, Ava, and I are proud to welcome him to the family, and can’t wait to share our world with him.

Here are some of the highlights of the year from Instagram:

Professionally-speaking

There were two big points to my career this year: joining Fusion (May), and then leaving (November). Yeah yeah, thanks for the jokes about me holding down a full-time job.

I joined Fusion because I’ve always wanted to work for a news organization. It seemed like the prime opportunity to build a distributed technology team within a startup media company. But, as I discovered, sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to.

Fusion was a great “Intro to Management” experience. In hindsight, I can safely say I had no idea what I was getting into. And now I know! But it took me a half year of experience in the role, and consuming dozens upon dozens of blog posts, podcasts, and books, to fully appreciate how a management role is different than what I’ve historically done.

The takeaway I can share in a sentence: distributed and co-located teams don’t mix. Companies with both a physical office and remote employees absolutely need to operate as though everyone is distributed. Without this commitment, many things break in many frustrating ways. And, learning to be a manager in this context is incredibly difficult.

Since November, I’ve been back in the saddle with Hand Built. Business is going well. Notably, I helped PBS Frontline launch their new website, and built a new blog for Pottery Barn. I also have a number of potential projects in the hopper for 2016.

What I’m most proud of professionally, though, is how much time I get to spend contributing to open source. In 2015, this turned out to be 12.26% of all tracked time (282 hours). On behalf of Hand Built, this was 128 hours towards WP-API, 60 hours towards WP-CLI, and 13 hours towards WordPress core.

2015-12-30 at 2.35 PM

Jet-setting

Travel slowed way down for me this year — and I didn’t make MVP Gold on Alaska. According to TripIt, here’s the tally for 2015 compared to 2014 and 2013:

  • 15 trips over 62 days (2014: 18 trips over 90 days; 2013: 24 trips over 139 days).
  • 48,692 miles flown (2014: 64,193 miles; 2013: 99,228 miles).
  • Visited 18 cities in 4 countries (2014: 19 cities in 4 countries; 2013: 33 cities in 8 countries).

Happy (almost) New Year!

Dinner plan for week of October 25th, 2015

  • Sunday: pork loin slow cooked in root beer, garlic and onion; cauliflower rice
  • Monday: ???
  • Tuesday: ravioli, sausages and brussel sprouts
  • Wednesday: baked chicken
  • Thursday: rice bowls
  • Friday: grill if the weather is nice

Dead-simple video conferencing

Google Hangout destroys my computer. If I had any sort of expertise in building hardware, I’d start a company to produce dead-simple dedicated video conferencing hardware.

It would be an all-in-one device (both camera and display) where I can have an instant-on connection with anyone in the world. And, to get fancy, the optics of the camera would correct for the orientation of the device, such that it would always appear as though I’m having a face-to-face conversation (instead of nose to face or forehead to nose).

A price point of $500 or less would make this a killer device for any company.

Informal VIP client survey: how do you commit to SVN?

I am currently a single point of failure for getting code from our Github repo to WordPress.com VIP SVN. As such, we (Fusion) are exploring a project to auto-deploy our Github repository to VIP SVN through post-CI middleware. But, before we dive into development, we want to make sure we’ve exhausted all lower-effort options.

How does your code get from Github to VIP SVN? Would you potentially want ot use our project? Please let me know with a comment — thanks!

The ultimate wedding playlist

It’s wedding season again. When I put together our playlist, Ben Meadow (Leah’s uncle) gave me a couple pieces of advice. First, include up to two slow songs. And probably only one. Second, make sure you have music for all ages. I stacked the golden oldies up front, which worked well.

Here’s the playlist that kept everyone on the dance floor the entire night:

  1. I’m A Believer – The Monkees
  2. Baby I Love You – Aretha Franklin
  3. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson
  4. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
  5. Get Down Tonight – KC & The Sunshine Band
  6. Brick House – Commodores
  7. Love Shack – The B-52’s
  8. At Last – Etta James
  9. ABC – Jackson 5
  10. Dancing Queen – ABBA
  11. Celebration – Kool & The Gang
  12. Wild Thing – Tone-Loc
  13. Stayin’ Alive — Bee Gees
  14. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  15. Mony Mony – Billy Idol
  16. Kung Fu Fighting – Cee Lo Green
  17. A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) – Fergie, Q-Tip, GoonRock
  18. Cha Cha Slide – Mr. C
  19. Gangnam Style – PSY
  20. It’s Time To Disco – Vasundhara Das, KK, Shaan
  21. Sexy And I Know It – LMFAO
  22. Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) – Beyonce
  23. Save A Horse (And Ride A Cowboy) – Big & Rich
  24. Hava Nagila – The Klezmer Lounge Band
  25. Poker Face – Lady Gaga
  26. Hello (Feat. Dragonette) – Martin Solveig
  27. The Time (Dirty Bit) – The Black Eyed Peas
  28. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

Truthfully, people sat down for the Bollywood song. But it wouldn’t be my wedding without Bollywood. For the Hava Nagila, Leah and I actually did end up on chairs. And, if you’ve ever lived in Eugene, you know why we ended with Sweet Caroline.

Good luck!

Dinner plan for week of May 31st, 2015

Leah and I have been meal planning since Ava was born. I thought it might be fun to start sharing what we’re eating!

  • Sunday: BBQ at Leah’s mom’s
  • Monday: Thai veg curry over rice
  • Tuesday: Make your own salad (chicken, red peppers, avocado, etc.)
  • Wednesday: Ravioli with chicken basil sausages and brussel sprouts
  • Thursday: Beef manicotti
  • Friday: Fish tacos (?)