2009 – a year in photos

2009 was an awesome year for me. I did a ton of traveling, I met dozens and dozens of really great people, I learned a ton of new stuff and, in general, I had a really great time. When I sat down to try and write a recap, the only way I could really remember all the cool things I did was to go back through my blog archives and my flickr feed. Photos seemed like a lot more fun, so here’s a recap of 2009… with photos.

January – WordCamp Las Vegas

I was absolutely blown away be the response I got from putting together WordCamp Las Vegas. That smirk on my face is definitely me thinking, “Did I really just pull this off? Yeah, I think you did.” The success of that event is something that I’m very proud of and the list of people I would need to thank for their support would take too long so I’ll just say a collective ‘thanks’!


January – Beer ‘n Blog

One of the best parts of running WordCamp was sparking the interest of a group of Las Vegas bloggers to get together on a weekly basis to talk tech over a couple pints. I think this was taken at the first event. We had nearly 50 people in attendance. What a blast!


February – Twestival Las Vegas

One of the great things about social media is the ability to bring people together offline. When you tell people that they can come out and have some drinks and all the money goes to charity, well, I’d call that a no-brainer.


February – Photo Safari Noobs

Take 4 guys, throw them and all their camera gear in an FJ Cruiser and point them towards Denver. Stop everywhere along the way that looked like it might make for an interesting photograph. That’s exactly what we did. It. Was. Awesome.


February – WordCamp Denver

WordCamp was the thinly veiled disguise that we used in order to sneak away for the Photo Safari trip. Here we are at lunch with Micah Baldwin, Ben Huh, Austin and Jeanna  during a break at WordCamp. The lady in the foreground has kicked Todd out of his seat so she could get a photo with Micah because he’s awesome. Yes, we made fun of him for it.


March – Redondo Beach

My family has owned and operated a fish market called Captain Kidd’s in Redondo Beach for the past 30+ years. I grew up working there and even after 10 years of eating there 5 days a week, it’s still my favorite place to eat. This is us with 4 generations of our family getting together for some seafood.


April – WordCamp Reno-Tahoe

Yeah, I know. This isn’t a photo. But, it WAS the first time I got to stick a badge on my website that said I was speaking at an event. WordCamp Reno was one of my first public speaking events. I wasn’t as nervous as I was expecting to be. I am very appreciative of Colin Loretz for the invite to to speak.


May – WordCamp San Francisco

The granddaddy of them all. WordCamp San Francisco. There were nearly 800 people at that event! It was so big that there were people there I was TRYING to find and wasn’t able to. That’s a pretty big event in my book. While we were there we took some time to play the part of tourists. We went to Alcatraz and the Height/Ashbury district, but can you believe that we didn’t get to see the Golden Gate Bridge? Next year, I guess…


June – Paxton graduates

One of the proudest days of my life, that was. Watching my Son cross that stage as they called is name and handing him his diploma. That’s something I never did. I dropped out of school long before graduating. I don’t regret the decision I made all those years ago, but, I am sorry that my parents didn’t get to experience what I got to experience that day.


July – Whuffaoke in a trailer park

When Tara Hunt decided to move cross country, she didn’t just pack her stuff and drive. No, she sent her stuff with some movers and she drove a Winnebego from one side of the country to the other stopping at very spots to bring karaoke to the masses. Thanks to some last minute changes of plan, we ended up singing karaoke in the RV park at Circus Circus in 115 degree heat. As crazy as that all sounds, we had a great, great time!


September – Breakfast in Utah

Have you ever asked your spouse “Where would you like to go for breakfast tomorrow?” and have
her respond with a restaurant in a different state? Me, too. One Friday night we decided that having breakfast just outside of Zion in Utah sounded like a good idea. We got up early, threw the kids in the car and off we went. The best part is, we didn’t even go to Zion. We had breakfast and basically turned around and came home. This was a bench a stopped to photograph on the way back out of town.


September – WordCamp LA

Lots of travel this month. We headed back to Los Angeles for WordCamp. We all crashed at my sister’s house and then spent Saturday on the Loyola Marymount campus which was really nice. The night before we introduced some friends to the family restaurant where we BS’d for hours. This photo was taken during Shayne’s presentation a few hours before I spoke at the event. I had plenty of time to get him back… but I’d save that for later…


September – WordCamp Portland

Since moving to Las Vegas, I have said many times that I don’t think I could live anywhere else. Portland changed my mind on that one. I instantly felt like I fit in perfectly with the tech scene they have up there. When I mentioned that to some people back here in Vegas they reminded me that the sun comes out only a couple times all year up there… That may be an issue since I hate being cold… The move is currently on hold. This is a shot of the amazing streaming video that Portland provided. From what I was told, this was the best live feed of any WordCamp to date. Kudos to them!


October – BlogWorld / WordCamp Las Vegas

Running WordCamp as part of BlogWorld was certainly not as smooth as I would have liked it to have been. But, for all the troubles, there were some really great sessions that came out of that event. One other great thing about the event was that Shayne was planning on attending. Time to plot my revenge. The shot below is a 9 foot tall, 8 foot wide mural we made out of Shayne’s avatar. We hung it on the wall in our photo studio and then had him drop by for a tour.


November – WordCamp Phoenix / New York

Many months earlier I was offered the opportunity to speak at WordCamp Phoenix. I gladly accepted. A couple months later I was invited to speak at WordCamp New York. I accepted that, too. It wasn’t until I was booking airline flights that I realized these two events were on back to back days… nearly 3000 miles apart. I made both events but vowed to check calendars BEFORE agreeing to future events. And here’s a shot of the store directly next to the hotel we stayed at in New York.


November – Jamaica

The internet access was expensive and terrible so we didn’t bother using it. The resort offered a bunch of activities but we didn’t take part in any of them. For the first time in I can’t begin to think how long, I did nothing. To borrow a line from the movie Office Space, “I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything that I thought it could be.” Even though we took the trip over the Thanksgiving holiday, this trip was in honor of my wife’s and my 20th wedding anniversary.


December – Chicago

My company was kind enough to send me to Chicago for a conference. I can’t really blame them that the conference was scheduled for December in Chicago. I want to blame somebody, though. Look at that photo above… Now, look at the photo below. These were taken only about 10 days apart. This just isn’t right, folks. For the record, the day I left Chicago it was 4 degrees with a –18 wind-chill factor. :-/


December – Holiday party

For the past couple years my company has really nailed the holiday party! No sit-down dinner needed. Just some snacks and an open bar at a club in one of the Las Vegas casinos. This year was at the Palms. We were responsible adults and rented ourselves a room so we wouldn’t have to try to drive. That turned out to be a good thing since there are parts of the evening that I can barely remember. That’s when you wake up and dread the “You were tagged in a photo on Facebook” notices… Thankfully, we didn’t have that issue… this time. 😉


I’ve already got my camera ready to document 2010 as it unfolds!

Happy New Year!

– John

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  1. shaynesanderson on December 31, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Great wrapup! I'm glad 2009 was good for you…as it was great for us as well!

    2010 is already shaping up to be even better!!

    Big things 🙂

  2. shaynesanderson on December 31, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Great wrapup! I'm glad 2009 was good for you…as it was great for us as well!

    2010 is already shaping up to be even better!!

    Big things 🙂

  3. Vegas Linda Lou on January 2, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Wow! What a busy man you are. I have a feeling there's no stopping you–great things lie ahead! And congrats on your 20th anniversary–that's a major accomplishment!