Grand Meetup
The view from the hotel in (l) San Francisco and (r) Santa Cruz.

For the past week, I’ve been at the Automattic grand meetup in San Francisco and Santa Cruz. We get everyone in the company together once a year and we work on projects and have fun as a group.

As this was my first grand meetup, I also discovered that I made many other firsts during this past week.

I went go karting for the first time.

Look at how FAST I look!
Look at how FAST I look!

While I wasn’t the fastest, I wasn’t the slowest either! Great day with a bunch of fellow Automatticians. Also, the view was fantastic!

I also tried bone marrow for the first time. I now understand why Anthony Bourdain loves it so much. Delish!

"Fat, topped with a layer of fat."
“Fat, topped with a layer of fat.”

One of the things we had at the meetup were Code Academy classes where we had the opportunity to learn about new things. The one I signed up for was learning PHP, taught by one of our Code Wranglers Justin and joined by Kathryn and Brad.

Holy shit! I'm writing code! And it makes sense!
Holy shit! I’m writing code! And it makes sense!

Before the meetup Justin asked us what our skill level was and what we wanted to get out of this course. We determined that we would like to create a plugin for WordPress. We also decided on a name for our team to replace “Code Academy Class 12”:

Photo by Kathryn Presner
Photo by Kathryn Presner

During our time in San Francisco, Team PHP: Heisenberg Project learned a ton and was able to write not one, but two plugins:


I also set foot in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Well, the first overall ocean too!

To check off something that’s been on my very short bucket list, I went surfing for the first time! This was something I was so excited to try at the meetup. While I don’t have any photographic evidence of that (I’m sure other co-workers took photos of the carnage surfing though.), I had a ton of fun. I’m determined to do it again, but only after working on my balance. I was never able to stand up on the board when I was catching a wave – that resulted in epic wipeouts. However, I did get up to my knees twice, so I call that a win.

[EDIT] Here’s a shot of all of us surfers from far away from a co-worker!!

My surfing endeavor was cut short due to a wickedly bad charley horse I got after wiping out for the umpteenth time. Find me something that sucks more than getting the worse leg cramp of your life while you’re underwater and can’t yell out “OWMOTHERFUCKER!” over and over or massage it out because you have to surface and breathe first.

Other fun (but not firsts) included bumper cars as we rented the ride for two hours. Although, riding bumper cars for two straight hours does count as a first! So much screaming, laughing, and potential whiplash and it was so worth it! Can’t remember the last time I laughed so much that I nearly lost my voice.

My coworker Alex behind me waiting to give me more bumper car related whiplash.
My coworker Alex behind me waiting to give me more bumper car-related whiplash.

It was so much fun to meet and get to know my co-workers better in person. While I’m glad to be home, I’m really going to miss this past week of fun and firsts. I work with an amazing group of people and this week just proved it.

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