I hereby pledge to donate all of the money I earn or receive in the next two weeks to Horton Center. Today is Monday, May 29. My Workathon will last until Monday, June 12. During this time, I will be helping my grandparents sell their collectibles on eBay (and elsewhere). I’ll also be doing some web development work for clients. If you have any work that I can do for you, now is the best time to ask me to do it. What is Horton Center?Horton Center is an outdoor ministries summer camp associated with the New Hampshire United Church of Christ (UCC) Conference. It sits on top of Pine Mountain in New Hampshire. It has co-ed cabins. Its worship space is the very peak of the mountain. It offers canoing, hiking, archery, ropes courses, and an endless number of creative and group-building activities. It’s run by a bunch of mountain-climbing spiritual hippies. And it’s darned cool. Horton Center provides 8 weeks of youth summer camp and a handful of additional timeslots for families and churches to visit the mountain. I’ve been going there in one form or another since I was five years old, and it has had a profound effect on my physical, emotional, social, and spiritual health. I’ve seen it to do great things for a great number of people. It’s also underfunded, and struggling to get new equipment for its campers. That’s where we come in. Sarah… You’re Endorsing a Church Camp?!?Being a non-churchgoing liberal with mostly non-churchgoing liberal friends, I feel I need to add some disclaimers here. As far as Christian denominations go, the UCC is on the liberal end of the spectrum. They’re adamantly accepting of all people, and they encourage all of their churches to be open and affirming. As their God is Still Speaking website states,

“The UCC has no rigid formulation of doctrine or attachment to creeds or structures. Its overarching creed is love.”

Now, who can argue with that?And in the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that my mother is an ordained minister in the UCC denomination. And she’s also darned cool. So What Can I Do?Well, like I said, if you have any work you’d like me to do for you — be it building your new website, writing your office guidelines manual, or cleaning out your junk closet — now is the best time to ask me to do it. Even if I can’t do it all in the next two weeks, 100% of what you pay me up front will go to this cause, and you’ll have secured a nice chunk of my time. What if I just want to give you my money?Hey, that’s so nice of you to ask. If you want to add to my fund and receive my undying public blog recognition, donate to me (aka Autumn Technical Designs) via paypal before June 12 by clicking this button:

I will pass it forward to the camp in a check with the rest of my cash. Every little bit helps. Even if you can only afford $3, that’s still a new aluminum arrow for a kid to hit a spiritually-inspired bullseye with.You can also go right to the source by emailing Director Gregg Pitman at gpitman@nhcucc.org or Program Director Mike Simons at mike@hortoncenter.org for more details on how to make your contribution. At HortonCenter.org, you can find information about donating to their “33 from 100” challenge to fund the archery range. And since I’m in mountain-mode, let me wrap this announcement up with Horton Center song verse. Really, this is their whole philosophy in a nutshell:

On the loose to climb a mountain,On the loose where I am free,On the loose to live my life the way I think my life should be.I only have a momentand the whole world left to see.I’ll be searching for tomorrow on the loose.

I hope you’ll support me in my Workathon to benefit Horton Center. Spread the word. A talented web developer, tech writer, and wild woman is offering to work for free for the next two weeks in support of this sacred space on a mountaintop. Peace.Disclaimer: This Workathon is simply me, Sarah Dopp, being generous with my resources. No other person or organization asked me to do this, and no one but I should be held responsible for it.

Self_Censored writes:

you know how coldstone has three sizes?well they’re “like it”, “love it”, “gotta have it”my proposal is that we rename them: “oh crap now i can’t eat for the rest of the day”, “i have a great personality”, and “fuck you, buddy, the majority of america is overweight so you can wipe that smirk off your trim face”

Amen, sister. Amen.

View more pictures of my homestate underwater.

I flew in last night to heavy rain in Boston.I showed up and surprised my mother this morning for Mother’s day (she thought I was coming Thursday…). It was wonderful. And now, our state of New Hampshire is underwater.Towns are closed. (Closed! They’re closing towns!)Rivers are up 10 or 15 feet. Bridges are collapsing. These people have never experienced this. Ever.I’m just… in shock. I don’t know what to feel. I just flew into a natural disaster. It’s awful.Happy Mother’s Day.

Q: What the heck are you gonna do in New Hampshire?A: That’s an excellent question.Mostly, I’m going to do the same things I always do — blog and build websites and maintain the same good discussions I have with friends all over the world on a regular basis. Boy, do I love the internet. And I really love this new laptop!Q: So why New Hampshire? Why not San Francisco? A: That’s another excellent question. Let me put it this way: If you had to choose between hanging out in New Hampshire where you won’t have a car, and hanging out in San Francisco where you have your own apartment and a city of awesome resources at your disposal… which you you pick?New Hampshire. I thought so.Q: Um… right… Well, what else are you gonna do there? A: Well, I’m going to stay primarily with my amazing grandparents who treat me like a daughter (you know, the ones whom if i don’t call three times a month they think I’ve died in an earthquake). They have a basement full of a bunch of stuff they want to get rid of, and they’ve requested my assistance in selling it on eBay. (Is anyone out there a connoisseur of first edition books and classic records, and want first dibs?)Q: What about the rest of your family and East Coast friends?A: Yes, they’re there, too. Q: So how long are you staying?A: Dunno. I bought a one-way plane ticket.Q: Huh?! Are you ever coming back to San Francisco???A: Of course. I just signed another year’s lease on my apartment, and I absolutely love it out here.Q: Okay, then. Let me rephrase. When are you leaving New Hampshire and returning to San Francisco?A: Oh, I get you now. I’m going to leave when something important in San Francisco requires my presence, or when I get sick of New Hampshire folk staring at my shaved head. I figure that will happen in 3 or 4 weeks. Maybe more time. Maybe less.Q: I think you’re strange and impulsive and I really wish you’d make more sense so I can know what you’re going to do.A: Sorry, what was your question again? I didn’t catch that.

“I need, I need, I need…” Needy girl I am!Here’s the deal. I need a smooth-interface project management system that keeps tabs on all my active projects: from websites to businesses to cleaning out my grandparent’s basement. To Do lists, timelines, file maintenance, reminders (Beep! Beep!), invoices, The Works. It needs to be SUPER customizable, with a hundred thousand options in its “Preferences” menu. And it needs to be SUPER easy to work with once it’s set up. No chores allowed. Needs to live on my computer. Either the internet or my Mac OS. And it would bring down the house if it could synch up with my palm pilot. Who’s got the solution?

I ended up ordering a refurbished 15″ Mac PowerBook G4 from Apple.com. Spent about $1000 less than I would have spent if I’d gone for the fancy new stuff, and it will work a lot better for my purposes anyway.I did some more research on the Intel MacBook, and here’s the final answer:It’s not that the computer is crappy. It’s that the computer is awesome, and the software you’ll want to run on it is crappy.So if I want to run Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat all at the same time on that machine, I’m going to be in misery… until the CS3 versions come out, at which point I’m all set.Problem is, I need it to work today.So G4 it is. I’ll go Intel a year or two, when everything is sailing a lot smoother.(Somewhat Unrelated Confession: I still don’t own an iPod, and despite the strange looks I get, I really don’t feel the need to change that fact…)

I think I’m going to head out to New Hampshire for the second half of May, maybe into June. And it occurs to me, that as a web developer, I can work anywhere in the world if I have internet access and a laptop. Most of the world has internet access. But I don’t have a laptop. And I think I should acquire one in the next week and a half. Here are my dream laptop characteristics:

  • Big hard drive (100+ GB)
  • Fast Processor (this girl has no patience for lag time)
  • Lots of RAM (I need to be able to run Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, and Dreamweaver at the same time without it crashing)
  • Wireless and wired internet access (of course)
  • CD Burner and Player
  • DVD Burner and Player
  • The ability to be BOTH a Mac AND a PC so I can easily check websites on both platforms. (Mac has Virtual PC… and I hear that new Mac Intel chip can boot up with Windows XP…)
  • Insurance to protect me against loss, theft, damage, defects, stupidity, and anything else that could go wrong.

So… here’s the problem. I’m totally willing to go out and buy a new Intel Mac Powerbook, but I hear they’re having some problems–running programs slowly and such. Unless someone can convince me that they’re perfect machines, I think I should probably wait until the next generation comes out before I fork over lots of money for one. So, I’m looking to you, the vast internet of cool people, to help me take one of two routes:1) Find the right new laptop for me to buy in the next week.2) Connect me with an honest someone who has a capable laptop they’re not using, and are willing to loan, rent, or sell to me right away. It doesn’t have to be my dream laptop–this is just to buy me some time before I invest in The Dream. It needs to be able to let me build websites in a wireless internet cafe. Mac or PC is fine. I’ll pay for shipping if you’re not here or in NH. Do you have one for me? Let’s talk.

I’m trying to grip this philosophy by the horns:Go with the flow, and have a backup plan.