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This was 2018…

So, what a year it’s been. My family and I have seen more change this year than ever before. In April of this year we started our trek south to central Florida. There have been so many ups and downs throughout the year, but I wouldn’t change anything.

It’s been a great change of climate! I do not miss the snow! And as of yet, I’m not tired of the heat. The hardest part? Missing our friends and family. However, there are just so many things to see and do around central Florida — and not just Disneyworld and Universal. I’ve had so much good food — and put on a little weight in the process. Here’s a sampling of some of the sights we’ve seen, some of things we’ve experienced, and maybe a few familiar faces from 2018:

(There might be a picture or two of some food in there too!)

Computing, Technology

Microsoft Ignite 2017

This year I am experiencing my first Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. I was prepared to be blown away by all the innovations, and it sure is overwhelming!

To follow along this week, just follow #MSIgnite on Twitter.

I will (probably) write up something a bit more comprehensive when this is all over. I don’t want to spend all this week in Orlando typing behind a laptop when I could be experiencing Ignite. So, more coming soon!

Microsoft Ignite 2017: Opening Video

Day One:


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College Hunt, Final Edition: Our SCAD Bee

After a one week delay, classes are underway at SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design. We are so proud of Allison for being accepted to this college! Tina and I attended family orientation sessions on Sunday where we were incredibly impressed by the staff and faculty, facilities, and overall planning and coordination of the school.

We were able to keep in contact with representatives at the college during Hurricane Irma by using a variety of online/social media outlets. The parent Facebook page, SCAD’s twitter account, and of course the school website at were all valuable resources during the week of uncertainty. Even upon arriving at the school, with all the chaos of registration and getting kids moved in over a shortened weekend — the staff did a fantastic job.

For those not familiar with SCAD (me, a couple of years ago!) here is a video shown during parent orientation that provides a glimpse into the school:

You can see more SCAD videos on their YouTube channel and at SCAD TV.

When we arrived at check in, there was a large presence of SCAD personnel ready to assist and answer any questions we had. There was a party-like atmosphere setting everyone at ease in this new environment. We had some time to explore Savannah and visit the on-campus bookstore, Ex Libris. Shortly after that we arrived at Allison’s new dorm to move her in. There was a long line of vehicles going in and going out, but the security and staff at SCAD had the line moving efficiently. By the time we got to Allison’s building we were the only car unloading at that location. SCAD had organized move-in teams with students volunteering to help move freshmen in. With assistance, we had Allison moved into her new room in no time.

Thanks to SCAD for the wonderful experience! And here’s to four successful years at Allison’s new home!



Children, Education, Featured

The Art of Politics


Allison McIntyre – Life Will Stretch You

This past week my daughter Allison had the honor of being recognized at the United States Capitol for winning first place in her district at the 2014 Congressional Art Competition.  Her work, along with several others from all over the nation, is on display in the hallways of the US Capitol Building.  On June 26 we attended a presentation and reception where Allison met Congressman David McKinley, representative of West Virginia’s first district.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank Representative McKinley for taking the time to talk to us and converse with Allison about her work and passion for the arts, and for taking a genunie interest in our visit.  We often picture congressman and senators as distant suits who are too busy to speak with constituants, but his conversation was genuine and included statements like “What do you think?” and “What would you do?” It felt sincere and I was pleasantly surprised.  I would like to thank members of Representative McKinley’s office, including his staff and interns for their assistance in guiding us around the Capitol and for pointing out some places to visit (and eat) while in Washington.  I’d also like to thank the competition’s sponsers, Southwest Airlines, the Savannah College of Art and Design, and Adobe along with the Adobe Education Team, who can be followed on twitter as well.  Join Adobe’s conversation on twitter about keeping the arts in education and turning STEM to STEAM with #CreateEdu

For more information about the Congressional Art Competition, visit the House website or the Congressional Institute’s website. The House website currently displays artwork from 2013 competition, but the Congressional Institute’s website has been updated with the 2014 artwork.

College Hunt — Full Sail University

So, we just returned from a trip to central Florida over Christmas break that included a trip to Full Sail University in Winter Park. Allison will be off to college in no time at all, and with her artistic talents we’re looking for a media-rich school for her to attend. Full Sail certainly delivers on all counts.

This video provides a quick tour of the campus. Many of these places we visited during our tour.

Our tour guide, Jim, was very knowledgeable and full of information about the course offerings. There were a few grade school children along for this tour and Jim handled them all amicably. I had felt a little odd about taking Allison as she is just a freshman in high school, but after seeing the younger kids there on the tour, those worries quickly disappeared.

This would have been a top choice school of my own had I known about it in the early 1990s. I was interested at that time in attending Virginia Tech, as they were using Commodore-Amiga computers. I would have leaned toward television and movie post production, I think. I ended up staying local, and getting a well-rounded education here in West Virginia.

The education from Full Sail is very specific to digital media arts, and upon completion, 72% of students wind up working in their field of study. That’s a real-world education. I was impressed by Full Sail’s list of graduates who went on to work for film studios, audio engineering companies, gaming studios, musicians, etc. There are a few awards (Grammy, Emmy) on site that backs up the quality work their grads are capable of.

As I said, Allison still has a couple of years to get things sorted out, but hopefully we can keep Full Sail at the top of a short list.

Pics are below.


Summer 2013 Reflections

So, we’ve reached the end of a wet, cool summer. It came and went very quickly… (Kind of the opposite of “Long Hot Summer” by Keith Urban.) Since we’ve reached the end of the season, over the next few days I’m going to look back and pick my five favorite photos from the past few months that seemed to summarize the summer. (I’m actually going back to May, which is technically still spring, but the pool was open, so in my mind it counts. :))

Number 5:

So, speaking of May, that’s where I’m going for my first picture.  It was the day we uncovered the swimming pool and it was rainy.

Friday, May 10, 2013 – Taking the cover off the swimming pool on a rainy day.

Number 4:

For the next picture I’ve decided to head to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania… PNC Park specifically, and the June 29 game between the Pirates and Brewers. This was a trip to Pittsburgh with several family and friends from church.  The Pirates have electrified the city this year with some outstanding play that we haven’t seen for over twenty years.  At this point in the season we knew it would be special. And now the Pirates have their first winning season since 1992.  I really like the framing of the Jolly Roger in this particular photo.

Saturday, June 29, 2013 – PNC Park. Pirates 2, Brewers 1.

Number 3:

I’ve gone with an easy one here… From Ocean City, Maryland on the first night of our vacation, this is the bay side view from the Sea Bay Hotel. It was the first night of what was the best week of the summer and if I could pick one moment to go back to, it would be this one. 🙂

July 14, 2013
Sunday, July 14, 2013 – Sea Bay Hotel

Number 2:

More fun in the sun with this picture, taken when the kids were swimming in the back yard pool. I think we spent more time draining and/or cleaning the pool this year than we did actually swimming in it. This was one of those rare occasions where we could actually be in the water. The “fun fact” about this picture is that it’s actually a frame grabbed from a video taken with the Zoe feature of an HTC One cell phone.

Summer Swimming
Thursday, July 4, 2013 – Summer Swimming

Number 1:

Okay, well, I’ve been combing through some photos to decide what would be the final picture I posted in this series, and I’ve gone with a photo from Father’s Day dinner at the Olive Garden in Morgantown. I really enjoyed having everyone together for dinner that evening. We also made a visit to Best Buy that evening. A nice dinner, pleasant company, a tech store visit, the beginnings of summer… What more could you ask for?

Sunday, June 16, 2013 - Olive Garden
Sunday, June 16, 2013 – Olive Garden


Featured, Travel

New York City 2012

So, we are home from our school trip to New York City. This was my first trip to the Big Apple, but this was the second Allison and Tina have been there. We had a great time, but we were only there two days and it’s just impossible to spend any length of time anywhere. When we go back we’ll be spending a little more time in places.

One thing I’d like to add is a video of the performance of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious performed in the Mary Poppins musical. Fantastic!

Here are a few pics: