Storm Social: Lessons from a Big Storm

Storm Social: Lessons from a Big Storm

Storm Social: Lessons from a Big Storm

As I started this blog post, a huge storm was raging outside my home. Wind and rain pummeled the windows, and the river overflowed its banks, and in some cases, flooded. Over the past few days, the culvert under the road leading to my home failed suddenly from the excess water. Overnight, what had been a safe road became hazardous.

People Are Social

I was thinking about how dependent we are upon other people, and how often people will surprise you. And also about how people can become social if they’re forced to be. So far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by everyone’s willingness to help out, their friendliness, and how quickly things came together in the face of this big storm.


One neighbor helped pull the big stumps and debris out of the culvert using the winch on his truck. Every single contractor I called for help phoned back within 36 hours, and they all showed up quickly to investigate the scene. Within 24 hours, I had chosen a contractor to fix the culvert, and within two days there were 3-1/2 truckloads of Gabian rock dumped in place to prevent further erosion. And by the way, I found all the contractors by asking for referrals through a neighborhood Facebook group.

Storm Social: Before a Big Storm

Storm Social: Before a Big Storm

On the up side of the culvert, water rushed down and into the drainage. Corrugated metal was inserted into the rotting metal pipe and foam put in place to prevent the corrugated metal from sliding. A huge piece of corroded pipe was cut and then removed with a backhoe. The temporary fix was put into place.

Rubber was put into place to create a slide for the water. One piece of the corrugated metal was fanned out to create a waterfall effect at the down side of the water.

Social Media

While all this was happening, neighbors from far and wide came together to watch the progress, offer advice, give sympathy, and offer help in all forms. It was an amazing thing to see! So now I’ve met people up and down the street, as well as in the larger community, through social media.

Facebook groups were revived like mushrooms after a rainfall, so that neighbors could share posts, pictures, and resources about the storm. Many groups added huge numbers of fans quite quickly, as people wondered what the weather was like and which roads were passable. My new favorite on Facebook is the wonderfully informative U.S. National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area/Monterey. They gave updates as well as answered questions live on Facebook and their Twitter account. Other, more local groups, gave very specific updates on the roads in the mountains.

I added to my Twitter list of news organizations to be able to track the news more easily–something I recommend everyone do. And if you don’t know about lists, you can learn more about them here.

We only had two days to get the culvert fixed and our “band-aid solution” in place, and then we prayed that the rain wouldn’t be too much for the culvert. During the height of the storm, I went by, and the culvert was intact! There was some dirt below, but most of it held. A not at all minor miracle!



WordCamp Orange County 2014: Awesome Moments

WordCamp Orange County 2014: Awesome Moments

WordCamp Orange County 2014: Awesome Moments

Recently, I attended WordCamp Orange County 2014, not to be confused with WordCamp Orange County 2013. Here are a few of my favorite moments.

The Women

Mary Baum’s class on responsive design was Sunday’s funniest seminar. She kept us entertained while educating us on design challenges. And apparently, she loves golf!

Chris Lema

Chris Lema helped make the conference a community. He followed his own advice of being helpful. Getting the Most from Your Blog was definitely not about any get-rich quick schemes. Chris Lema set the tone for much of the conference.

Live Tweeting

You may have read my blog post about Live Tweeting at Conferences. Live tweeting is a fab way to connect with new friends. In fact, two of my besties (Bridget Willard and Peter Woolvett) were both people I met through Twitter. Some people we met couldn’t believe you could actually meet people from Twitter. Who knew? And here’s a partial hashtag report, in case you think live tweeting doesn’t make a difference in amplifying an event.

Wordcamp 2014 STATS_2 copy

Offsite Meetups

Offsite Meetups at WCOC 2014

Offsite Meetups at WCOC 2014

Another favorite moment was going to Café Vitaly with friends for extra-strong doses of coffee or the best sorbet and gelato around. Strolling on the beach, walking back from the Durty Nelly’s after party, and seeing some unusual trees (and giant cockroaches) along the way were also good ways to “play hooky.”

Jason Rosenbaum’s Business Coaching Workshop on Contracts and Proposals

Jason Rosenbaum’s talk was surprisingly useful. As a result of hearing his talk, I’ll be changing how I word some of my proposals. For instance, no more 100% guarantees—especially if clients want to “do it themselves.” Good, solid advice.

Slide Presentations and Videos at the Speed of Light

As we watched on Twitter, the presentations started to appear online. Many presenters uploaded their talks even before the weekend was over. How awesome is that?

Food Trucks

Gourmet food trucks, with items like Coconut Risotto (A Bite Truck), Mexican food, and bacon (of course!). Worth the wait. Also the gourmet mini-cupcakes, Skittles, and gluten-free brownies.

Artwork at Cafe Vitaly

Artwork at Cafe Vitaly

Style Revisions

Derived straight from the creatives at Minecraft, WordCamp’s new direction feels somewhere between Super Mario and Flappy Birds.

The style is everywhere, from the giant mugs and t-shirts to notebooks, stickers, and buttons!

Chance Meetings

Meeting people like Justin @student_otc at one of the first talks, connecting online with @DownTownRob who met me and my friends at Durty Nelly’s. Meeting attendees and speakers while waiting in line.

Generosity and Friendliness at WordCamp Orange County

Generosity and Friendliness at WordCamp Orange County

Generosity and Friendliness

Without the volunteers and sponsors, WordCamp Orange County would not have been such a success.

Finding Work/Life Balance As a Remote Worker

Jon Brown’s  course outlined ways to stay sane while working remotely. And he was even more fun when he went off-script and discussed all the tools he uses (such as electronic devices to bring while backpacking!).

Did I Leave Anything Out?

What were your favorite moments?


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