Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

(this blog is) Only Mostly Dead

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 15:13 -- rprice

Updates: worked at, had a baby, started as a contractor for Red Hat. Recorded some DrupalEasy Podcasts. Went to a few DrupalCons, taught several students how to Drupal. Started setting up a wood shop in my garage, started building a crib, fixed a hole in the bathroom floor. Went to visit grandparents and friends with my wife and baby, went to a crapton of estate sales.

Took a bunch of photos, wrote a few tweets, made a few friends and connections. I am now the host of the Portland Drupal User Group, such as it is.

Our house in Florida had a fire, and we are in the middle of renovations. If you want to live near downtown Orlando, we have a great location.

We are planning on reworking the floor plan of our house in Oregon, it's currently not family-friendly. Hopefully I'll get to build some bookshelves and do some woodworking for that upgrade.

Mariah now works about 10 minutes away from the house, which means she can come home for lunch. Her last job didn't even have lunch breaks, so this is a huge huge improvement to our lifestyle.

I don't miss the weather, the politics, the bugs or the roads in Florida. I do miss the people. Some of those people are here on the West Coast now, as naturally happens. As naturally as Brownian Motion.

I still think of myself as a Tummeler, though I do less of it now there is no Urban ReThink and no Florida Creatives. (I actually got to meet Heather and Deb last year, which was really cool, now I have met all 3 including Kevin) More of my time is devoted to adventuring, discovering great things, both manmade and natural. Oregon is a great place to go on adventures.

I keep thinking I need to get back to posting here. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won't.

See ya around, Internet!

Commenting on this Blog post will be automatically closed on December 1, 2018.

Long Beans, Holy Basil and Portland

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 14:45 -- rprice

Ryan at Cannon Beach

I'm going to break my posting hiatus with a recipe, but first, a little catch-up if you haven't been following me on other media:

In January, we packed up the Yellow House in Orlando and prepared it to be a rental property (an expensive ante) and packed up the 2 dogs and 3 cats to move to Portland, OR. Mariah and I got engaged in June of last year and our wedding will be in Florida on January 7th, (1/7/17). We're pretty excited, and it will be an awesome Winter escape for us and our families.

Last time I wrote here, I had been working at Blink Reaction, later FFW. That job lasted for about a year and a half, and in July I took an offer from that had been extended around the time of DrupalCon, but I started in July. Between switching jobs, we were also took a 2 week trip to Italy at the same time as we were moving into a new house in Portland, in the Mt. Scott neighborhood. The house where we live now was custom-built back in the 80s, and it's full of all sorts of fun 80s-isms. It has a NuTone intercom system, a Central Vaccuum, a built-in iorning board, a Hot Tub, a Sauna (still don't understand having a sauna) and one of the most unique features, a large professional Wok in the middle of the kitchen.

A Wok.

Mariah was quoted as saying, "Once we learn how to use it, we're putting EVERYTHING in that wok! ... Dessert, Breakfast Cereal, you name it!"

There are many exciting things you get to do as a homeowner, like learning what all the switches do, getting your skylights fixed in the middle of the wettest week of the summer while you're in Italy, getting quotes for repairs, arguing with the home warranty company, the list goes on.

The most exciting thing we have done in the last month is learn to use the wok.

Step 1: clean and season the wok. It was a little corroded, and needed some help. It's very usable, but you need to keep the seasoning up, or it starts to rust.

Step 2: learn how to light and extinguish the pilot light. Turns out that if you leave the pilot on, the wok and the cover for it get very hot, because there's a flame the size of a candle burning under there all the time. Steel is a great conductor of heat.

Step 3: learn that large amounts of whole vegetables don't cook nearly as quickly, or caremalize nearly as much, as single batches of finely sliced vegetables.

Step 4: get some Peanut Oil or another oil with a high smoke point, and learn to tell when it's ready. The water drop test works pretty well if you don't have another way of telling.

Step 5: good ventilation. We had to get our range exhaust fixed. When you are working with Thai Chiles, you don't really want to breathe in the Mace that is released when you drop them in screaming hot Peanut Oil.

Step 6: don't touch your face or eyes after touching the Thai Chiles (learned this one several years ago, but it bears repeating)

Step 7: don't leave the Wok unattended, and keep the food moving. Burning your food is no fun, and there are safety reasons too.

Step 8: get some recipes that are optimized for a wok. We are really early in this journey yet, but so far we have found one really fantastic one: Holy Basil.

Step 9: find the Asian grocery stores near your house, and learn where they keep the Black Soy Sauce (much better for stir frying) and Long Beans.

Wait WTF are Long Beans?

Ryan holding Long Beans in a DrupalEasy Academy shirt

Kind of like American Green Beans or Haricots Vert, but 16 inches long. In the wok you cut them up into tiny pieces so they cook faster and have lots of surface area to caremelize and soak up the sauce.

Holy Basil

Kai Kaphrao Khai Dao / Stir Fried Chicken with Hot Basil

from Pok Pok restaurant in Portland

(If you don't like spicy food, leave the chiles out entirely. If you normally order "Medium" or "Hot", try half the amount of Chiles and adjust. You can always go hotter, but it's hard to get milder.)

(we also found a few things that speed up the prep: a) a bag of crushed dry chiles, and b) frozen minced garlic in mini ice cube trays)

2 T vegetable oil
1 lg. egg at room temp.
1 T Thai fish sauce
2 tsp. Thai black soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
11 grams peeled garlic cloves, halved lengthwise and tightly crushed into small pieces in a mortar (about 1 T)
5 ounces ground chicken
1 ounce long beans cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices (about 1/4 C) (you could easily double the amoutn of beans)
1 1/2 ounces yellow onion, thinly sliced with the grain (about 1/4 C)
6 grams (about 4 fresh) Thai chiles, preferably red, thinly sliced. (start with half this amount and adjust if you would like)
3 or 4 dried Thai chiles, friend and very coarsely crumbled (start with half this amount and adjust if you would like)
6 grams hot basil leaves (about 1 C)
Serves with jasmine rice
Heat wok over very high heat, add oil.  When it begins to smoke, crack egg and cook for about 5 seconds. Decrease heat to medium and cook egg, frequently tipping pan and basting egg, just until the white has set and turned golden at the edges and the yolk is cooked the way you like it.  Turn off heat and transfer egg to paper towels, leaving oil in wok.
Combine fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar. Stir well.
Heat wok again over very high heat.  When oil smokes lightly, add garlic, take wok off heat and let garlic sizzle, stirring often, until it light golden brown, about 30 seconds.  Put wok back on heat, then add the chicken, long beans, onions and fresh chiles.  Stir-fry and break up chicken as you do until the meat is just barely cooked through, about 1 minute.
Add the dried chiles and the fish sauce mixture (add a splash of water, if necessary, to make sure nothing is left behind in the bowl), and stir-fry until the liquid has been absorbed, 30 seconds to 1 minutes more.  Turn off the heat.
Just before you are ready to serve, turn the heat back to high and once the meat is heated through, add basil and stir until it is wilted and very fragrant, 15 seconds or so.
Serve with jasmine rice and fried egg.


And now that it's taken me over a year to write this blog post, I'll bring it to an abrupt end.


Commenting on this Blog post will be automatically closed on October 1, 2016.

Tech Talk: Podcasting

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 13:38 -- rprice

We recorded the session live!
Click here to get the slides!

I was asked by the folks at the Melrose Center to give a podacsting talk. I figure as I've been doing it for almost 10 years (officially will be 10 yrs on 12-31-2015) I have a thing or two to say about it.

Date: 4/22/2015
Start Time: 6:30 PM
End Time: 7:30 PM

 Creating, promoting, and distributing your podcast to reach a potential audience of millions is relatively easy. Podcasting is becoming more popular as many bloggers turn to internet radio shows to get their message out. Ryan Price, creator of the Bringing Art and Technology Together podcast and co-creator of the DrupalEasy podcast, will discuss the basics of podcasting.

Library: Melrose Center (Central branch, 2nd Floor)

There will be some toys, some tools, some light sound editing, some war stories about losing recordings. Stuff. There might even be beers at the end of the night.

Tech Talk Podcasting


Commenting on this Blog post will be automatically closed on May 16, 2015.


Sat, 01/03/2015 - 18:05 -- rprice

This blog post is part of a series I am titling Free Time, to help me organize my thoughts around a talk I will be giving in a few weeks.

I am a person who gets really crazy-nerdy-passionate about certain things. Once I discover said thing, I tend to want to learn as much about it as I can all at once. Then my brain invents 10 things I could do with my new knowledge, and sometimes I even start a project, make some notes, and ask someone to collaborate with me to make one of those 10 ideas come true.

In trying to prepare a talk this month, I am trying to codify the way I want collaboration to happen, and why I am such a big fan.

In the process, I discovered there is a theme: listening.

In order to be successful in Improv, you have to listen and be listened to. The same is true for many of my hobbies: music, open source software, coworking, community organizing, podcasting, and so on. Listening and sharing are my two favorite things to do - about what and with whom just depends on your passion.

You might think this means I think I am a good listener - I'm not so sure. I feel like I often come across as self-centered and like I'm not paying 100% attention to you if we are having a conversation. I do try, I just don't know how often I succeed.

I also tried to come up with a term that describes the thing that is created while you are brainstorming, improvising, code sprinting, mentoring, podcasting, discussing on a forum.

I decided on Virtuous Circle. I am looking for feedback here. Is that the right word?

On top of that, there are times when you move beyond the win-win of a Virtuous Circle and you get something even better. An example of this is when you create the Harold in Improv. These three individual sets of scenes all add their mojo together to make something even more amazing.

Keeping with the Circle as an idea, I decided to call this a Flywheel Effect. If you look up the meaning, I don't think it's a stretch, I just don't know that it's the best word I can use here. Again, I'm looking for feedback.

Finally, I said I am naming the talk Free Time - Community, Code and Creativity, but let's say I'm going to do this talk again. I'm not sure that it communicates what I am trying to.

The point of the talk is that collective action is more powerful, and that the best way to succeed is by creating a healthy feedback loop between contributors an users.

If you read Clay Shirky's Cognitive Surplus, he points out that these kinds of collective actions are now happening during the time we used to drink gin and watch TV.

I guess if you look at the title of Cognitive Surplus, he points out the resource that our free time exposes. Maybe that is a good thing to focus on.

Any thoughts?


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The Job Hunt

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 10:36 -- rprice

This blog post is part of a series I am titling Free Time, to help me organize my thoughts around a talk I will be giving in a few weeks.

I don't know if I will ever truly wrap my head around the idea of job interviews and performance-based auditions. Because of my involvement with Fringe, I have attended some cattle-call style auditions where we the producers watched random auditions from dozens of performers for each of our respective shows. This is a little like viewing the video resume of each of these prospects, except you can ask them questions at the end, or ask them to do a stage fall or sing a few bars of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" or what have you. But that is for putting together a staged performance, where raw talent and "look" go a a long way. I was auditioning people for improv, where raw talent counts but teamwork is everything. Herein lies my core problem with one-on-one job interviews - how do you know if this person is a good team player just by speaking to them?

I have been on my own job hunt recently, and I'm proud to say I accepted a position that is exactly what I need right now. I have spent so long gazing at my own navel from a professional standpoint that I really need some time working with a team, engaging in best practices and working on much bigger projects than I could land on my own. This company is also large enough (and growing) that I hope to be able to have more than one job title during my tenure there.

Meet Blink Reaction:

Blink Reaction

Blink is a Drupal agency based in New Jersey, between Princeton and Long Branch (which is where my parents lived when I was born), and only about an hour drive from the place where my entire extended family lives. Many of their hires about 2 years ago came from Acquia, where they are now one of the most active Acquia Partners. They work with governments, record labels, higher ed, and other mega-corporations, all of whom tend to come with repeat business. Enter their large and growing team of developers, and me, who is one of the on-the-ground types.

Back to my original thread, how do you know how it is to work with someone if all you did was talk to them for an hour?

When we auditioned for The 39 Steps and CraigsLust, we had an interactive interview. It's improv. Particularly a long-form show with a relatively small cast. Seeing how they work together was of the utmost importance. We actually had 2 and 3 of these "working auditions" in order to give people a chance to play, unwind, learn to work together, or just show us how far raw talent and experience can take you. At one audition, we had a couple of ringers, and it was very tempting to cast them and say we were re-working the show to have fewer parts with stronger players. It's really hard to make that decision in the heat of the moment with all those bright shining faces looking at you. Today, I have no regrets, but I sometimes wonder "what if".

That being said, I knew I had 2 returning cast members, and I knew I could give them parts with no reservations, I had worked with them, there was a group dynamic, between each of them and me, and that comfort gives a director more room to reach farther.

Now I learn in my new job that once you assemble a team, the instinct is to keep them together from one project to the next. That's smart. Even tough you could reassemble teams each time, it helps to have the rapport, the internal audition has already taken place. It makes sense, and I wouldn't expect less of a company who has been successful thus far.

We'll see how deep the rabbit hole goes, another day. For now, I have to get back to work!


Commenting on this Blog post will be automatically closed on December 26, 2014.


One Year Away

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 15:26 -- rprice

It's been a year since I posted anything on this site. Here are a few updates:

  1. I'm looking for a full time job. I'm kind of over the freelancer's life, though there are things I love about it.
  2. I'm still podcasting, at DrupalEasy and Our Yellow House, and I would love to keep doing Bringing Art and Technology Together though I'm looking for a co-host.
  3. Urban ReThink has been closed for about a year. It feels strange still. Coworking has exploded in Orlando since then. Factur, Canvs and Catalyst
  4. We hosted a successtul show at Orlando Fringe, CraigsLUST: A Sexploration - there are some videos if you want a taste of what it was like.
  5. I've been doing pottery since about the day I wrote this post. I've made a bunch of fun stuff. Photos to follow. Some are on Flickr in this album and this album.
  6. We are nearing the next phase on The Right Service at the RIght Time.
  7. Proctors is still happening. Including the Maquee on the front of the building.

Proctors Marquee

So proud!

Commenting on this Blog post will be automatically closed on November 20, 2014.


Bringing Art and Technology Together

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 12:08 -- rprice

A few years ago, I had an idea to make the kind of conference I'd like to attend. Turns out the Art and Algorithms event in Titusville looked like a really great version, but I didn't get the chance to check it out. When I go to BarCamps and other similar events, I often advise people to decide on their mission, and who their audience is before they start a new project, so here is my shot at it:

BATT Mission

BATT[south] because maybe there would be other regional events...?

Another thing I am always advising people to do is to become the expert. If you think there is an audience who will appreciate some product or service you want to make, then one way to locate them is to start a blog, a podcast, a pinterest board, a delicious feed, etc related to that subject. My default mode is a podcast, so I recruited a good friend of mine, Kathryn Neel AKA the Resident Wizard at Urban ReThink, to co-host the show with me.

We just published our 5th episode, which is a round-up of 5 quick interviews I did at the 2nd Orlando Mini Maker Faire. It's a very inspiring event and something I would not miss, and Kathryn missed a lot of it, as she was working, so I think it was a good conversation.

BATT Podcast 4: Orlando Mini Maker Faire

Download MP3
Download OGG

We have a good start here, and a couple of people supporting us and asking for more would encourage us to keep it going.

I'd also love to organize an unconference along this theme, so let me know if you have ideas there as well.


Commenting on this Blog post will be automatically closed on November 20, 2013.

Calendars for All Occasions - my 2013 Florida DrupalCamp talk

Fri, 10/04/2013 - 18:25 -- rprice

Back in April we had our 5th Florida DrupalCamp, which was a really awesome event organized by a huge team of volunteers. I had a talk about putting Calendar information in Drupal, which is kind of my thing.

I actually started with some Q&A, which is a Tummeler's way of doing it. I tried to speak to a pretty low common denominator, and I really appreciate that someone was able to record and upload these.

I als have slides from this presentation on SlideShare:


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Getting a Web Slideshow Kiosk on the lobby TV

Fri, 08/02/2013 - 10:51 -- rprice

Chromecast is a new invention by the boys down in Google R&D (think of saying that in an old timey radio announcer vocie). It'll revolutionize the intertelevisiontubes!

For quite some time now I've had an interest in kiosks that show event information from my big clients' website on a television. They are a big performing arts center and they have all of this great event information in their website. With "Proctors TV" we let them push pictures, videos, and sponsored advertising slides to 3 forty-or-fifty-inch screens in the lobby of their building. They can also run the slideshow on a big projector in their atrium. This has been a great tool for them, and much easier than baking out a video to a DVD or updating a crazy powerpoint slideshow, because it can update itself as events end and sell out, and the web master only has to make sure the information is up-to-date and accurate.

Untitled 012220101039 012220101036

Originally, we used a Mac Mini in the server closet hooked up to a rasterizer box that would allow them to add the Proctors TV signal to their CCTV signal inside the building. Channel 1 shows what's happening back stage, Channel 2 shows the hallway to the dressing rooms, etc but one channel is dedicated to Proctors TV. This means all the TVs must show the same signal, but it's a really cool system.

TV in front of McKnight Hall

Now another client is asking for a similar system, but they have multiple venues, and they really only want a few items pertaining to the local venue, not every event at all 12+ venues. The challenge becomes outfitting 10 or 12 of these TV displays on a bit of a budget. I've been researching different hardware options that will cheaply drive a display, and in my opinion the Logitech Revue or the VIZIO Co-Star Google TV boxes are a really great option - especially because they run stand-alone, they can be plugged in to Ethernet, and they come with their own hardware keyboard for typing web addresses.

In the Google TV box, the web browser is the #1 feature that had been setting it apart from devices like the AppleTV and the Roku - neither of which is capable of running a simple web page, stand-alone, without my device having to be in the room at the same time.

However, at the Coworking space, we often hold videoconferences in addition to the slide show functionality, and there was not a fantastic way to get a video chat onto the big screen (let alone the projector) until now. We also thought about mounting a projector in the ceiling in the conference room, but then the question always became how to get content up there without an unsightly umbilical cord of wires coming out of the sky, as our conference room setup didn't really have a good place to run wires to the wall. The Chromecast comes to the rescue!

The big question became how to get a video chat on to the Chromecast - that meant it had to be browser-based. Any desktop computer running Chrome and the GoogleCast plugin could send the contents of a tab to the TV, but when we tried to launch a Google Hanout, it openend in a new window, and the button for Chromecast didn't appear. 

I realized Web RTC would probably do the trick, as long as I only wanted to talk to one other person. We found a WebRTC demo on Google App Engine that was very promising, but Hangouts just has so many more features...

After asking the smart folks of the Internet, a gentleman named Tom suggested another Chrome plugin called Join Tabs that combined all your open windows, which re-started the hangout, but brought it in to the main window where the Chromecast button appears.

Not that these videos are the best made on the planet, but hopefully it gets the idea across that you can use the Chromecast and the Google Cast technology to create the all-in-one TV magic kiosk you've been praying for with a dumb TV, a few Chrome extensions and $35 for an HDMI stick.

I also want to plug a game in the Chrome store called Crimson: Steam Pirates that plays pretty well over the TV. The lag is too great to play only on the TV, but the interesting thing was that the sound only played back from the TV speakers as opposed to on both the browser and the TV. I had fun showing off this turn-based game to some friends while we explored the capabilities of the Chromecast.

If you consider that Google is touting the Chromebook Pixel as the only laptop most people need, I would say that a Chromecast stick should come standard with every unit they sell now.


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Flying Through the Air Like Invisible Frisbees

Fri, 05/10/2013 - 17:04 -- rprice

The title of this post is a quote from Brad Kuhn, the author of an article about Craig Ustler, the Creative Village, and Urban ReThink. I found the line so nonsensically entertaining that I decided my next endeavor would pay homage to his coined phrase. The invisible frisbee in his article was referring to e-commerce. Is there any commerce today that is not e-commerce on some level?

Anyway, I took the phrase and eventually made it my own. For me the Invisible Frisbee is inspiration. The way that it gets passed along, often unintentionally.

I have not posted on this blog since November because I've been a busy beaver, working on my first-ever theatrical production, an improvised show based on the book The 39 Steps.

The idea came to me when two slow hunches rubbed against each other (to use Stephen Johnson's phraseology) to form a new baby, the semi-scripted, semi-improvised version of this classic spy story, where we have a different lead actor every night, and Richard Hannay's journey takes him to a different place for the same unknown reason - chasing the MacGuffin.

I have been documenting this process in some detail in two places:

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen either or both of these mentioned. We have recorded a new episode of BATT IDEAS that should be coming out any day now that I'm sure goes toward a similar end.

If you're near Orlando in the last 2 weeks of May, I highly encourage you to attend as much of the Orlando Fringe Festival as you can. Specifically, my show, The 39 Steps is playing seven times throughout the fesival, we are having a Florida Creatives Happy Hour Wednesday May 22nd, and I will be participating in a Pecha Kucha Night during Fringe on Thursday May 23rd.


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