The irony of “love wins”

I kind of love how the gay community took to using the term “Love wins” to celebrate their victory in the Supreme Court a couple of weeks ago allowing them to marry in the United States in the same way that heterosexual couples can get married.

The gay community was using the term to express that the act, existence and expression has won out as a result of the decision and that millions of people can now love equally in the eyes of the United States government.

For a long time, “love wins” has been used by Christians to indicate how the teachings of Jesus (of love, not hate) reign supreme and should govern their actions. In fact, if you’ll notice, it’s part of my tagline on this very website. I believe that Christians ought to be known by their acts of love, rather than their bible bashing, vindication or bullhorn ministry. Continue reading The irony of “love wins”

The Human Podcast: deep discussions that provoke thought and change

A few months ago, my wife sent me a link to a podcast episode, because it featured a guest that I knew and she thought I might enjoy it. His name was Justin Stumvoll and he and the two hosts Wes and Ryan spoke intelligently for an hour about men, our sexuality, the fact that we’re emotional creatures and that real masculinity is not found in bravado, but in your confidence and humility.

It was an excellent episode that really engaged me, got me thinking and more importantly wasn’t a dull repeat of oft-repeated clichés: it was out-of-the-box thinking that challenged the status quo, dared to ask the questions that people shy away from and invited discussion, disagreement and debate.

It took me listening to this episode to realise how much I miss conversation like this. I’ve discussed previously how objectivity is so absent in America and how dearly I miss it. Continue reading The Human Podcast: deep discussions that provoke thought and change

An American’s perspective on using Britain’s “Socialised medicine”

I saw this article come across my news feed the other day, and being a Brit living in America, it piqued my interest especially given my love of the NHS (that’s the National Health Service to you non-Brits).

It’s written by an American who lives in the UK and it explains his own experience of both healthcare systems.

I think you’d be hard-pushed to find an American who doesn’t believe the healthcare system is broken (though they may have quite different opinions on how it should be fixed).

On the contrary, the NHS is much-loved in the UK and is far from the third-world car-crash that many Americans perceive it to be. Continue reading An American’s perspective on using Britain’s “Socialised medicine”

Comparing films to their respective book

Creating films from books is nothing new. Since the dawn of cinema, screenwriters have taken the success of literature and used that to create cinematic masterpieces. One of the earliest films I can think of – Gone With The Wind (1939) – was adapted from a book that was published 3 years prior.

However, films are not books. They are materially different media and to make a point of comparing a film to its literary genesis is pointless. If you’re a fan of literature – creating characters in your mind and taking artistic license to join the dots in the story – then by all means continue to do so, but to expect the same experience from a film is foolish. Continue reading Comparing films to their respective book

Cider Press Cafe – high end vegan food in St Pete

After speaking at WordCamp Tampa, Marti said that we should celebrate by going to a new restaurant that we had heard about in St Pete called the Cider Press Cafe.

I knew nothing about it, except that they had options for vegans. As it turns out, the restaurant is fully vegan and raw, and caters to the higher-end of cuisine. Perfect for bringing along your 2-year old and 5-month old who hadn’t napped for most of the day (just kidding – they were, miraculously, well-behaved). Continue reading Cider Press Cafe – high end vegan food in St Pete

My experience at 2015 WordCamp Tampa

This past weekend, I attended and spoke at WordCamp Tampa. It was the second WordCamp Tampa and was my third time speaking at a WordCamp (after 2014 WordCamp Tampa and 2013 WordCamp Orlando).

The talks

The sessions were not a letdown this year. I’ve yet to be disappointed by what I learn at WordCamps. Even though I bought a ticket to attend in person, I also purchased a live streaming ticket, so that I could watch the sessions I missed after the event (you get access to the videos for 30 days after the event).

In particular, Shawn Hooper’s talk on using wp-cli (similar to his WordCamp Columbus talk) was fantastic and made me want to start using wp-cli straight away.

My own talk

This year, I submitted a talk on Creating Custom Sites with Post Types, Taxonomies and Meta, which was accepted. I knew for about 6 weeks that I needed to prepare my talk, but could just never muster the time to finish it off. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t finish my slides until 2 hours before the presentation and had no rehearsals. Continue reading My experience at 2015 WordCamp Tampa

Pope Francis: a fresh face for the Catholic church

I was raised as a Roman Catholic, though I gravitated towards atheism in my teen years and more recently back towards Christianity. Catholicism never particularly struck a chord with me as it features rituals, works and doctrines more heavily than I see necessary.

As such, I’ve often viewed Catholicism in a negative light as it seems to bind people up for the sake of tradition and money, rather than allowing people to be truly free.

Catholicism doesn’t exactly have a rosy image. It is seen as a money-hoarding, elitist, trust-breaking, abusive system stuck in the 1500s that has little care for humanity. And one can hardly blame the world for feeling that way given the stories that have come out of the organisation in the past 30 years.

Going hand-in-hand with Catholicism is the Pope himself. I’ve never thought much of the papacy but the election of Pope Francis in 2013 has changed my view of his office considerably. Continue reading Pope Francis: a fresh face for the Catholic church

Decisions, not options

Decisions, not options is a philosophy fostered in core WordPress development. It can be found on the WordPress site in the section discussing the philosophy of how WordPress should be developed. This particular point reds:

When making decisions these are the users we consider first. A great example of this consideration is software options. Every time you give a user an option, you are asking them to make a decision. When a user doesn’t care or understand the option this ultimately leads to frustration. As developers we sometimes feel that providing options for everything is a good thing, you can never have too many choices, right? Ultimately these choices end up being technical ones, choices that the average end user has no interest in. It’s our duty as developers to make smart design decisions and avoid putting the weight of technical choices on our end users.

It’s meant to make WordPress as simple as possible for the masses for removing options where 80+% of people will choose one particular option. Filters and hooks should be used to accommodate the needs of others.

When developers adhere to this philosophy, their users are content with how simple and robust the product is. The burden of deciding how the plugin/theme should work should rest with the developer, not the end user.

It would be great to see a return to plugins without settings pages and themes without color pickers for every single element on the site. To developers I say “Man up and make some decisions, while allowing users to make options with hooks and filters”.

Why we’re always apologising to our children

I think that most people would agree that it’s important for them to feel safe in their relationships by knowing that they will be treated with dignity and respect and that any wrong can be reconciled amicably. This is chiefly seen in marriages and close friendships and I don’t know why we don’t treat our children the same way.

Most people seem to think that using phrases like “because I said so” are normal and acceptable, but I question that. Such phrases imply that there’s a servant and a master, rather than a level playing field. As for me and my wife, we think that our children are little humans with feelings and ideas. While we have a responsibility to protect them from the dangers that they may face, they can make their own decisions and we try to allow them to do so at every opportunity possible. We empower them to be responsible for and to themselves. Continue reading Why we’re always apologising to our children

How to use roundabouts

Roundabouts are one of those things that just seem to baffle Americans for whatever reason. They’re simple to use and far superior to stop signs at junctions: they’re much safer and improve the throughput of traffic.

Having nearly had many fender benders on the small, single-lane roundabout near my house, I felt compelled to give a simple explanation of how to use roundabouts.

In short, give way to traffic on the roundabout. Yield signs are posted at the entrance to the roundabout, which should be treated the same as anywhere else on the roads: yield to approaching traffic. Whenever you approach the roundabout, look left (true for the US, not for the UK and other places where one drives on the left) and if the roundabout is clear, you can proceed. Continue reading How to use roundabouts

Do you mind?

“Do you mind?” is a phrase that should be removed from everyday usage I’ve decided. It’s because the response to the question and the resulting action do not match which almost always requires clarification.

Do you mind picking up some milk from the shop?


So you’ll get it?

No, I have other things to do.

Can we just agree that it’s ambiguous and there’s always a better way to ask the question?

Can you pick up some milk from the shop?


OK, I’ll get it myself.

Much better.