Tying Up Loose Ends for 2017

“I’m not one for end of the year posts,” he says as he writes an end of the year post. But I wanted to take advantage of this blog genre to clear the decks for 2018. What do I mean? Well, I have a bunch of posts I wanted to write in 2017 but never got around to them for one reason or another. So, this post will be a long, rambling exercise in exorcising my blog demons from 2017 and starting fresh in the new year. I’ll take this in bits:

Reclaim Hosting

Scene from the Reclaim trip to NYC in November.  Image credit: Meredith Fierro

2017 was another awesome year for Reclaim Hosting. The thing that stood out for me was that we were able to grow gracefully and build capacity. We went to four full-time employees with the hiring of Meredith in September, and I feel like we are really hitting our stride for 2018 as a team. This year saw the opening of CoWork (a.k.a. Reclaim Hosting’s HQ) in Fredericksburg this past May, which seems much longer ago than that.

Tim and Lauren opening CoWork

We also ran a really fun conference.


Martha Burtis killing the keynote at Domains 17. Image credit: Bionicteaching


Party like it is 2006 with the great Jon Udell at Domains17. Image credit: Bionicteaching

And despite all that, we have remained solid financially without depending on outside investment, and this is something I’m grateful for in the wake of the terrible, unexpected news of the sudden shutdown of the New Media Consortium.

For us 2018 will be about having some fun watching video kill the radio star with ReclaimVideo, and continuing to do what we do best: support faculty and students getting up and running with web hosting. There are no foreseeable price increases on the table for 2018, and things are looking good all around. I think the one thing I want to do for Reclaim in 2018 is blog more about the details. Feature more work from the various schools, talk more about how we work as a team, and share more quotidian details. That said it has been a great year, and I thank my lucky stars every day for Reclaim.


I actually split this section out into its own post given I realized I missed the bava’s 12th birthday. Lucky 12.


I blogged here and there about my new found interest of daily hiking here in Trento. That has been an ongoing love affair in 2017, and while I missed the coveted 10,000 steps average for each and every day of 2017, I did finish with a pretty strong average of 3.9 miles or 9126 steps every damn day, while climbing on average 28 flights of stairs. The last bit is amazing to me, and I got deeper into hiking after snowboarding for the first time in 20 years this past February and realizing I need to get my shit in better shape. I’ll be heading back to the mountains tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see how (and if) this labor paid off. Although, regardless of snowboarding, I quickly became sold on hiking for the temporary break it provides from work and all the other crap that can creep into daily life. Plus, the malga food and the scenery have quickly become reasons enough…

Lunch with a View

Car Sharing

Yeah, this was kind of a small but significant thing for me this year. I only blogged about it once because I’m not sure how much you can say about car sharing, but it contributed greatly to my attempt to get into shape. We remained carless in 2017, and that meant we walked a ton more than we would have otherwise—which has been the greatest benefit of car sharing bar none.

That said, the financials are also in for 2017 , and the way I figure it we spent half of what we would have if we owned a car. It cost us on average 169€ for car sharing each month, which includes gas and insurance. That’s a grand total of 2028€ per year. That is about half of what we would have paid to buy a new car and pay for gas and insurance. Even a fairly modest car loan of $225/month and another $100 for gas and $75 for insurance puts you at $400, which is about 340€. It’s good for you, for the environment, and it saves money—who is better than me?


I don’t even know where to start, and this section is why I wanted to write this post to begin with. I traveled a lot in 2017, but unfortunately I did not blog a lot of it. That pains me cause I had a lot of fun adventures with some great people, so this will serve as a cleansing of my bad travel blogging during 2017. I’ll point to some of them here with the limp promise to blog them in more detail sometime next year, although get ready to be disappointed dear reader (womp womp).

Fredericksburg: I spent almost 3 weeks of January back in Fredericksburg communing with Tim and working on the new office:

Foundry back office under construction

Alternative view of Foundry Back Office

Foundry Back Office

Vintage Phone Booth

I also got to check out a few excellent films at the Library of Congress, Packard Campus:

Library of Congress, Packard Campus

Blackboard Jungle at LOC Packard

Cabaret at LOC

Terminator at LOC

Terminator slide from LOC Packard pre-movie show

Long Island: During my trip to Virginia I was able to head up to Long Island for a few days and visit with my family there. I got this shot of my dad at diner in Wantagh that captures him pretty well. Alive and kicking at 80, a new record for the Groom family?

Dear Old Dad

And on the way out of the USA I got to see some of the blowback from the Muslim travel ban at Dulles Airport:

Sweden: After the trip to the US I had a pretty short turn around in Trento before I was heading to Karlstad University in Sweden to run a workshop with the great Tom Woodward. Our most gracious host Jörg Pareigis was wonderful, and we started work that week that we are still working on together. I will blog about this in more detail during the new year given I will be taking a class or two that they will be running as part of their open, online course initiative.

Tom in Sweden

Karlstad University

Tom and Jörg

Snow in Sweden


Image credit: “f2f” by Bionicteaching

Ireland: In late March I was back on the road to Ireland and after that England for OER17. I actually had a one night layover in London before heading to Dublin, and I was able to catch a lecture  about and a film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, which was a total treat.

Fassbinder at the BFI

Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Wunderkind, Iconoclast, Star

After that I flew to Dublin and spent the night. I took in a great exhibit “Humans Need Not Apply” and even had Beckett and Joyce sightings, kind of.

Trinity University Campus

Samuel Beckett Theatre

Humans Need Not Apply

Joyce Sighting in Dublin

Next day I drove to Cork to give a presentation at University College Cork, which was gorgeous.

University College Cork

University College Cork

University College Cork

After Cork I drove through the Highlands of Kerry, which was gorgeous (gorgeous is a common thread in Ireland):




And then I spent the might on the Atlantic Ocean just outside of Waterville:





After that it was a long drive up the coast to Galway for another workshop at NUI Galway thanks to the great Catherine Cronin.

Ireland's Gorgeous Coast

Ireland was brilliant, and while I only had a few days, what I saw blew me away. After that, it was back to Dublin to fly back to London for OER17. It was a great conference, and a good sign of that was that I was so locked in I have no photos to speak of.  After that I went to Coventry University with Brian Lamb, Audrey Watters, Kate Green, and Christian Friedrich for a series of small talks and discussions, which was a lot of fun. 

New Zealand: After Ireland and the UK I had about 3 weeks back at home before Antonella and I headed to New Zealand. The trip was unbelievably awesome, and I blogged about it a couple of times at least. I went to present at THETA 2017 thanks to the ever awesome Nigel Robertson, and Antonella and I made a trip of the rest of it—I loved New Zealand.

Milford Sound #4life

VA/OKC/Route66/LA/San Diego: This was another epic 3 week trip that took most of June. It started at the Reclaim offices for two days in early June, then we went to Oklahoma City to run the Domains 17 conference (I saw so any awesome people over that 3 days it would be impossible to list them all here), and after that Mikhail and I hit Route 66 all the way to Los Angeles. It was a lot of fun:



Cadillac Ranch

Groom, TX

Crystal coloring of petrified wood

Sunset outside Kingman, Arizona

Hoover Dam (1931-1935)

Dam face II


Lakeview of Downtown

Echo Park Lake Selfie


The Museum of Jurassic Technology

After we made it to LA and I spent a few days with my favorite Angelinos, then headed south to San Diego for my niece’s college graduation (but first a stop at Banana Dang in Oceanside to visit an old friend):

Me and Mario

La Jolla Shores

Happy Father's Day

Billy, Cullen, and Hayley

La Jolla was awesome, I got some In and Out on the way back to Los Angeles, and after that it was back to Italy. 

Sardegna: Literally two days later the entire family was off to Sardegna for a beach stay. It was my first time, and I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Sardegna 2017

Australia:And if the year wasn’t rich enough already, I was invited to Melbourne, Australia by Deakin University to talk about WordPress and Domains. It’s where I saw the light of  SPLOTs in their full glory, and also got to enjoy a memorable Saturday touring Melbourne


After a week in Melbourne I headed up to Wagga Wagga for a presentation at Charles Sturt University and a very pleasant stay with the great Tim Klapdor. I even got to see my first kangaroos in the wild on CSU’s campus:

Kangaroos on CSU Campus

Sharing a selfie in Wagga Wagga

I am realizing I have a ton of photos from this portion of the trip still waiting to be published on Flickr. Maybe I’ll finally get around to setting them free in 2018.

Rome: Not long after Australia, the whole family took a trip to Rome with the Owens family (Tim, Emalee, and Sid). I have a ton of photos from this trip still waiting to go public, but a few of the highlights from this trip were finally getting to see the Vatican Museum:

Roma S. Pietro

Caravaggio in the Vatican

Raphael's School of Athens

Rome’s Forum:

Rome's Forum

Bernini’s Ecstasy of San Teresa:

Bernini's The Ecstasies of Santa Teresa

Another Caravaggio:

The Calling of St Matthew (Caravaggio)

The Calling of St Matthew (Caravaggio)

Rome in August was a bit hot to start, but it cooled off after a day or so and the town was empty as everyone was heading out for vacation—as the Italians do.

I wrote about the presentation I gave with Brian Lamb in Barcelona to an empty room (save the other presenters). And I have to say this whole experience was a ton of fun. They actually published a video of the talk:

And to my great delight, Audrey Watters even gave the papers we wrote for this conference a nod in her massive end-of-the-year awesomeness. Spending time with Brian is precious to me, and we made the most out of our short time together. He took this shot of me in that beautiful and relatively placid city just a few days after Catalonia’s vote to leave Spain. It’s my favorite photo anyone has taken of me in a long while, and not just because of the shirt. It reflects pretty much how I feel these days, but I may be beaming more than usual given the company.

Dead MOOCMen in Barca

VA/NYC: And the final trip was another jaunt back to Virginia for a Domains Workshop (which was awesome) and a Reclaim team trip to NYC (mentioned above) as well as a trip to Colgate University and a final bounce back to Long Island. And with that my travel would come to a close for 2017.


The other 9 months I was not traveling I was home entertaining guests from abroad (there were a few), blogging on the couch, and basically haunting my family. The single best thing about my life since leaving the States has been the possibility of spending more time with Antonella and the kids than ever before. On a personal level, that has been the very best part of an amazing year.

bava famiglia

But I’ll stop there, cause this post is already too long and I need to go snowboard some mountains in Alto Adige.

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3 Responses to Tying Up Loose Ends for 2017

  1. Pretty epic summary of 2017, better than the Christmas cards I’ve gotten!

    Can we somehow create a Media Burn event to launch Reclaim Video? A call to destroy the past while at the same time building a nostalgic cocoon.

    And huge fan of Caravaggio, he was my “long dead artist” for a demo site I built with my students last spring as part of our web design class. I think his work must be the primary inspiration for the accidental renaissance subreddit.

  2. Reverend says:


    That MediaBurn video is new to me, thanks for that. I think we can arrange something along those lines, but simply with a pyramid of VHS tapes 🙂 I like the idea of a nostalgic cocoon with all the trappings of the current web. Like we discussed already, a space where you can interact with the video store through the browser-determine the movie, change channels, etc. And you are full of wonders, that Caravaggio site is gorgeous, and now I have to see the Salome with the Head of John the Baptist. There is currently a Caravaggio exhibit running in Milan, but not sure Salome will be there. I’ll let you know, also we need to talk about Reclaim Video art, we need to kick off something soon.

    • Media Burn came to mind after seeing your visit with Mikhail to the Cadillac Ranch, the Ant Farm collective made them both.

      We could have a virtual tower similar to what John Zobele did with my TVs. Do some CG placement of the tower in real life and ReclaimVideo branding playing in all of them. And of course some video killed the radio star pyrotechnics too!

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