Recent Visit to 9/11 Memorial

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Categorized: General

I recently spent a few hours in the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. Even though I thought I had watched all the documentaries, saw all the pictures, and had a really good understanding/perspective on the whole events from that horrible day until today – I learned quite a bit. I also left with a better perspective and appreciation for everything that has happened since 9/11. Here are some of the photos:

Rick Bayless’ Garden Tour

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Categorized: General

Last night we went on the Rick Bayless’ Garden Tour and it was a fantastic experience. I have a garden in our backyard as well as just started a community garden at my son’s school this past spring and learned so much from the tour! The head gardener took us through the garden, talked about harvesting, grouping plants, composting, and what/how the restaurants use everything. If you have any interest in gardening – check out this tour!

Here are some photos from the tour last night:

Great T-Shirts

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Categorized: Jappler Recommends

If you could not find a t-shirt at Despair Wear, take a look at these:"> Time to throw some non-Penn State t-shirts in the mix for me.


We Are…Resilient

Posted by: jzelazny | 4 Comments »

Categorized: People


  • able to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens
  • able to return to an original shape after being pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.

A year ago today I was getting ready to fly down to Florida to see my grandmother as we just got some good news that things were starting to look better after a long/hard surgery.

A year ago today I felt like if I could just be with her – I could give her some of my strength and love – and that would be enough to get her through all of this.

A year ago tonight was the first night my mother was able to sleep and not worry about getting “that phone call” in the middle of the night.

A year ago tomorrow – I got “the phone call” that I never wanted to get. I was very close with my grandmother and I could not imagine not talking to her or seeing her ever again. I was absolutely crushed.

The last year has been long and some days have definitely been harder than others and I still miss her every single day. Not being able to share with her everything that is going on in my life/the kids’ lives has been hard – but then small things happen – that make me feel like the luckiest person alive.

My grandmother loved raspberries. Soon after we got back from the funeral – we bought a few raspberry bushes and planted them in the back yard. Every time I ate one from the bushes – I thought of her and it made me smile.

My grandmother was also an amazing cook. I absolutely loved her homemade noodles and blackberry pie. Over the past year I have made both of those a number of times and it makes me so happy that I have her recipes, in her handwriting. Whenever I make them – it makes me feel close to her. It also gives me great joy to see my kids enjoying them just as I did.

Not only an amazing cook – she was also a world class card player and my euchre partner at our annual family reunion. After she died, I did not know how I would ever play again – but I did this past July. Ken and I took home the trophy – which is such an honor in our family.

About two weeks ago I picked up my 3 year old twins at pre-school and while walking back to the car I squeezed his hand…and a few seconds, he squeezed mine back. While I did not realize it as I did it first – it was something she used to do with me when I was little. I almost cried at first – but then I ended up smiling.

These little things give me great comfort. I know her memory will live on and even though I know there are others with me that were not sure how we would go on – we did…and together we are resilient.

I miss you Gaga!


Posted by: jzelazny | No Comments »

Categorized: General

Sometimes you just need a new t-shirt…

Find Largest Files (UNIX)

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Categorized: HOWTOs

Ever need to find which files are taking up the most room on your server in a particular directory?
If so – you can easily find the largest files by running the following command:

find -type f | xargs -I{} du -s "{}" | sort -rn | head -10 | cut -f2 | xargs -I{} du -sh "{}"

* You set the number of files you want to see by changing the number where I used 10.

Challenge Yourself Workout

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Categorized: General

Both in work and life – it is best to keep things simple. You do not need a fancy gym with expensive equipment to get in great shape! Here is a great workout I did recently with simple moves – but will surely challenge you.

This is a workout meant to make you focus on time and quality of your movement (so you do not injure yourself). It is best done once every x weeks/months to see if you are improving your endurance.

This is a 26, 20, 16, 10 workout (reps) which consists of 2-3 rounds.

Round 1:
26 Squat jumps
26 Burpees
26 Renegade rows (with dumbbells)
26 Kettlebell swings
26 Tire jumps (jumping on a large tire/steps/whatever you have)
26 Full sit ups

20 Squat jumps
20 Burpees
20 Renegade rows (with dumbbells)
20 Kettlebell swings
20 Tire jumps (jumping on a large tire/steps/whatever you have)
20 Full sit ups

16 Squat jumps
16 Burpees
16 Renegade rows (with dumbbells)
16 Kettlebell swings
16 Tire jumps (jumping on a large tire/steps/whatever you have)
16 Full sit ups

10 Squat jumps
10 Burpees
10 Renegade rows (with dumbbells)
10 Kettlebell swings
10 Tire jumps (jumping on a large tire/steps/whatever you have)
10 Full sit ups

BREAK – round 1 is over…now repeat for round 2 and round 3.

Time the entire thing (round 1 + round 2 + round 3) – so the time to beat is the total time it takes to do 3 rounds – not just one round.

Where did I learn about this? We do these sorts of workouts all the time at Lionize Training Center

Install Varnish in Under 5 Minutes With Bitnami

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Categorized: Hosting, Jappler Recommends, Web Development

If you have been following my posts for the last month (or talked to me about what I have been up to recently) you will not be surprised I have another post about the ease of use/awesome documentation when using Bitnami.

I still am 100% impressed with the documentation – as each example I have followed has worked flawlessly (not something I can say much…especially after spending an evening trying to fix my PS3 vs. play it a few nights ago).

What is Varnish?

Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator also known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. You install it in front of any server that speaks HTTP and configure it to cache the contents. Varnish Cache is really, really fast. It typically speeds up delivery with a factor of 300 – 1000x, depending on your architecture.


Where is this amazing 5 minute install documentation?
Bitnami Varnish Installation

Seriously…check it out!

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A Lesson in Customer Service

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Categorized: Business

For the last three months I have been dealing with a company (to remain nameless) in which I have received a faulty product. When dealing with the local option without any satisfaction or respect – I decided it was time to call the corporate office. As soon as I did – I felt like someone was actually listening and willing to make the horrible situation right by me.

At the end of the day – even though this has been an ordeal I hope I never have to go through again, I have learned a lot both as a consumer and business owner.

As a customer I kept calm while talking to everyone and tried to work towards a solution. I focused on giving the respect I would like if I was on the other side – while making my case very clear. Having everything well documented (dates, times, issues, etc) made it easy to stick on the issue itself and not my feelings. Facts speak louder than yelling.

As a business owner – I realized the importance of customer service, quality, and giving my best for every task at hand. Customers appreciate and expect the best and as a business, I need to bring it with everything we put out. No exceptions and no excuses. When things go awry, and they will at some point or another, it is then very important to then not only make sure it does not happen again, but also to focus on how we make the situation right. Making things right can be the difference in a lost customer vs. a loyal customer (as well as future customers).

While I am not excited to have spent so much time, effort, and money on this ordeal, I walk away with a few things to think about and hopefully that will make me a better person and business owner.

Bitnami Applications: Test Drive Applications

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Categorized: Jappler Recommends

Ever curious how something like Redmine, DreamFactory, or a number of other tools, content management systems, etc looked like/worked? If you did – but did not have the time to download the code, configure your server, etc – Bitnami to the rescue (again!).

Within minutes, you can have a server up and running with everything you need, configured and ready to go with in a few painless steps:

  1. View a list of applications available:
  2. Select an application you want to test drive
  3. Launch a free server instance
  4. Check it out for an hour, and the decide if the application suits your needs.

If the application is what you need – you can easily install it using Bitnami. If it is not what you were looking for – the demo will expire and you can try something else. Either way – it makes test driving applications painless.

Save yourself time and frustration and just check it out already!