BarCamp

Introducing BarCamp Palm Beach – Monday the 18th of November

 

This your official invitation to join us at West Palm Beach’s very first BarCamp which will be held on Monday, November 18th in Downtown West Palm Beach!

Get your TICKETS here!

 

BarCamp

BarCamp West Palm will be held along-side Startup Weekend which will run from Friday the 15th of November till Sunday the 18th. BarCamp will be the first event in West Palm Beach’s Entrepreneur Week event.

What is a BarCamp?

To put it simply BarCamp is an ad-hoc unconference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an open and self-organized event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees.

A Brief History of BarCamp?

To understand the BarCamp concept, we will need to go back a couple of years to the early 2000′s. It all started with another event called “Foocamp”.

FooCamp is an annual event that stands for Friends Of O’Reilly. It is the ultimate in exclusive  conferences & each year technology book publisher and conference producer Tim O’Reilly hand-picks 400 of the people who he considers the smartest and most influential people in technology that year. Part of the attraction of Foocamp is that bringing technology into the event is frowned upon. Often a remote location is chosen & for a week out of the year, the most influential people in technology “go dark” and instead of using technology they spend their time interacting with influential people on a personal level.

This list of who has gone to FooCamp is a Who’s Who of the technology, entrepreneurial world.

After the first couple years, a couple people who were not invited got together and decided to run a conference which along-side FooCamp which instead of being exclusive was completely open. Since the nonsense and unexplainable term “foobar” has a solid spot in technology lore, when deciding what to name a camp which was the opposite of FooCamp, the answer was obvious: BarCamp.

Since the first BarCamp in 2005, every major technical conference has had a user-organized Barcamp which is open for anyone to join, present and discuss whatever they desire.

No Spectators, only Participants: how a BarCamp works

At a BarCamp attendees come to participate. Everyone who comes is encouraged to put together a 10-15 minute presentation on any topic they want.

The organizers will provide several different rooms where discussions will be held on different topics. All the topics are organized on a “Big Board” at the beginning of the event, and through out the event attendees are encouraged to move from room to room if they want so that they can take in & learn as much as possible from the event.

Rules of BarCamp

I found a page where they discuss the “Rules of BarCamp”, I didn’t like them, so I made up my own.

1st Rule: You do talk about BarCamp.
2nd Rule: You do blog/tweet/facebook/pinterest about BarCamp.
3rd Rule: You bring friends to BarCamp, everyone (even non-technical friends) can learn!
4th Rule: No Tourists, only Participants!
5th Rule: Everyone has something to say: If you want to present, write your name & topic in a presentation slot.
6th Rule: We will have as many presentations at a time as facilities allow for.

We NEED Sponsors!

While this event will be fairly cheap to run, we will need sponsors to help out with some of the underlying costs. Please email me (awormus@gmail.com) if you are interested in helping out, I will send out a list of opportunities later in the week.

More information is coming soon!

Please LIKE BarCamp Palm Beach on Facebook we will push out more information as soon as it becomes available!

There will be more information including an RSVP page. If you want to get involved in the organisation of BarCamp, please join us at Roxy’s Pub on 11/4/2013 (that’s today) at 6:30 for WebMonday!

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My top 5 Beaches in Palm Beach County

Saying that Florida has lots of beaches would be the understatement of the century. With over 1,200 miles of coastline, and 825 miles of beaches all you need to do is drive east or west and you’ll run into a beautiful beach.

As a family we enjoy going to the beach, and while our choices are many, we end up just hitting up a handful of beaches that are closest to us & have the amenities that we our little family needs. Here they are in no particular order.

1. Ocean Reef Park

You will find the Wormus family out at Ocean Reef park on days when the water is calm. One of the great draws is the park’s namesake: a beautiful reef that sits about 100 feet in the ocean. During low tide the reef sticks out of the water, but at high tide it will be a foot or two beneath the water.  At the east side the reef sticks up about 15-20 feet above the ocean floor making it a great place to view all the pretty little reef fish that live in it.

On rough days the reef is not swimable and in my opinion due to the sharp rocks can be quite dangerous.

Best enjoyed on a Calm Day

Ocean Reef Park is best enjoyed on a Calm Day

Snorkling at Ocean Reef Park

Greeting all the reef fish at Ocean Reef Park

Ocean Reef park is on Singer Island just off of Riviera beach. There are always lots of FREE parking spaces and the showers are close to the beach.  Because this beach is a little further north of the Singer Island beach there are fewer people on it and it is generally quieter. Having said that, on a beautiful day it can get quite full.

2. John D. Mac Arthur State Park

John D. MacArthur State Park is probably my favorite Beach in Palm Beach County.  You will find us there when we want to spend a “day at the beach”.

The 800 acres of land was deeded to the State by John D. MacArthur, who also founded the city of Palm Beach Gardens. The park includes a 535 acre tidal estuary and a 1600ft boardwalk that crosses the estuary and leads you to the beach. The park also provides a boat launch for canoes/kayaks as well as a nature center & a complementary shuttle that takes visitors across the boardwalk.

1600 Ft Boardwalk at MacArthur State Park

Due to the relative remoteness of the beach, only the most die-hard beach goers will make the trek. This means that once you reach the beach you’re rewarded with a beautiful & quiet beach experience.

The snorkling is great, and alongside the regular reef fish, we see lots of sting-rays, sand sharks, baracudas, and if we’re lucky a eel or horseshoe crab. Since this is an unguarded beach, dive flags are mandatory.

Stingray at McArthur Park

3.  Lake Worth Beach

The Lake Worth Beach is just at the end of South Palm Beach & is our g0-to-beach for shorter beach trips. It’s accessible and clean, with nice showers and easy to access rest-rooms.

Lake Worth Beach on a quiet day

The crumbling old “Lake Worth Casino”, which has nothing to do with gambling, was recently replaced with a beautiful new waterfront building. The new casino includes a bike trail, shops, restaurants, a great ice-cream parlor as well as a second floor with a event pavilion with panoramic views of the beach which is used for weddings and other functions.

The new Lake Worth Casino at Lake Worth Beach

While there is a lot of parking available, if it’s a nice day you may have a hard time finding a spot. Also at $4/hour a day trip can get expensive quickly.

Hands Across the Sands Event at the Lake Worth Beach

 

4. Palm Beach

Palm Beach is exactly what it sounds like, one continues beach stretching from the north side of the island to the Lake Worth Beach.

The problem with Palm Beach is that the town has made it as difficult as possible to access this beautiful beach. To keep the beaches “private” they heavily restrict parking, lifeguards and amenities to a very small public beach in the center of the island.

The Long beautiful beaches of Palm Beach

If you want to enjoy the beaches at the north end of the island you’ll either need to have to make friends with someone who has parking on the island or walk / bike to the beach. Having said that, the return on your trek/bike ride are very rewarding as you’ll find some of the most beautiful and untouched beaches on the north end of the island.

The Palm Beach Shore

When you are able to access the beach, you’ll find beautiful reefs just a couple hundred feet into the ocean, definitely accessible for the intermediate & determined snorkler. Just remember to take your dive flag as there are lots of boats and Jet Ski’s cruising off the coast.

A Goofy Puffer Fish hiding under the reef

5. Boynton Beach Public Beach

I just “discovered” the quaint little Boynton Beach Public Beach a few months ago, after being invited to a birthday party in one of the pavilions. The reason why I mention this beach in this list is because I was surprised at how empty it is.

Great quiet beach for a birthday PARTY!

Great quiet beach for a birthday PARTY!

You’ve got quiet stretches of beach, nice bathrooms and showers and for a $5 parking fee you’ll be able to park all day long and enjoy this cute little beach.

The quiet Boynton Beach Public Beach

 Honorary Mention: My own Summa Beach

When talking about beaches I go to, I have to mention the ONLY beach in West Palm Beach, tucked in the south end of the City of West Palm Beach is the quiet intracoastal “Summa Beach”.

Summa Beach, quiet in the morning

While I wouldn’t recommend swimming in this portion of the intracoastal waterway, it does make a beautiful place to come and watch the sun rise in the morning or take our dog Pixel for a little run. A big thanks to the South End Neighborhood Association who’s semi-annual beach clean-ups help keep the beach clean.

 

 

What are your favorite beaches?

Comment below and let me know!

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City of West Palm Beach Chili Cookoff

Hey, it’s the WEEKEND and also Day 2 of the Social Media Club South Florida’s 30-day blogging challenge.

Yesterday the City of West Palm Beach held their Annual Chili Cookoff! It’s a cool event where each department within the city cooks up their best chili, works hard to decorate their area, and win one of the many coveted prizes presented by the distinguished judges. As we found out, it is a very competitive competition.

The "Distinguished Judges" with Chris Roog getting ready to try the ORGANIC chili from the Mayor's office.

The “Distinguished Judges” with Chris Roog getting ready to try the ORGANIC chili from the Mayor’s office.

This year the judges were (from left to right in the above picture) Ginger Gowing of Ginger’s Dance Party fame, local foodie Samantha Timmerman, local writer/party animal DowntownDana, and yours truly. It was my second year as a judge and Ginger’s fifth. The goal was to try each of the 10+ chilis and then grade each on a scale of 1 to 5.

Let’s get this party started!

We were chaperoned by our Deputy City Administrator Dorritt Miller who made sure that the judges stayed honest and that we always had a fresh set of cups and spoons (thank you).

Keep that outfit clean!!!

Keep that outfit clean!!!

The fire department and their fantastic chili held what I’m going to go ahead and call the “Chili Cup”, seen on the right in the picture above. Not only was their chili great, but they pulled out all the stops to win over the judges favor including having one of their fire fighters serve, as Ginger put it, “all the girls except for Aaron”. The Fire department did not win.

Open Wide

Then the fire department let DowntownDana try on the helmet and hold the ax, which hampered her ability to feed herself and forced Ginger to help. Yes, it got a bit weird.

Tasting the City Engineering Dept. Chili

Being foodies, DowntownDana and Samantha took the judging very seriously. Here they are having a side-bar discussion how the engineering department’s choice to have a honey and spicy chili brought out the delicate tones of cinnamon which danced on their sensitive taste buds.

The horses made noise

The West Palm Beach Parks and Recreation department not only takes care of our great parks, but also produces many of our award-winning events such as Fourth on Flagler and Clematis by Night . They are extremely creative an won the “Most Creative” chili award.

Congresswoman Lois Frankel checking out the Chili Cookoff

At this point in the party Congresswoman and former West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel stopped by to make sure everything was under control.

Most Authentic Chili

After an “energetic” discussion among the judges it was time to hand out the awards. My personal favorite was the Cincinnati style chili cooked up by Jeff Green, our current Finance Director who will take on the roll as City Administrator on November 11th. The finance department won the award for “Most Authentic Chili”.

Now I’m craving Skyline Chili!

Grand Prize goes to the West Palm Beach Police Department

The winner of the grand prize was the Police Department who mixed things up this year with a Caribbean style chili, mixing the traditional spicy chili with some jerk flavors. Very nice!

Of course, the real story that everyone walked away talking about is why on earth Ginger decided to wear all white to a Chili Cookout and how she actually managed to keep it completely spotless through the entire process.

You can check out all the pictures here (this will actually be a link once I upload the other pictures).

It’s November, and I’m Starting the 30-Day Blogging Challenge!

 

Dear Diary,

Just kidding! This is not that type of blog. Well it might be; I haven’t really thought about this being a “type” of blog. I guess to describe it to the uninitiated, it’s kind of like a blog about random stuff that happens on Clematis Street, kind of like the Seinfeld of blogs. Except that instead of being in New York I’m in West Palm Beach, and instead of being a comedian I’m the CTO of a Hedge Fund company, and instead of being Jewish, I’m a Finnish/Cincinnatian who’s never been able to sit through an episode of Seinfeld.

I started this blog in 2009 while the new West Palm Beach waterfront was under construction. Walking to work every day I saw incredible changes happening, but it amazed me that nobody was talking about it. So I started posting pictures of the work, and in the years since then the blog has taken on a life of its own.

To keep things fresh, each November I like to do something crazy. My faithful readers might remember last year when I celebrated Movember with Sunman, and grew this stunning stash.

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I have no idea where the Cheetah’s cap came from … I swear!

While Movember is hard to beat, for 2013 I decided to take the South Florida Social Media 30-Day Blog Challenge. This means instead of focusing all my energy into growing my facial hair I will be writing a blog entry every day. For prolific bloggers this is probably not a big deal, but seeing that I have only written a total of about 30 blog entries over  the four years that I’ve been blogging it’s a pretty big challenge.

Sometimes I will take pictures of stuff big events like when Ozzy came downtown to be presented with the Key to West Palm Beach…

Ozzy getting the key to the city

or when a storage unit burst into flames just off Clematis Street on a Saturday night…

Fire on Olive right off Clematis Street

And other times I’ll just show up at bars and events and take pictures of the Clematis Street regulars enjoying a Happy Hour…

Alex, Slade, LeAnn, Kimberly, Brian and crew enjoying happy hour at Longboards

or when a little bit of rain won’t stop these guys from enjoying Sunfest!

Clematis Cain, Carley, Danny, Leah enjoying the rainy SunFest

As you can see, I like taking pictures. I don’t know what the pictures will be of but I know that Clematis Street will always provide unto me bloggable material.

I’m glad that you’re reading and look forward to your comments along the way. The best ways to keep in touch is via Twitter, Facebook, signing up for my weekly email list, or Following me on Pinterest (really).

That’s all for today! I hope to see you on Clematis Street!

Aaron “aGuyonClematis” Wormus

Living the life in Downtown West Palm Beach