Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta.

The JHipster Mini-Book The JHipster Mini-Book is a guide to getting started with hip technologies today: Angular, Bootstrap, and Spring Boot. All of these frameworks are wrapped up in an easy-to-use project called JHipster.

This book shows you how to build an app with JHipster, and guides you through the plethora of tools, techniques and options you can use. Furthermore, it explains the UI and API building blocks so you understand the underpinnings of your great application.

For book updates, follow @jhipster-book on Twitter.


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Happy 40th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Today marks 40 years since my parents got married back in '72. For the past week, we've been living it up and celebrating this wondrous event in Hanalei, Kauai. We rented a house on the beach and when I'm not cranking out code for a client, we've been surfing, riding bikes and enjoying the frequent rain shower. There's no place I'd rather be or people I'd rather be with.

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Mom and Dad in Kauai

The Lanai at our Rental home :) Our family portrait ;) Our surfboard collection

To commemorate this occasion, I decided to interview them about that special day way back when.

Me: So what made you decide to propose?

Dad: Well, it was the $50 check (from her Dad). We weren't gonna get married. We knew she was pregnant. He was the last to know. Her dad came up (to the cabin) and gave me a check. I said "50 bucks, I'll marry anyone for 50 bucks!" So we got married to please the parents. I liked them both even though her mom cried when she first met me (because we were living in sin).

Me: What was your wedding like?

Mom: We went to the county courthouse. I had a nice dress. My friends, Barbie and Betsy both came. My ex-boyfriend was the Best Man (because Dad didn't know anyone in town). We went to the Justice of the Peace and the secretary gave us a look of disdain. She was dismissed for lunch by her boss. Dad had long hair and a hunting knife on his belt and got escorted out by a detective (for having a weapon) shortly after the ceremony. Then we walked across the street to the liquor store, bought a bottle of champagne and walked around the block drinking it with the wedding party. Then we got in the truck (a '52 International half-ton) and drove home. It actually made it.

Dad: It was one of the few times it made it.

Posted in General at Nov 16 2012, 03:00:52 PM MST Add a Comment

Summer Vacation 2012 in Montana and Maui

I started writing about my summer vacations in Montana as soon as this blog gave me an opportunity: July 2003. In July 2004, I didn't travel to the cabin for the 4th, but I did in 2005. Then, 5 years ago, I started writing longer blog posts about our trips. 2008 was Raible Road Trip #12. In 2009, I spent a whole month in Montana. In 2010, I visited after my parents moved there full-time. Last year, I took Trish for the first time.

I don't know what Raible Road Trip number this year's trip was, but I'm going to go ahead and assume #17. This year wasn't exactly a vacation for me. It was what I like to call a workation. I tried to take the whole month off, but my current client needed my services. As a compromise, they agreed to let me work 20 hours per week during July. While I didn't get a chance to fully unplug, I did enjoy the reduced workload and time to spend with friends and family. And the views from The Cabin and Sugar Beach weren't bad either. ;)

Below is our trip itinerary in condensed form, complete with photos from my incredibly talented fiancé.

We embarked on our drive to Montana on June 30th, stopped for fireworks in Wyoming and spent the night in Yellowstone park. Arrived at the cabin, got to sleep in the new house for the first time, built a cabin float, drove it in the parade, went boating at Holland Lake, played golf. Journeyed to West Glacier to celebrate Dr. Barton's PhD at his sister's house. Rafted the Middlefork of the Flathead all weekend. Played some more golf and went waterskiing.

Abbie at The Cabin My Dad Happy 4th! Raible Homestead in the Swan Valley Parade
Holland Lake Patio The Girls at Double Arrow Hard to believe I caused this guy to move to Montana in 1997 Holland Lake Sunset Soy Fields in Montana
→ Trish's Montana Summer 2012 Album

On July 14th, we flew to Maui and continued to explore. Our good friend's parents have a timeshare on Sugar Beach and got us a screaming deal on lodging. We had beachfront accommodations with a pool, hot tub and sauna. We played golf on my birthday (July 16th). Visited the Old Lahaina Luau, Maui Aquarium and Coconut Festival at Grand Wailea. Drove to the summit of Haleakala. Sipped cold handcrafted ales while watched the kids boogie board. Embarked on a sunset cruise, hiked in Iao Valley, did some horseback riding along the beach, sea kayaked and snorkeled with sea turtles. Savored Shawn's excellent cooking. Flew back to Missoula (Montana), slept for 6 hours and drove 12.5 hours back to Denver on July 27th.

Api, Makao and Keaka. My Hawaiin name is Pualani I'm going to call him Honu! Abbie with the Stingray Wahoo! We did it!
Sunset sail from a catamaran in Maui. Epic! Where we stayed for 2 weeks! Epic Maui Ride Kayaking with Turtles
→ Trish's Maui Summer 2012 Album

Mahalo Montana and Maui. Thank you to our awesome friends: Mom, Dad, Owen, Jason, Ryan and Shawn. It was an incredible adventure.

Posted in General at Aug 01 2012, 09:30:27 AM MDT Add a Comment

Father's Day Weekend at The Oregon Coast

For the 5-year anniversary of our Father's Day Camping Trip, we decided to mix things up a bit. My parents were in Oregon for a friend's wedding, so we decided to fly to meet them there instead of flying them to Colorado. My sister hopped on "Buttercup" (her Harley) and drove to meet us from Washington. We also invited our good friends Clint and Autumn (who you might remember from Costa Rica) and had a great time staying at Gearhart Cottages.

We didn't feel too bad about skipping camping since Trish held a "Boot Camp" with the kids and their friends at Stillwater Campground the week before. You might remember Stillwater from last year's Father's Day trip.

Trish's Uncle John drove out to the coast to meet us and we did a really fun hike along Indian Beach to Ecola State Park. It was a real treat! It was also really fun to meet Clint and Autumn's 9 month old Brodie. As usual, Trish snapped some incredible photos.

View from Ecola State Park Oregon

Raible Family on the Oregon coast Abbie and Jack frolicking in the waves Kalin and Joe on the beach

That was two weeks ago. We returned to Colorado, had some fun at ÜberConf, rocked out at a Def Leppard concert then enjoyed a few Rockies games before hopping in the car and heading to Montana. We spent the night at Roosevelt Lodge Cabins in Yellowstone and saw a plethora of buffalo, a couple bears and even a beaver while driving through.

This morning, we woke up at the cabin I was born in.

The Cabin 2012

We'll be working on my parent's retirement cabin, getting a float ready for the Swan Valley Parade and having a good ol' time with great friends for the next two weeks. After that, we're taking the kids to Hawaii for the first time.

Here's to summer vacations. I hope yours is spent with great people in beautiful places too.

Posted in General at Jul 02 2012, 09:44:00 AM MDT Add a Comment

Cruising around the Western Caribbean

I've heard great things about Disney Cruise Lines from friends, especially as a fun adventure for kids. That's why I was super pumped to talk my family into going on a Western Caribbean Cruise for Spring Break. As you might've read in my last post, we spent a week in Crested Butte before embarking on our cruise.

ShotSki Research at The Secret Stash While in Crested Butte, I enjoyed the Java Posse Roundup, but unfortunately had to do client work most of the week. However, that didn't stop James Ward, Trish and me from building a Shot-Ski and doing a 5-minute lightning talk on it. We had a great time doing research, getting locals to help us out and beta testing it with JPR attendees. I'll write a blog post on what we learned in the near future. In the meantime, you can check out Trish's Making a Shot-Ski photos.

We left Crested Butte on Thursday (March 29th) and drove back to Denver to meetup with my parents (who drove down from Montana). Friday morning we hopped on a plane and flew to Orlando, Florida and took a bus to Port Canaveral. Abbie and Jack were at their Grandma's in West Palm Beach, so Trish's parents picked them up on their drive up from Naples. We all met with near perfect timing and boarded the Disney Magic around 4 o'clock Friday afternoon.

Raible's and McGinity's welcome to our Disney Cruise!

The Joes Maureen and Abbie Leaving Port Canaveral First Dinner!

My Dad's Stateroom We were immediately impressed with our rooms (we had 3 staterooms next to each other on the 5th floor forward) and their nice portal windows. We saw dolphins jumping in Port Canaveral as we departed and witnessed a horn battle between our ship and the Disney Fantasy. The Disney Fantasy was embarking on its maiden voyage and we saw it many times throughout the trip. That evening, we ventured to the first dinner seating (at 17:45). We were pleased to find out we'd have the same servers all week, at different restaurants throughout the ship.

Key West
Saturday morning, we arrived in Key West and had from 12am-9pm to explore. We took a tour in Key West and learned a lot about the history and architecture of the town. Last time we visited Key West, I was super impressed with Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. It was fun to show it to everyone and we savored some tasty beverages at Margaritaville afterward.

Abbie on stage in Margaritaville Key West Florida Jimmy Buffet mural at Margaritaville Key West Florida

We returned to the ship for dinner that evening and enjoyed the service of Omar (our main server) and Marijah (his assistant) once again. A couple hours laster, the boys (minus Jack) returned to shore to do some bonding. We wandered about, set a match to some cigars and made it back on the ship before it departed. We spent the remainder of the evening in the ship's Sports Bar watching March Madness and talking about Trish and my upcoming wedding.

Bonding in Key West Key West Memories Bonding Night with the Queen

Sunday was a day at sea and we made the most of it. Lots of swimming, relaxing, playing with kids and enjoying each other's company. The ship had two different places that you could drop your kids off and Abbie (9) had a lot of fun attending their activities. Jack wasn't that into it and spent most of his day visiting the soft-serve ice cream machine. That evening, Trish and I journeyed to a romantic dinner at the ship's 18-and-older restaurant and celebrated our 1-year "moved in together" anniversary.

Grand Cayman
Monday, we arrived at Grand Cayman early in the morning and were ashore by 8am. We had a snorkeling expedition planned so promptly gathered and headed out to sea on a snorkeling boat. The weather was beautiful, the water was warm and snorkeling around a shipwreck was a very memorable experience.

Abbie and Jack arrive in Grand Cayman Islands Baba is excited to go snorkeling!

Barb and Joe going shipwreck snorkeling in Grand Cayman Abbie is a little nervous about the shipwreck

We visited the Hard Rock cafe to get my Dad a t-shirt, purchased some Tobago Rum Cakes and finished with a tour of the new Cayman Islands National Museum. We were back on the ship by 4 so our parents could have their own romantic dinner that evening.

Raible and McGinity dinner

Tuesday morning, we woke up in Cozumel. Trish and my parents headed to shore for some exploring while I slept in with the kids and ate at the "something for everyone" breakfast buffet. In the afternoon, we all headed to shore for a submarine ride. The submarine adventure was very cool, going down 120 ft. and even taking us to the edge of a cliff on the ocean floor. We got to see several schools of fish, loads of coral reef and even a sea turtle swimming along the bottom.

Cute Kids Submariners

Disney Double Date! Mimi and Baba Monkeys

The highlight of Cozumel was Manuel. After the submarine ride, we took a taxi to a restaurant with a great view and had a couple margaritas and some excellent steak tacos. While we were finishing up, a man walked up to us and asked if we wanted him to play us a song on his guitar. We said yes and gave him our small change ($1.75) for his serenade.

Shortly after, we got up to leave the restaurant and walk back to the ship. That's when Trish came up with a brilliant idea and asked Manuel if he'd be willing to walk with us around town and play music the whole time. She offered him $20 and he quickly agreed.

What followed was lots of laughs, smiling and dancing through the streets of Cozumel. Not only from us, but also from many of the locals. Manuel was an excellent mariachi musician and provided an exciting sense of celebration around us for the next 20 minutes.

Trish paid Manuel $20 to walk with us and play... Trish paid Manuel $20 to walk with us and play...

Our posse with our Guitarrón Amigo in the Plaza Cozumel Mexico

Wednesday was another day at sea as we traveled from Cozumel to Disney's private island in the Bahamas: Castaway Cay. We got a kick out of the ship's activities, from Beer Tasting to watching the John Carter movie in 3D. I snapped some sweet photos that night as we were watching the sun set over the horizon.

A thing of beauty

Long Lasting Love

Castaway Cay
At first, I thought Castaway Cay was going to be like Disney World, just on an island. I was expecting all kinds of rides and an amusement park. I was surprised to find it was nothing like that, but more of a private beach with all kinds of bars, games, water sports and even a water slide. The kids had a blast building sand castles, learning how to play checkers and exploring the island. I had a massage to the sound of ocean waves in the afternoon and we hopped back on the ship around 5 that afternoon.

That night, we had to pack up our luggage by 10 and put it out so it could be checked into our flight the next day. Disney did an awesome job of handling our luggage both to and from the cruise. All we had to do was attach bag tags in Denver and our bags arrived at our room shortly after boarding. On the way home, we gave them our bags on Thursday night and didn't see them until arriving in Denver.

Our crew on the Disney Magic!

The last morning on the Disney Magic was a bit early. We had to be at breakfast at 6:45, were off the ship by 8 and at the Orlando airport by 9. Our flight was at 7 that night, so we suddenly found ourselves with 9 hours of free time and nothing to do.

Last year around this time, Jack was struggling in school and getting in trouble almost every-other-day. In an attempt to promote good behavior, I told him I'd take him to LEGOLAND if he had 10 days in a row of good behavior. This didn't seem to help and we ended the school year with no trip planned. However, when this school year started, he had excellent behavior (which has continued all year) and quickly remembered my promise.

As we were sitting in Orlando's airport, I remembered this promise and 30 minutes later we had a car rented and were driving to see some legos. We spent a joyous day there, riding the few rides they had and marveling over all the things you could build with legos. It was a fun way to end our wonderful vacation.

This cruise was a first for myself, my kids and my parents. We were extremely impressed with Disney's Customer Service and have never felt more pampered in our lives. All the crew we interacted with knew our names by the second days and were some of the most kid-friendly people I've ever met. The food was excellent, the weather was beautiful and the activities were plentiful. It wasn't until the last night that we realized there were 15 bars on the ship, and by that time it was too late for a pub crawl. Oh well, there's always next time. ;-)

For more pictures from our Disney Magic voyage, see our photos on Flickr.

Posted in General at Apr 15 2012, 06:05:57 PM MDT Add a Comment

Our Engaging Trip to Paris and Antwerp

If you're a technologist, you should attend the Devoxx conference at least once in your life. It's one of the finest conferences on the planet. If you're a fan of Belgian beer, you owe it to yourself to visit Belgium to savor a taste. If you're a romantic, Paris is a recommended destination. Since I'm a technologist, love Belgian beer and consider myself a romantic, I went for the trifecta a couple weeks ago on what's becoming an annual trek to Devoxx. When Trish and I traveled to Devoxx last year, we flew to Amsterdam and took the train to Antwerp. This year, we decided to fly to Paris and take the train.

Much like last year, we witnessed another Broncos over Chiefs victory the Sunday before we left. That night, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing my Devoxx presentation. We left Denver around noon and met up with James Ward at the Red Carpet Club in Chicago. While sipping cocktails and catching up, I wrote a blog post about how PhoneGap rescued me a couple days earlier.

We slept soundly on the flight over, thanks to little sleep the night before. After arriving in Paris, we took the train to the the Notre Dame de Paris and had some breakfast nearby.

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

We were planning on exploring throughout the day, but quickly realized that hauling our bags around was no fun and headed to Gare du Nord to catch a Thalys train to Brussels. We gasped at the cost of two first-class tickets, but soon forgot when we settled into our seats with free wi-fi, Belgian beers and power. After talking a local train to Antwerp, we finished our 21-hour journey by checking into the Hilton Antwerp in the city center. We were warmly welcomed with excellent Belgian beers on ice in our room and celebrated with a delicious meal at De Godevaart.

On Wednesday, I headed to Devoxx and attended a couple of great talks: Play 2.0, A web framework for a new era and PhoneGap for Hybrid App Development. As you can imagine, both talks were extremely interesting for me since I'd been using Play for several months and was recently saved by PhoneGap. Play 2.0 Beta was announced just before the Play talk and my blog post about the Play 2.0 session was picked up by Hacker News and the hits rolled in.

That afternoon, I headed back to my hotel with James Ward and met up with Trish for a couple beers. We spent a few hours in our hotel lobby updating presentations, editing videos, editing photos and getting ready for our talks on Thursday. That evening, we enjoyed a scrumptious dinner in the dungeon-like Pelgrom and conversations with Kevin Nilson, Sadek Drobi, Guillaume Bort and David Geary. I was pleased to find out from Sadek and Guillaume that Play 2.0 will include many fast website best practices, including concatenation, minification and gzipping of static assets. We retired early to get a good night's sleep before my talk on Thursday.

Kwak Kwak Kwak! Candle at Pelgrom

Matt Raible and Crew at Devoxx dinner Matt Raible at Pelgrom

On Thursday, both Trish and I journeyed to Devoxx to watch James Ward talk about how to deploy Java, Play Framework, and Scala apps on Heroku. My talk was an hour later and I gulped as I stood up front and watched the (very large) auditorium fill up with Devoxxians. Since I'd never rehearsed my talk or timed it, I was a bit nervous. Luckily, it ended up being one of my best-timed performances and there was even time for Q and A at the end. You can imagine the smile on my face as AC/DC's Thunderstruck blasted through the speakers during my video demo. After my talk finished, it was great to see all the positive feedback on Twitter and enjoy an "Atlas Beer" while watching Java Posse Live.

James Ward speaking on Heroku at Devoxx Matt Raible speaking at Devoxx Belgium 2011

Audience at Matt Raible's Presentation Devoxx Belgium

That evening, we had dinner with the Java Posse crew and James Ward before heading to the Devoxx Party @ Noxx.

Devoxx Party @ Noxx

Yes, we had an awesome time at Devoxx. I was pleased with the positive response from my talk and learned a bunch from the few talks I attended. Thanks to Stephan for inviting me and organizing one of the best conferences I've ever attended. For our last night in Antwerp, we dined at Huis De Colvenier and especially enjoyed our aperitif in the 19th-century wine cellar.

Huis De Colvenier Huis De Colvenier Huis De Colvenier Huis De Colvenier

Riverside in Antwerp Antwerp Town Square

Mmmm, Belgium Beer... We love Belgian Beer

Paris and Beyond
This brings us to my favorite part of this story. I was pretty stressed leading up to our departure to Devoxx because I had so many deadlines. I had a deadline with my current client to finish up some features before I left, I had to finish my Devoxx presentation (and app developed for the talk) and I had a secret deadline to finish my proposal to Trish. That's right, I was planning on proposing marriage to my dream girl. I mean, we were going to the diamond capital of the world (Antwerp) and one of Earth's most romantic cities (Paris). It seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask her to marry me. We did some ring shopping before we left Denver, but she didn't realize I had purchased one before we left.

We're both big music fans, so I decided months earlier that I would propose with lines from songs we both liked. Of course, I waited until the last minute to compose my prose, but I did finish it before we left for Europe. However, with all the Devoxx shenanigans, I didn't have time to memorize my proposal. Instead, I recorded it using the "Voice Memos" on my iPhone. I did this in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, while I was watching the Broncos game on the internet.

Saturday afternoon, we traveled to Paris via Thalys and checked into our hotel around sunset. When we stepped outside an hour later, I remember saying to Trish, "the Eiffel Tower looks pretty small, I thought it'd be bigger". After walking for a bit, it turned from small to big to huge. My plan that night was to propose on the tower. As Trish snapped pictures along our walk, I was taking out the piece of paper I had the proposal printed on and trying to memorize it. As you can imagine, I had to to this stealthily and by the time we reached the Eiffel Tower, I had enough memorized to propose. We arrived around midnight and were disappointed to find it was closed. This terminated my proposal plans for that night, but we still enjoyed the sparkling tower lights and took several pictures.

The Eiffel Tower The Eiffel Tower

The next day, Sunday, we traveled to the Château de Versailles. This was a recommendation from my good friend Eric, who had recently traveled to Paris with his wife, Heather. In fact, I owe a lot to Eric. He recommended we extend our trip to Paris (he'd traveled there disgruntled about not doing a beach vacation, then fell in love with the city) and suggested a number of great locations to visit. He also recommended proposing in the Gardens of Versailles, a very romantic location according to him. I had this in the back of my mind as we did an audio tour through the Palace of Versailles. As we ventured out into the Orangerie, I started hatching a plan to get Trish down to the gardens and try to rent bikes. We both love biking and the outdoors, so I figured it'd be a nice way to spend our memorable moment. As we strolled closer and I didn't see bikes to rent, I spotted the Grand Canal and noticed they had row boats.

The Versailles Orangerie Château de Versailles Gardens of Versailles Trees in the Versailles Gardens

Bassin d’Apollon – the Apollo Fountain

When we first arrived at the boat dock, there was a long line, but it magically disappeared moments later. We stepped into the boat, rowed to the center of the canal and paused for a bit to take in the beautiful day and the setting sun. Trish asked me to row to a better spot so she could photograph the sunset, but instead I said "here, listen to this" and handed her my headphones. I pressed play and watched her face light up as she heard my voice in her ears. 90 seconds later, I asked "Trish McGinity, will you marry me?" She responded with, "Of course!" :)

Happy Versailles Sunset

The rest of our trip in Paris was quite romantic and fun. We decided to wait until we got back to The States before telling anyone we were engaged. This meant we had three days of just us, Paris and some of the most beautiful art in the world. We explored the Louvre for 5-hours on Monday, marveling at the low-rider on display near the entrance and all the famous paintings.

Trish and the Louvre At The Louvre Lowrider in the Louvre Liberty Leading the People


We imbibed in $40 martinis at The Hemingway Bar and scarfed down some delicious pizza at Gambino's. We had breakfast at Angelina's, toured La Sainte-Chapelle, hiked up Arc de Triomphe and wandered through the shopping districts Champs-Élysées and Faubourg St-Honoré. Yes, we fell in love with Paris and can't wait to return for Devoxx France in April.

Arc de Triumph

We departed Paris on the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving and arrived in Boston that evening. We spent the next three days with Trish's family and our good friends, Chris, Julie, Lili and Wes. We did a 5K Turkey Trot on Thursday morning, followed by football watching and eating succulent turkey while basking in everyone's joy for us. We smiled, giggled, laughed, guffawed, smiled some more and had an all-around great time the rest of the weekend.

We returned home on Sunday evening, departing Boston's Logan airport only minutes after the Broncos kicked a field goal in overtime to beat the Chargers. Our flight was delayed just long enough (3 hours) that we got to watch almost the whole game. It was the perfect ending to a phenomenal trip.

To see more pictures from this adventure, see Trish's fantastic photos and mine on Flickr.

Posted in General at Dec 04 2011, 04:02:34 PM MST 12 Comments

Mahalo Kauai

I've heard great things about Hawaii for most of my life. My Dad was stationed at Barbers Point when he was in the Navy. His sister, my Aunt Mary, was born there. My sister and I sent my parents to Hawaii for their 30th Wedding Anniversary. You can imagine my excitement when Trish sent me an email on January 25th:

It's only 40,000 miles for both of us to fly to Kauai!! I picked the week after Labor Day just for fun :)

My response:


She booked it that night. For $10.

We left for Kuaui the morning after the disappointing Broncos home opener and a fun sports weekend with Abbie and Jack. Our trip started out great, sneaking into the Red Carpet Club for free at LAX and getting a slew of free drinks from a super-cool flight attendant (Anthony) on our flight from LAX to Kauai.

After landing and marveling at the open-air airport, we picked up our rental Jeep and drove to the north side of the island. A friend recommended we stay at the St. Regis Princeville Resort and we were very impressed when we checked into our room overlooking Hanalei Bay.

The next morning, we vowed to do nothing but relax by the pool. We enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast at the Mekana Terrace, complete with Bloody Mary's. We had to have Bloody's since the St. Regis in NYC claims to have invented them. We spent the rest of the day napping, swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling and sipping on Mai Tai's.

Breakfast From the St. Regis Hanalei Bay The Pool Relaxing

After enjoying a beautiful sunset ...

HDR Sunset next to the palm trees on the beach at Hanalei Bay

... we visited the concierge to book some activities for the rest of our trip. We wanted to take things up a notch and enjoy all the cool stuff Kuai had to offer. So we arranged for Stand Up Paddling and the Mailani Dinner Shown on Thursday, golf on Friday, a doorless helicopter ride on Saturday and a kayak trip along the Na Pali coast on Sunday.

We woke up Thursday refreshed and ready to go. Our view out the window was exceptional.

Aloha in the morning at the St Regis Hanalei Bay

After a delicious room service breakfast in our room, we wandered down to the beach to meet our SUP guide. He warned us that girls were generally better than guys at SUP and we proceeded to prove him correct. Trish never got her hair wet and I had to abandon ship several times.

Ready for SUP! Breakfast with a view
Board Meeting

That afternoon, we headed to the The Kalalau Trail for a hike. Our SUP guide recommended it and said it was "so easy, your grandma could do it". His Grandma must be a lot younger than most, because the trail was not easy, but we certainly enjoyed the challenge.

Beautiful trail to Hanakapi'ai Beach and looking down the Napali Coast An easy 5' x 5' spot to land your helicopter?
Trish at Kalalau Beach Kalalau Beach

We were rewarded with some spectular views at Kalalau Beach.

Kalalau Beach Kalalau Beach

We made it back to the hotel just in time for the dinner show and another marvelous Hanalei sunset.

Hanalei Bay Sunset

At the dinner show, we sat with honeymooners from Houston that worked at NASA. Since they both spoke Russian, we had fun discussing Russia, our trips there and how we learned the language. The dinner show was great and they featured quite a few of the top Hula dancers in Hawaii.

Mailani Dinner show Hula dancer from side Kauai Mailani Dinner show Hula dancer with fire St Regis Kauai
Mailani Dinner show Hula dancers with Kala'au rhythm sticks and Hui'hui feathered rattles St Regis Kauai
Mailani Dinner show male performer St Regis Kauai
Mailani Dinner Show
Polynesian fireknife dancer with a fire knife Mailani Dinner Show
Mailani Dinner show firedancer with poi Kauai 3

The next morning, we grabbed Huevos Rancheros in Princeville and headed to the Makai Golf Club for a one-of-a-kind experience. Not only did they let us bring our full-stocked cooler on the course, but they rented us some fantastic Callaway clubs. We golfed for hours with no one in front, and no one trailing behind.

The famous third tee drop on the Makai Golf Course over looking Hanalei Bay Kauai - Matt's drive was perfect right onto the green below Makai Golf Club my pitch out of the sand is next to the pin.  Matt's is on the edge of the green :) Matt's drive headed toward the ravine on Makai Golf course!
This one is a gonner too! Heaven at Makai Golf Course!

Trish's photo of the Bougainvillia on the back nine is one of my favorites.

Bougainvillia on the Makai Golf course looking across Hanalei Bay

We enjoyed some Blue Hawaii's at the St. Regis afterward, in a cabana that's normally reserved for $1000/day. We snuck in and even got the honeymooner's discount from a hometown waiter.

2 Blue Hawai'i on the beach in Hanalei Bay

On Saturday, I booked a tour at the Ahonui Botanical Gardens. The gardens where amazing, built by Bill and Lucinda Robertson. They converted a jungle of 8 acres into an elaborate garden with trees, flowers and plants from around the world. Since you can grow almost anything on The Garden Isle, they planted many exotic fruit trees that we had the pleasure of snacking on throughout our 3-hour tour. About halfway through, Lucinda treated us to an adventure in making and tasting delicious chocolates.

Heart of Palm - Paul Michell uses this in their products - it's a wonderful clear light lotion and great for hair too! Ahonui Botanical Gardens Ahonui Botanical Gardens Whoa, this is an Apple banana native to Hawai'i and tastes much better than regular Del Monte bananas!

Lucinda Robertson gave us a great Chocolate tasting and history of chocolate.  The chocolate they made was the best of the bunch! Bill Robertson, the owner gave us the tour which they just started doing publically in June 2011.  It was a great experience!

We rushed from the garden tour to the helicopter ride on the other side of the island. The concierge had booked us with Jack Harter Helicopters, because they were the only ones that flew without doors (for better pictures). As soon as we lifted off, I knew it was going to be an experience of a lifetime. We flew over the Waimea Canyon, along the Na Pali Coast, over Hanalei Bay and back into the mountains to the wettest place on earth. It felt like an amusement park ride combined with an IMAX movie. Our pilot was a Hawaii native that knew the whole island and gave us an excellent tour of its features. I cannot recommend this tour enough if you're ever in Kauai.

Bell 500 here we come! Honopu Valley - King Kong was filmed in this area.

Rainbow to Kalalau Valley Napali Coast State Park

Looking back toward Makuaiki Point Wailua Falls - yep from Fantasy Island

The next morning, we had to get up early for our kayak trip. We had a wakeup call at 4:30, breakfast via room service arrived at 5 and we were packed and checked out of the hotel at 5:30. We arrived at Na Pali Kayak at 6 and quickly realized we had our work cut out for us. Both Trish and I expected the kayak trip to be like paddling across a lake and didn't know we were in for the Everest of kayaking - a 17-mile journey that would take most of the day.

Our Put in point for Napali Coast Kayak Tour.  I couldn't bring the D700 on the kayak and the waterproof camera was futile.  I thought they would have gotten better by now? We borrowed some sea-sickness medication, bought some water from our hosts and got ready for a good challenge. Unfortunately, we couldn't take Trish's camera, and the waterproof camera she bought took mediocre pictures. However, we did get to see two schools of dolphins (one even jumped into the air for us) and a couple turtles along the way. Having to paddle in unison turned out to be great couples therapy too.

We enjoyed lunch on a beach along the coast around 1, took a nap and hopped back in the boats for the last 5 miles. We pulled out around 4 and were on the road by 5 for the 2.5 hour drive back to Hanalei Bay. It was country dark when we arrived. We hopped in the Jeep and drove an hour back across the island to stay at the Sheraton Kauai (the St. Regis was full) for our last night.

At the Sheraton, we had one of their best rooms and enjoyed awesome views and a final relaxing day before heading home.

View from The Sheraton Hibiscus!

The Tunnel of Trees on the way to the airport was one last reminder of how beautiful Kauai is.

The Tunnel of Trees Kauai!

Mahalo Kauai. You are one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been too. Your views, your waves, your rainbows - all spectacular. Trish and I will be back, you've made an impression on us that will last forever.

If you'd like to see many of the places we visited in a movie, check out Soul Surfer. It takes place in Hanalei Bay and we recognized many of the locations while watching it. For more pictures, see my Shareholders Meeting in Kauai or Trish's magnificent photos.

Posted in General at Sep 26 2011, 10:19:54 AM MDT 3 Comments

Oregon, Cape Cod and Fun in Winter Park

Silver Falls State Park I'm proud to say it's been almost a month since my last blog entry. This can only mean one thing → I've been having too much fun to blog. The good news is I finally found time to write about our recent adventures, so grab yourself a tasty beverage and read on.

Within hours of my last blog post, Trish and I hopped on a plane to visit my good friends, Clint and Autumn, in Oregon. We flew into Portland and spent the weekend hiking in Silver Falls and drinking good beer at the Oregon Brewers Festival and Edgefield. Edgefield is one my favorite places on Earth, encapsulating a farm/resort environment with 27 different features. The features range from a soaking pool to a winery to a pool hall to scotch tasting in a shack next to a garden.

Thirsty Field of Flowers

The weekend was especially fun since Autumn was pregnant and it was two weeks before the due date of their first child. Broderick Jordan Wilburn Foster was born yesterday and I hear the whole family is doing well.

Trish and I spent the night at Edgefield on Saturday and caught an early flight from Portland to Boston the next morning. Her brother (also named Matt) lives near Boston and we drove our rental Volvo convertible (to fit in with the New Englanders) to his house Sunday night. On the Hertz Bus from the airport met Nigel Parry, a professional photographer. Not just anybody, but someone that's shot pictures of some very famous people. Trish is also a photographer, so they had a long conversation and it inspired her to resign from her sales job last week. Actually, it wasn't that meeting, she's been wanting to be a famous photographer since she was in high school. Now that dream shall happen. She's awesome.

On Monday afternoon, we picked up Abbie and Jack from the Boston airport. They flew up from West Palm Beach on their first unaccompanied minors flight. We drove them to Cape Cod and settled into Trish's parents house near the water. The rest of the week, we had a blast with our friends Chris and Julie and the entire McGinity clan. We boated, grilled, flew down the water slides, played miniature golf and toured Martha's Vineyard. We had a pool party, played some pool and sang our hearts out at karaoke. Trish's brother's kids are the same age as mine, so you couldn't wipe the smiles off our kids' faces, especially when we had the tunes cranked with the top down on the convertible.

Wheeee!! Hercules! Michael and Jack

Monkey Shadows

For more pictures of this super-fun trip, see Summer Fun in Oregon and Cape Cod part 1 and 2.

After returning from Boston, we had a week without kids and lived it to the fullest with a John Butler Trio concert at Red Rocks and the Winter Park Beer Festival. Trish's friend Joanna and my good friend, "The Professor" joined us for a weekend of mountain biking and sweet mountain views. We even got to hang out with James Ward and his wife Jenny at the beer festival. Sunday, we hiked up the beautiful Columbine Lake Trail. Trish's dog, Sagan (named after Carl) chased sticks and was his crazy self as usual.

Cheers! Crazy Sagan!

We drove back Monday morning to be there for the kids first day of school. They sure start early these days don't they?

First Day of 2nd and 3rd Grade

I rode my bike 168 miles to and from work throughout the following week. The next weekend, we took the kids up to the Ski Shack for their first time. I hired a guy to make queen-size bunk beds for them, so they had a blast in their new roomy beds. On Saturday, we had a garage sale since the previous owners left a bunch of beds and couches and we didn't need all that furniture. The turnout was great and we got to hang out with Jodi and James, Suzie, and The Lamonts. All of these folks are old friends that just happened to be in the mountains for the weekend. One of Trish's best friends, Chris, has a place less than a mile from us and we had a blast with her on Saturday night. Thanks for the fun memories Chris!

On Sunday, we took the kids the Winter Park Base Area where they have Disneyland in the Mountains as I like to call it. An alpine slide, miniature golf, a maze, a climbing wall and a Chili Cook-Off to keep Daddy happy. We met our good friend Suzie there and had a lot of fun with Chris, Brice and their crazy kids. Enjoying an Avery White Rascal at the Cheeky Monk's happy hour was the perfect way to end the day.

Abbie and Jack on the Cabriolet Chili Cook Off! Abbie on the Trampoline

Nice flip Jack!

Sunday night, we were graced with the presence of a beautiful sunset.

Sunset Views from the shack

Happy Kids Sunday Sunset

That pretty much catches you up-to-date with the goings on in my life. As you can tell, it's been a great summer so far. I'm really looking forward to the fall too. Broncos season, a trip to Hawaii, learning new technologies, talking about them at Devoxx and a new gig.

I've decided to leave Overstock because I'm a die-hard Broncos fan and I can't work for a company that supports the Raiders during football season. There's a good chance I'll be back after the season, just in time for The Greatest Snow on Earth. ;)

This weekend, my parents are meeting us in Winter Park for Labor Day weekend. We plan on fishing, hiking, smiling and enjoying each other's company a whole lot. Tomorrow is Jack's birthday. I gotta run ... it's time to go buy a bike, play a little golf, hit the pool and go to the BBQ before tonight's CD Release Party.

Posted in General at Aug 27 2011, 01:50:52 PM MDT 1 Comment

4th of July Adventures in Montana

Montana is one of my favorite places on earth, especially the The Cabin. Like last year and the year before, I spent a couple weeks at the cabin for this year's 4th of July. Last year was interesting because I met Trish two days before my vacation. This year, she joined me for the 2nd week, along with her Dad. It was also the "90s Reunion" for the Seeley Swan High School, which I attended my freshman and sophomore year.

My parents have lived at the cabin for a little over a year now, having retired there last year. It now looks like it did when we were kids. That is, it feels like home rather than just a cabin in the woods. Their retirement cabin is coming along nicely and the finished bathroom with a toilet + shower provides a nice break from the outhouse and sauna. It was interesting to see all the logging being done on The Homestead. My parents hired someone to clean things up and it looks great so far. They're not clear-cutting, just thinning the forest to reduce fire danger and give more resources to the big trees.

Abbie, Mimi, Jack and Joleen The Logging Operation Happy Kids at Seeley Lake Lookout at Sunset

There were several highlights of the trip, but one of my favorites was our Float in the Swan Valley Parade. Abbie came up with the idea (Happy Birthday America) and we decorated an old trailer with streamers, balloons and a birthday cake to celebrate. Abbie made up a song and sang it throughout the entire parade (with a portable microphone and amp). We all got dunked afterwards, drank some cheap beer and had lots of fun fiddlin' and swinging. The fireworks that night were epic and Trish and I were amazed late night when we smiled on a crowded campfire with many of my parents' old friends.

Abbie singing "Happy Birthday America" Abbie before getting dunked Jack and Joe Fiddlin' Trish

The next day, we woke up, recovered a bit and then headed for Glacier National Park. We spent the afternoon at Big Sky Waterpark and had a great night's rest at Glacier Mountain Lodge. Trish woke up early the next morning for some sunrise shots at Lake McDonald and we enjoyed a short hike to Avalanche Lake that afternoon. Unfortunately, Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed due to snow so we were unable to drive to the top. 2011 is the latest they've ever opened.

Happy Abbie Thirsty Boy Paddleboating Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

The rest of our vacation was spent doing early morning airport runs, riding the 4-wheeler, golfing and hanging out with old friends. For the trip home, we took the scenic route, driving through Yellowstone and Grand Teton. We stopped along the way to spend the night at Jackson Lake Lodge, shortly after marveling at a Grizzly Bear and her two cubs along the highway. Trish snapped some some magnificent sunset and sunrise photos and we packed up the car for the final journey home. After being gone for 3 weeks, I've never seen the kids happier to cross the Colorado State Line.

As far as vacation destinations go, Montana is one of my favorites. This year was special because I had the pleasure of sharing it with Trish. She's always wanted to photograph Glacier National Park and the Grand Tetons and we were lucky enough to visit both. I also got to share a lot of smiles and memories with old classmates and friends. I experienced the joy of seeing my parents back home, living as Montanans once again and loving every minute of it. I smiled proudly as Abbie thought up the "Happy Birthday America" float and then sang on it the whole way through the parade. I simply loved spending so much time with my family in such a beautiful place.

Finally, I'd like to share a picture montage that Trish put together of the trip. Below that are some of her best shots from our adventures. As always, you can find see my latest photos on Flickr.

The Raible Cabin

Sunrise at Jackson Lake by Trish McGinity Abbie at The Tetons by Trish McGinity

Path to Tetons with wildflowers

Posted in General at Jul 19 2011, 09:24:54 AM MDT 2 Comments

A Sweet Trip to Switzerland for Jazoon 2011

I've always enjoyed speaking at conferences, especially those in exotic locations. Earlier this year, I saw Jazoon's call for papers and thought, "I've never been to Switzerland, sounds fun!" I proceeded to submit a talk, got accepted and booked a trip with my girlfriend, Trish. We left Denver last Tuesday and arrived in Zürich on Wednesday around noon. After settling into our awesome accommodations at Hotel Opera, we journeyed to the conference location, which was held at a movie theater.

We were quickly impressed when we learned the conference had reserved a theater for an evening showing of The Hangover 2. We grabbed some drinks from the bar and settled in for a couple hours of giggling and barely staying awake from jetlag.

Zürich quickly made an impression on us the first day. We experienced its excellent transportation system (trains, trams, buses and boats) and saw a number of fancy cars (a Bently, a Lamborghini and a Ferrari). Prices were high, but the food was excellent.

Zürich Airport Sunset in Zürich Zurich Shopping District Ferrari Ferrari

On Thursday, we woke up and Trish realized she'd left her expensive Nikon lenses on our flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam. This realization hit her hard and she scrambled to try and find them by contacting the airlines. I rushed off to the conference to catch Frank Kim's What Every Developer Should Know About Application Security. This was a great session and I especially enjoyed that he selected Apache Roller as the application to hack. After that, I attended Ed Burns' Hyperproductive JSF and published my notes.

Then I met Trish for lunch at the conference and we went to the room for my talk. We had some technical difficulties to start (my brand-new Mini-DVI connector was bad) and I started about 10 minutes late. During this mad scramble to fix things, I started having some stomach issues, but ignored them thinking I could make it through my 50 minute talk. As I was doing demos and sweating profusely, I realized I couldn't make it and ran out of the room with 10 minutes left. The whole experience shook me up a bit. It was definitely not my best performance, but it could've been a lot worse. ;-)

Friday, we tried to sleep off our jet lag and woke up in the early afternoon. Trish had three places she wanted to visit and we managed to see them all in the same day. We climbed the tower at Grossmünster, rode the train to Rhine Falls and celebrated our anniversary at Gruelich, the highest-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor. We arrived at Guelich around 10pm and were very happy when they agreed to serve us. We did the 4-course meal and had the Sommelier choose our wines. It wasn't cheap, but definitely worth the experience.

View from Great Church Happy Couple in Zürich Riding the Train Rhine Falls!

Whoa! Rhine Falls Flowers

Olives and Sprouts Scallops and Tomato Dessert at Greulich Greulich's Backyard Trees

After dinner, we took the 8 Tram back to our hotel. However, it somehow turned into the 9 and we ended up on the opposite side of the lake. This turned out to be a nice diversion as we had a nice walk around the lake with some nice swans and lights on the water.

Swans on Lake Zürich Cool Lights Night Colors of Lake Zürich

Mmmmm, breakfast! Saturday, we woke up early for a big day of travel to the Swiss Alps. We enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel and headed for the central train station. My good friend, Fernand, recommended we visit Grindelwald, while one of Trish's best friends thought we'd love the quaintness of Gimmelwald. We gulped at the price (500 USD) of the train ticket to both locations, but were impressed that you could buy all the tickets we needed (including the bus and trolley ride) at one place. We both quickly forgot the cost as we passed through the beautiful town of Interlaken and arrived in Grindelwald. An hour later we were hiking through Gletscherschlucht (Glacier Gorge) and marveling at the craftsmanship of the trail.

Grindelwald! Grindelwald, Switzerland Grindelwald from Gletscherschlucht Cue Water Rushing Sound

After enjoying a beer on a patio with a view, we boarded the train for Gimmelwald. A transfer, bus ride and cable car ride later, we were standing in the picturesque town, marveling that it had a lower elevation than Denver and perplexed that everyone seemed to be American. We strolled around, took a number of cool photos and had a scrumptious dinner at the Pension Gimmelwald.

Gimmelwald Gimmelwald Flora Path in Gimmelwald The Swiss Alps

Purple in Gimmelwald Trish as Julie Andrews Yodeling Cheers from Gimmelwald!

On our train ride home, we missed our connection in Interlaken. This was no surprise as we regularly encountered very short layovers between trains. The Swiss are incredibly efficient and our brief stop in a store (that had a line at the cashier) was enough to miss the next train. The hour layover turned into a nice opportunity to stroll around town and snap a few last pictures. I especially like the sunset below, taken around 9:30 at night.

Interlaken Sunset

Trish and I both were super-impressed with Zürich, the friendliness of the Swiss and especially the Swiss Alps. Yes, it was definitely expensive, but everything was top notch and beautiful. There's a very good chance we'll visit again. Thanks to the Jazoon Organizers for having us and providing us the opportunity to explore their gorgeous country.

Posted in General at Jun 28 2011, 12:52:33 PM MDT 4 Comments

Farewell to the 2010-2011 Ski Season

I'd call the 2010-2011 the best ski season ever, but it's really just the best ski season so far. In 2008, I wrote about a great 21-day season. This time last year, I wrote about an amazing 25-day season. This year, I took it up a notch and aimed for 30 days. I'm proud to say I accomplished my goal and had an awesome time doing it. I skied with more people I'd never skied with before (largely in part to my cool co-workers from Overstock) and shared many days with the lovely Trish McGinity.

The season started with a trip to Copper, shortly after Abbie's 8th Birthday. I remember that day clearly as the kids were a bit rusty and had a heckuva time on their first run. Sobbing, whining and fear surrounded them the entire time. After the first run, I had some hot chocolate with them, calmed them down and then proceeded to the bunny slope for some turns. The lift was broken when we got there so we had to hike for a few runs. Amazingly, Abbie said it was the most fun she'd ever had skiing, which surprised me after her meltdown on the first run.

It's fun to compare that day to the last day I took them this season. We did the same run (a blue at Copper) and both kids were doing parallel turns and having a blast. Actually, Jack was the only one doing parallel turns, Abbie was flying down the mountain, not turning at all. She was going so fast her legs looked like rubber bands, weaving and bobbing over the bumps in the snow. I'm awful proud of my little skiers.

As for me, I happened to land a new gig in Utah, home of the greatest snow on Earth. My interview with was two days, with the 2nd day on the slopes at Snowbird. It was easily the best interview I've ever had.

Snowbird! Mike, Sean and Chris Sun over Snowbird Back of Snowbird

That week, I returned to Denver for 3 days of skiing Breckenridge and A-Basin for Trish's Birthday Weekend. After returning from Christmas in Florida, I got a couple days in at Mary Jane and then accomplished 10 days before 2011 while skiing in sub-zero temperatures at Steamboat for New Years.

Good Morning from Steamboat! Sunrise over Steamboat

The next 4 months of skiing were fantastic with many firsts. I experienced Alta, Crested Butte and thigh-deep powder for the first time.

Speed Racer! Top of Crested Butte

Free Heeling at Alta Free Heeling at Alta

We finished up the season with a hut trip after TSSJS in Vegas, a weekend with the kids at Copper (as mentioned above) and Spring Splash at Winter Park.

For next year, I think I'll keep my goal at 30 days. If everything works out as planned, we'll have a place in the mountains this fall and it'll be a bit easier to hit the slopes without sitting in traffic. For now, I'm pumped about the beginning of mountain bike season. I took Trish and I's Gary Fisher Hi-Fi Plus's to the shop for tune-ups yesterday and we have a trip planned to Moab for Memorial Day. It's gonna be a great summer. :)

Posted in General at Apr 28 2011, 09:40:08 AM MDT 3 Comments