Clint Patterson's Blog


Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here

CSS Sprites in Adobe Fireworks + Form & List ManDeeps LiveContent Module Mashup
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On 8/16/2012 I presented on CSS Sprites in Adobe Fireworks, the Form and List and ManDeeps LiveContent module. I've posted the YouTube screencasts of the techniques I used below. Hope you enjoy them.

CSS Sprites in DotNetNuke using Adobe Fireworks

Form & List + ManDeeps Module Mashup

I had to create a portfolio and handle various formats so I tied the form and list module together with the LiveContent module from and used them to create the gallery. Technically I could have done this all with ManDeeps LiveContent module, but tying it in with the Form and List module makes it a little bit easier to maintain for content managers as well as gives me sorting, paging, and stronger control via CSS.

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About a month ago a friend of mine named Jason Fararooei told me I should submit a session to the TEDxCharlotteEd event here in Charlotte. I had no idea what this event was about so I took a look at the site. TEDxCharlotteEd’s web site describes the event as “an event that highlights innovative partnerships that are strengthening our community and enriching the lives of students in the Charlotte area.” The web site had a “Call for Speakers” section where they asked speakers from the community to submit their ideas & topics for sessions at the event.
Jason had previously worked with me on a video where I spoke in a local high school to some computer programming and web design classes about Microsoft’s Open Source web platform DotNetNuke. He knew that I was passionate about both technology and education so he encouraged me to enter a submission to the event. 
Below is the video of me speaking to the high school class

I thought about Jason’s suggestion for a while and decided to submit a topic. I submitted a topic titled “Open Source + Education = Brighter Future”. Upon submitting my idea I viewed the source code for the site and noticed that TEDxCharlotteEd’s site was running on an open source web platform… perfectly ironic.
   TEDxCharlotteEd - Twitter announcement of speakers via tweetingTEDxCharlotteEd - Twitter Announcment of speakers via
  Following the link I guess this tweet means I didn't get picked
I’ve posted this blog because I wanted to share my idea even though I didn’t get selected to be a presenter… at least I don’t think I got selected. I got an email saying that my submission was received and being reviewed, but I did not get one saying that I had or had not been selected. Though, given a twitter update from the TEDxCharlotteEd Twitter account announcing the event speakers I didn’t see my name listed and figured it was ok to share the idea here on my blog. I already had the idea conceptualized in my mind so I'm just blogging it instead.
I should probably back up and say that I grew up with parents who were both educators and later administrators in school systems in South Carolina. Today I have several close friends who are teachers and administrators in schools in the greater Charlotte community and one friend who is a former principal who now mentors principals in Charlotte.  I also had a brief stint teaching at Weddington High School in 2005-2006. Growing up in an educational environment, having previously taught, still helping coach my old high school football team, and having friends who are active within the education system makes me familiar with some of the challenges faced in education.  I know that there isn’t a ton of money to throw around and there aren’t a lot of resources available for school districts to utilize. Teachers are held to high standards and are compensated with low wages. To make it worse, recent budget cuts have forced many great teachers out of the profession as well as made it difficult for students to use cutting edge technologies simply because the school systems can’t afford them along with the materials needed to teach. Our school systems need help in a lot of different of which is our community.
The Web, Open Source, & DotNetNuke
Along with growing up with an educational background I grew up with a passion for the web. I can remember first surfing the internet back in the 90’s on a 56k modem and loving it. The web was a catalyst to my imagination and it still keeps the gears in my mind turning. 
As I learned more and more about web design and development I quickly realized that the tools one uses to build web sites can quickly become expensive. To build anything of significance a web designer has to have the right tools (software & hardware) and a good deal of knowledge. This sometimes brought on road blocks for me. I never had a ton of money to throw at software and computers and I also didn’t have a wealth of knowledge. 
DotNetNuke LogoOne day I accidentally bumped into DotNetNuke while looking into some style sheets while on my job which was, at that time, Queens University of Charlotte.  I became interested in the technology and decided to further investigate the platform.  
A week or two later I had the “aha” moment where I realized that somewhere, somebody was putting out a whole content management system (CMS) for free on the net. In my mind these people (whoever they were) were crazy to put this stuff out there for free.  With little cash and little knowledge this was like a dream come true for me. I could leverage the power of this system without creating it! It was a moment that changed my life.  Now days every time I use the system I know that I’m essentially standing on the shoulders of knowledge of many different developers from around the world.
Since researching and learning more I’ve become really enthusiastic about open source technologies, particularly DotNetNuke. Let me describe DotNetNuke a little more… DotNetNuke is a platform that allows for rapid creation of web sites and web applications. It’s very flexible, scalable, easy to learn, and most importantly it’s free! If you don’t speak “tech” lingo then you should research what open source means. In short, open source means that anyone can download the source code for the application, edit it, modify it, contribute to it, use it, etc. 
DotNetNuke an agile platform   
DotNetNuke helps businesses be agile  
After getting involved with DotNetNuke and interacting with the global community behind the platform I realized that my initial reaction of “these people are crazy” was very wrong. Turns out, these people are brilliant. By being open sourced, DotNetNuke taps into creativity and innovation from a vast audience of web designers and developers in a unique way. Many high level developers enjoy freely giving their code contributions to the greater good of the platform because they know that through the contributions of the greater body will stem a greater platform. This model touches on some levels of Systems Theory. This level of synergy is tough to find in a typical for-profit organization where people work because they have to rather than because they want to. I know this statement doesn't apply to every single organization, but I would say it applies to the majority.
Developers from all around the world come together to create the greater DotNetNuke Community.  The community is part of an ecosystem that helps push the platform forward. The ecosystem consists of many entities such as user groups, hosting companies, the corporation that formed around DotNetNuke, vendors, consultants, designers, developers, and integrators.  The result of the ecosystem's synergy is an awesome Content Management System and web application framework.  There’s a reason why DotNetNuke is the #1 open source CMS for .NET technologies.  Did I mention we have a thriving DotNetNuke user group here in Charlotte?
Education + Open Source
Why is all of this important to the education system in the greater Charlotte area or in any school system open to change? Simply put, business is changing, technology is changing, and the way we interact with technology is changing the world. Everyone is reacting to the impetus of change and school systems should too! How will our students compete with the global workforce of competition that awaits them upon graduation? The resources for learning cutting edge technologies (such as DotNetNuke) are available and are at the finger tips of our students. The only thing standing between the students and these resources is the school systems reacting to the change that’s going on around them and adjusting course. It can be done and it isn’t expensive.
With the growth of the web and web technologies, Microsoft started offering “Express” versions of their software. These “Express” versions of their software are free.  What this means is that all the software needed to develop a DotNetNuke site locally is completely free!  By “locally” I mean on a computer sitting in a classroom in any school… no networking or school system servers needed for students to learn and create their own web sites.  
Most schools already have computer labs on which these softwares can run. Check out SQL Server Express, Visual Studio Express, WebMatrix, & DotNetNuke and see if you can’t get any or all of those up and running for free within a day.  All of this software and technology is sitting out there available to anyone with the motivation to use it. If school systems got motivated and embraced these open source technologies students would benefit in the long run and hopefully the technology sector in Charlotte (or any city) would too. Decisions that administrators make surrounding curriculum today could directly affect the economy of Charlotte tomorrow, if not sooner.
I mentioned that we have a thriving DotNetNuke User Group here in Charlotte.  We meet once a month at Microsoft Charlotte and our group would love to have any and all interested students join us once a month to learn more about the framework. We bring in guest speakers, have free food, and free prizes as well. As technologies change so does the platform so there is always more to learn and relationships to be built.  Surely students in our region can learn from people who use the technology on a daily basis.
Charlotte is also home to at least 3 DotNetNuke specific web firms (that I know of) and guess what…those web firms come to our user group to connect and sometimes they hire talent that shows up at our user group.  It’s happened before and it can happen again. If a student was motivated enough to learn DotNetNuke and got a good handle on it then I feel sure they could find somewhere to get plugged in, utilize their skills, and get some extra gas money… that is if they didn’t decide to create a web firm while they’re still in school.  If the student continued to learn and grow with the platform you never know what they might create in the future that could potentially change our city or the world in some way.
TEDxCharlotteEd sought “innovative partnership that could strengthen our community” and I feel that for education a partnership or simply embracing open source technologies could achieve this. Being fair I should mention that there are other open source technologies out there, but I know that there is a strong DotNetNuke presence in the Charlotte area that could assist and partner with the school systems in the movement.  
Many of the training resources and ancillary materials that are being cut out of budgets within education are free and available online, you just have to know where to look and be motivated about it.  Need training materials for your teacher’s lesson plans or for students who want to know more? There’s a whole free video library full of them in DotNetNuke’s online video library.  Have a question that you can’t answer? Just use the hashtag #DotNetNuke on Twitter or make a post in the DotNetNuke Forums or Community Exchange and you’ll find help sooner than later. From an educational perspective these resources are like "live tutors" offering real-time assistance. Need a professional web developer to speak on real life applications of DotNetNuke to your students? We’ve got a whole user group full of them who would love to present.  Want your students to learn from reputable developers from around the globe? Have them attend our user group as homework… if they can’t make it they can join the online stream. There are a great number of resources out there available for learning DotNetNuke in Charlotte and beyond. 
In sum, if the school systems in the Charlotte area, or any area for that matter, incorporated open source technologies such as DotNetNuke into their curriculum then software costs would most likely be lessened, students would benefit from utilizing cutting edge technologies, students would be better equipped for college or employment, and students and teachers alike could tap into a global community of innovation that’s all free of charge.  Embracing these technologies could greatly benefit the students and Charlotte in the long-run.  Why can’t Charlotte be a hot-bed for technology startups in the future? Take a look at Packard Place... it’s already starting a little. The decision to adjust course and embrace change could be the difference.
If you agree that Open Source + Education = A Brighter Future (and that this is an idea worth spreading) then give this page a tweet!

Webneck: The Fragmented Identity
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As a web developer and a hunter I find myself taking on two contrasting identities and, often times, bouncing back and forth between the two.  When I?m with my co-workers I?m the ?web guy? with a country accent and when I?m with my hunting buddies I?m ?the guy who spends too much time up in city working on computers?(which is not really workin)?!  You may be just like me, the guy who makes the commute to work in the city and returns back south chasing deer, turkeys, and anything that will bite a hook on the weekends.  If you are, then you'll be able to empathize with my sentiments that follow.  Accordingly, no matter on which end I find myself, I end up receiving a hard time from both my fellow hunters and co-workers.  Though, I?ve come to appreciate both sides (and the hard time that they give me). 

To help me illustrate what I?m describing a little, let me tell you a story about one of my friends from the city.  I frequently find myself talking people from Charlotte into coming down to Pageland and ?letting their hair down?.  (My dad says I ought to work on the Pageland Chamber of Commerce).  I have a friend who is a New Yorker that now lives in Charlotte and I talked him into coming down to the country for a day.  I took him fishing and we spent a few hours on the pond and really didn?t catch much.  Towards the end of the trip I asked him what he thought about fishing.  His response kind of caught me off guard.  I expected him to be critical of my guiding abilities and to talk smack to me.  Instead he replied saying that he really enjoyed fishing.  I thought he was being sarcastic and I asked him why and he responded ?Do you hear the birds? and I said ?yes?.  Then he noted to me that he never hears the birds where he lives in the city.  He went on saying how he didn?t know of any pond that he could go fishing in that was close to Charlotte.  He commented on how he really enjoyed the peacefulness of just floating on a pond simply because it wasn?t something he gets to do often and that it was relaxing to him. 

Earlier that same day I had taken him out to a shooting range and it was his first time shooting a rifle, shotgun, and pistol.  He actually hit the bull?s-eye on his first shot with the rifle, but it did bloody up his brow a little.  He was even able to hit some skeet as well.  He did go home with a nasty bruise on his shoulder too.  Thinking he would talk junk to me about his shooting experience, I asked him how he felt about shooting and he responded that he really enjoyed it as well.  He spoke of shooting the rifle and the immense moment of silence right before he pulled the trigger.  He talked about the power and intensity that is packed into those few seconds of silence and yet how he didn?t even hear the gun go off.  Yes, he learned and had a new appreciation.  He thanked me for bringing him to shoot and for allowing him to get a new perspective on guns.  He even took the target with the hole in the bulls-eye back to his house to show off! 

From my friends responses it appeared that the moments he experienced "out of his element" were invaluable to him and helped him gain perspective.  I believe this is the case because lessons learned when you find yourself seemingly out of your element and somewhat vulnerable offer the most room to grow.  The things that hunters find commonplace were new learning experiences and good memories for my friend.  He was open to coming down and, as any country boy would do, we tried to get him ?countrified? as much as possible... and it was fine by him.  His normal identity is that of a city boy (who at first holds a gun on his shoulder as if it were a surface to air missile launcher).  By coming down and living the life of a country boy for a day, he learned and benefitted from real-world experiences that derived knowledge that you can?t get from a book.

My friend found himself in the middle of a day that was outside of his normal environment.  As I thought about his experience and how he was so grateful and appreciative, I reflected on my own life and realized that my ?normal? is being caught in between these two environments.  Going back and forth between the identities is my "normal" and I?ve learned to appreciate it.  I like to, how do they say, ?get in where I fit in? and that?s about all anyone can do.  Though, to ?fit-in? in the contrasting environments takes a little vulnerability and openness with the end goal being to learn about the other side and yes, to learn about one?s self.

Not surprisingly, one?s identity is directly linked to what they do and the activities in which they are engaged.  I'm engaged in more than one activity which leaves me actualizing multiple identitities. Though, it is only from the perspective of the fragmented identity (i.e. living the experiences of both worlds) that I am able to draw a true appreciation and understanding for both sides.   Because I?m not always in the city, I appreciate certain aspects of a city life such as being able to go somewhere where nobody knows me, or the ability to get to almost any type of store relatively quickly, or being able to work with an organization that has a large scale web site who can offer me employment.  On the flip side, because I?m not always in the country, I appreciate going to a restaurant and knowing the locals, or the winding country roads that are free of major traffic jams, being able to get out in the woods and work with my hands...and, as my friend said, to hear nature around me.  The fragmented identity sharply brings into focus the advantages and disadvantages of both sides, allows me to see if and when the two converge, and in doing so brings on diversity and broader horizons.   Had I never spent a good deal of time in the city, I wouldn't appreciate the country...and vice versa. 

It's not too bad being a ?webneck?.




DotNetNuke Basic End-User HTML Editor Tutorials
At our last QCDUG user group meeting some of our members said they wished there were some basic content editing tutorials they could direct their users to for general help/guidelines with editing content in the DotNetNuke HTML editor. As far as I know there are not any ultra-basic tutorials focused on the HTML editor so I decided to cut a few videos in attempt to help fill this small, but sometimes repetitive need.  These tutorials are the ones that review tasks so simple that it almost seems pointless to create them. Nevertheless some end-user will eventually ask how to (INSERT SIMPLE TASK HERE) and it would be great to have a video link ready for them. Hopefully some of these tutorials can save you time from explaining the same principles over and over again to different content managers/editors.
I chose to cut these videos on a DNN 5x version because I figured that there may be a good percentage of sites who haven?t upgraded to DNN 6x yet (but you really should!).  Also since DNN 6 lets you configure the HTML editor some of the features I show may not be visible to your end users depending on how you configure your editors. 
I also realized that you may want to brand these tutorials as your own. For this reason I didn?t verbally publicize who I am in the videos nor did I affiliate myself with any organization or user group. What I couldn?t hide though, was the thick southern accent! If you?re not from the south then just tell anyone that may watch these videos that you?ve got a country boy doing your basic tutorials section. The videos are HD and I uploaded them to YouTube (all as "unlisted"), but in case you want to brand these videos as your own I?ve uploaded the raw video files that can be edited with a video editing software + I?ve uploaded the Camtasia project files in case you own Camtasia. The video files are .MP4 files that are embedded in the zip folder with the Camtasia files.
Be sure to watch these before distribution because I may do something in a way that you think is not correct and/or I may say something wrong! In the image video I used a free service to resize images and you may or may not want your clients doing that. So just a heads up.

The first batch of tutorials I cut were:
DotNetNuke CommunityIf there is a concept that I didn?t cover that you would like for me to?feel free to submit your ideas on the Contact Page. Will I do a tutorial for your customized need specific to your site?? no (or maybe for some dineros). Will I do a tutorial for a general editing task that could benefit the broader DotNetNuke community?? yes! 
I?ve created these tutorials as a small way to give back to the DNN Community and hopefully save someone out there some time. I encourage you to also find ways you can give back because after all, if you?re running a DNN site then you?re right here with the rest of us? standing on the shoulders of others! 


How Google+ Hangouts Can Transform Your User Group
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Queen City DotNetNuke User GroupThis past week we had another Queen City DotNetNuke User Group meeting. This meeting was unique in the fact that we had been promoting hard because DNNCorp flew one of their engineers out to speak to our group. Will Strohl arrived to Charlotte late last Wednesday evening. I gave Will a late night mini-tour of Charlotte and we talked as we rode around. Our meetings happen every 3rd Thursday so it wasn’t long before the next day came and it was meeting time. 

At some point either Wednesday night or Thursday during the day I told Will that I thought we should open the meeting up and try a Google+ Hangout to see if any DotNetNuke developers in other areas would like to jump on to watch the presentations. Will was open to it and so I made a point to bring my laptop. When we got to Microsoft (our group meets at Microsoft Charlotte) we began setting everything up. We weren’t really sure how the video or audio quality would be, but we wanted to give it a shot. I put my computer off to the side of the table (near an outlet) on the front row. I turned the Google+ Hangout on and posted a link to it on Twitter. Within minutes I had my first taker. Gifford Watkins, a DotNetNuke phenom from Nova Scotia, jumped on to see what the fuss was all about. Shortly thereafter we had one more, then another, then another and before long we had a crew on a Google+ Hangout at least 20 minutes before the meeting began.

Google+ HangoutOne of the first things I did was to give the guys a walk-around tour of the meeting. I got my laptop in my hands and showed them the room and the spread of food that we had at the meeting. I showed them the server rack near the door and randomly videoed people and talked with them as I walked around. It was kind of like a live virtual tour of the meeting. I did this to try to give the hangout attendees as much of a view of what was going on as possible.

The guys online were saying that they could hear me well and see the video clearly so it seemed like it was working out well. I told them we would do the best we could to make them feel like they were attending the meeting with us. To achieve that we also had one of our guys join the hangout. Will turned his laptop and joined the hangout and he interacted with the attendees via the chat window.  One issue we had to overcome was when someone at the meeting would ask a question from the back of the room. Obviously the guys online couldn’t hear the question so Will would type it out to them in the chat window. He also typed some lines of code that one of the presenters used in his slide deck to make sure the guys could clearly read it. During the Hangout one of the guys typed that being a part of the Hangout was better than being at the actual meeting because they got to see the presentation plus they didn’t get in trouble for “passing notes”. His statement referred to the fact that the hangout attendees could read and write message to each other in the chat window. Will also typed to the hangout attendees and asked them if they had any questions for the speaker and sometimes they did so we were able to ask the speaker questions from hangout attendees as well! Remote Q&A with the speaker. Cool stuff!

In this picture you can see our speaker, Will Strohl, interacting with members of the Google+ Hangout

Will Strohl interacting with Hangout attendees during the meeting

One note that is worth mentioning is that to make this happen the hangout attendees needed to turn their microphones down. I could see where some of the attendees were muting each other because they were getting feedback or their sound would steal the “stage” of the live speaker momentarily because that’s how Google+ Hangouts are configured. We just had to ensure that our speaker was the “live speaker” in the hangout and muting the microphones did this.

I will add one unique note as well. We had one DNN guy who wanted to attend the meeting. Robb Bryn was attending a meeting in the afternoon and was heading to Charlotte after his meeting. His meeting went over by a couple of hours so he was unable to make it. Though, when he found out about us opening it up to a Google+ Hangout he was able to join the hangout from his phone while driving down the road. I could literally see him in his truck riding down the road with trees passing him in the background of his driver’s side window. Eventually Robb finally pulled over on the side of the road and watched the whole meeting from his vehicle. Now that is some dedication and also some awesomeness that he was able to achieve via his Google+ app on his phone.

Richard English raising his DotNetNuke mug as he enjoys attending the meeting from afar

Richard English raising his DotNetNuke mug as he enjoys attending the meeting from afar

By the time the meeting ended we had 12 people total on the Hangout from Egypt, the Netherlands, Ohio, Cali, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, Nova Scotia, and a few more states up north. They weren’t all on at the same time and some came and went, but nevertheless it was very neat to open the meeting up and reach out to even more people via the Hangout. At the end of the meeting the guys on the hangout were all commenting on how everything went well and they said they really enjoyed it. Some remarked that they felt like they were there and that the video and audio was very clear. They could even read the text that was presented on the screen. We asked them if they thought joining the hangout added value or was beneficial for them and they all overwhelmingly remarked saying yes! They also requested that we do it more at future meetings.

The post meeting hangout summary on Google+

Ultimately the decision to open the meeting up added a new dimension to the meeting. During the meeting we had a lot of energy in the room as well as online in the hangout. There were 2 different conversations going on at the same time and it was really cool to be a part of the live & virtual meeting at the same time. I think we’re definitely going to try to do more of these in the future and I would encourage any other user groups to give it a shot so that members in your community who aren’t in the local area can also attend and contribute.

Google+ Hangouts just changed our user group meetings for the good! And with that said…be sure to tune in to our next meeting!



Why you shouldn?t host a DotNetNuke site in a sub-folder
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Skin folder structureI first encountered DotNetNuke incidentally.  The Admissions office at the University where I was employed was using an outside vendor for an admissions application and the application ran off DotNetNuke.  I had heard the term ?DotNetNuke? before, but didn?t have any experience with it.  It didn?t take long before the Admissions team asked us to add their logo into the background.  I was caught in the situation that many web/IT people find themselves...that?s the ?Hey you mess with computers so come do this? situation where you have no clue and have to learn something new to complete a task.
All the Admissions team wanted was their logo in the background of the site.  I started using the Firebug plug-in to look at the styles of the site and eventually I traced down the background image and over wrote the file with an updated image.  This was my first look into the folder structure of DotNetNuke.  Now days I can zip through those folder paths much more quickly, but back then it was a major headache.
This ?DotNetNuke? thing kind of intrigued me a little, especially since I could change the background!  I figured I would try to play around with it on the side and figure out what it was all about.  After all, another request from Admissions ?Can you do this too? was inevitably in my future.  I went over to GoDaddy and set up a hosting account with the sole purpose of running a DotNetNuke site on it.  I just wanted to learn about the framework and GoDaddy offered it as a 3rd party extension.  Within a couple of days I had a test site up and running and started my path of learning DotNetNuke.
GoDaddy installed the 3rd party extension of DotNetNuke in a sub-folder.  At the time it didn?t matter to me, but later down the road I would come to learn that this wasn?t a good thing.  I continued tinkering around with DotNetNuke on the side for a while and got a little better handle on it. I even started a new site running DotNetNuke on a different hosting install on GoDaddy.  I was making my way along until one day I installed a bad module?a really bad module.  Upon installation of this module my site crashed.  This was back in the DNN 4.9 days I believe.  I didn?t have a ton of background in DNN and I wasn?t a strong developer so fixing this was not going to be easy.  I got in touch with GoDaddy?s support and they responded ?We don?t support 3rd party applications.?  I was dead in the water.  
After hours of Googling I was able to find out how to remove this bad module via FTP.  I removed it and the site instantly came back up. Looking back the situation I didn?t really like the fact that my host couldn?t support the application that was running my sites.  I researched more and found other hosts that support DotNetNuke.  It became obvious to me that PowerDNN was the top dog in the DNN hosting world?and yes, they actually can help when things go wrong.  
PowerDNNShortly thereafter I moved my site over to PowerDNN.  When I moved the site the tech-support guy at PowerDNN recognized my site being in a sub-folder as an indicator that I was coming from GoDaddy.  He asked me if I wanted to leave my site in the sub-folder and he also recommended to me that this was not a good practice. Though, I told him to go ahead and leave it in the sub-folder because I had some good search engine results going by that time and I didn?t want to mess up / break any links I had showing up for my site.  He advised me again that this wasn?t the best configuration for the installation, but he did what I asked and left it in the sub-folder.  Yes, I should have listened to him!
After moving my site to PowerDNN I noticed that my site was loading way faster and that was (and is) awesome! They obviously knew something about DNN.  Everything was going good.  Time went by and then I learned about how DotNetNuke is multiportal and how you can run more than one site off a single DNN installation. It was almost too good to be true I thought.  I followed the directions and tried to create a new parent portal to run my 2nd site.  Fail!  I kept getting errors and I tried a couple of different times to make sure I was following the directions properly.  Finally I broke down and emailed in to PowerDNN.  That?s when I was informed that my site needed to be located at the root in order for the multi-portal feature to work correctly with the way I was setting up redirects and configuring my site.  Now, you may be an IIS guru or know a lot about domains and can make it work from within a sub-folder, but for the ?Regular Joe? like me I can?t make it happen.  
I had to bite the bullet ? I had to move the site to the root.  It?s not that I minded it being at the root, I just didn?t want to change the path that the links in search results had and I didn?t want to break every image/hyperlink that was on my site by altering the path.  Though, in order for my site to properly run more than one portal a move was necessary.  
I went ahead with my fingers crossed and requested that the PowerDNN guys move my site out of the sub-folder into the root.  I was impressed with how they informed me of what would occur if I did this.  They told me all the non-relative links would break and they let me know how long it would take them to get everything moved.  It didn't take long at all and my site was up and running in the root within the hour. They were accurate with both predictions of timing and the non-relative links being broken!  
  Broken Image
  I had to fix hundreds of these!
Moving the site did mess up my search results, but it only messed them up for a couple of days.  Google had crawled and re-indexed my site within 3 days and the new path was now showing up in the search results.  Also, the new site I was hoping to run off the same DNN instance was working the way it was supposed to?go figure!  Along with having users emailing in saying that "The site was down" (because they had the page stored in their cache with the old address), I did have to spend a whole week going back through the skin files, pages, and blog entries cleaning up all the now-broken links that I had just created for myself.  I also had to email frustrated users back telling them how to delete their cookies/temp files and to refresh their browsers. It was not fun at all, but sometimes learning comes with pain and the pain is what helps the lesson you learn stick with you for a while!
When the PowerDNN tech-support guy saw my DNN site coming from a sub-folder he knew it was an artifact of hosting a site at GoDaddy.  In retrospect I really wish I had listened to him when he advised me to not put the site in a sub-folder. I can?t praise PowerDNN?s team enough for the communications, knowledge, and support they gave me through the whole process of me learning a lesson!
  1. Don?t host a DNN site at GoDaddy
  2. Don?t host a DNN site in a sub-folder
  3. PowerDNN rocks!
Lesson learned. Don?t let it happen to you too!


JQuery Leaving Site Alert with External Link Icon for MOSS 2007
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My wife and I recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary. We went on a weeklong trip to Turks & Caicos and like any loving husband would do, I bought two books to read during our vacation!  I bought a CSS3 book and a JQuery book. Yes I?m behind in all the trends, but I?m slowly making my way.  I knew a little about CSS3 and very little about JQuery so I figured I try to get clued in some so I wouldn?t be too far behind times. 
I really enjoyed both books and I?m still working on finishing the JQuery book.  As anyone would probably do, I started playing around with some code snippets seeing what I could make happen.  I used some of the CSS3 concepts I learned here in the design of this site and started using some small JQuery snippets at work.  I began showing some of my co-workers things I was testing out and before I knew it I was getting all kinds of questions about JQuery that I had no business fielding.  I?m sure similar scenarios may have happened to you before when you start learning something new, then you mess up and show someone an example, and all of a sudden you get coined the ?Champion? of whatever it is you?re investigating and a flood of requests ensue.  Fun times.
The Task
It didn?t take too long before I was tasked with trying to figure something out for our site.  The initial task was to use JQuery to add a small icon beside any link that was an external link to our site.  This had to be done in a way to where our end users wouldn?t have to take an additional step, but rather JQuery would find these external links and insert the icon dynamically.  This would give our site visitors a better user experience, cover us in case of some rare legal matter where someone thought they were on our site and something bad occurred, and wouldn?t require any extra steps on the part of our content managers.
First Steps
The JQuery book I have has many examples, but I was looking for a specific one so I started Googling and found some very helpful JQuery snippets on various sites.  The JQuery code I ended up using was a version from that I modified a little bit. The script from Learning JQuery?s site is posted below.  

$(document).ready(function() {
    $('#extlinks a').filter(function() {
          return this.hostname && this.hostname !== location.hostname;
     }).after(' < img src [equals] "/images/external.png" alt="external link"/ >');

The main part of the code that I needed was the 

            ?return this.hostname && this.hostname !== location.hostname? 

This snippet compares the path of a link to the host site?s address and if they differ then JQuery adds an image (specified by the img src path) after the link.  This code does work, but if you notice the code is selecting links that reside in a class by the name of ?extlinks?.  In my scenario I needed the JQuery code to select the links without the users having to take an additional step and there?s no way that our end-users (literally hundreds across the organization) would be able to apply a class to a link that was external (and be happy about it).  This code got me closer, but didn?t ultimately do what I needed it to do.
I thought about it, Googled, and researched more and then tried a different method.  I still wanted to use the URL path comparison part of the script, but instead of adding an image after the link I figured I should add a class to the link.  Doing it this way would allow me to find the links and add the small icon without the content manager having to take an extra step.  So I created a class called ?externallink? with this code.
    background: url( center right no-repeat;
This style uses the external icon as a background image that sits just to the right of any external hyperlink.  This doesn?t allow for any alt text on hover, but I?ll take that rather than asking all of our content managers to apply styles to external links.  The updated JQuery script to add the additional class looked like this:
The Updated Task
Success?at least momentary? I thought.  I sent out an email with a link to an updated page to my co-workers and they started giving feedback on it.  Of the feedback the two crucial ones were ?That looks good, but can you make it pop-up a message to the users that lets them know they?re leaving our site? and ?What about some of the applications maintained inside our site, but that have different URLs.?  So my second JQuery script attempt was shot down within minutes.  Additionally, I started thinking about it and I went to test out what would happen if an image got hyperlinked and, as you would imagine, the icon was added just to the right of the image. In some cases this distorted page margins when images were using the max-width of content areas.  
There?s also one more thing to add.  The site I was implementing this script on has a ?Dev? server an ?Authoring? server (where edits are made) and a ?Production? server where the live site resides.  One other thing that I noticed was that the current script was looking at the authoring server?s URL, and since it was different, ever link pretty much had an external icon. Though, once the page was published and on the production server everything looked the way I anticipated.  This would probably raise questions to our content managers if they saw a ton of external-link icons in their editing environment. This was yet another reason to filter out specific URL paths.
It was evident that there needed to be 3 additional updates to the script:
  • It had to be able to cull out specific URLs that were still ?internal? to our site and organization even though they had different URLs
  • It had to disregard images, anchor tags, & mailto tags
  • And it needed pop-up a message letting users know they were exiting the site
The Road to the "Solution"
With the updated requests I had to go back to the starting blocks.  I always love it when that happens!  Since part of the updated request was to be able to cull out specific URLs I had to find a way to make this happen.  I ended up using some of the JQuery Selectors to filter out the href values in the URLs. If the path contained certain words that are specific to our URL then I remove the externalink class that was added & add a new internallink class to it. The newly created internallink class has an empty background image. I thought it should work without adding the internallink class to it, but for some reason it didn?t, so I?m going with what works at this point.
The additional CSS class
.internallink { background: url(); }
The JQuery
//If the URL is a "mailto:" tag (to send an email) then add the class "internal" to the link
//If the URL is an anchor(contains "#" in the path) then add the class "internal" to the link $("a[href*='#']").removeClass('externallink').addClass('internallink');
//If the URL contains "" in the path then add the class "internal" to the link $("a[href^='']").removeClass('externallink').addClass('internallink');
That code allowed me to filter out specific URLs, #?s, and mailto links.  I still had the problem of hyperlinked images having external icons added to them as well as I still needed to get the pop-up message alerting users that they were leaving our site.
The ?Leaving Site Alert?
It wasn?t too bad as far as figuring out what code to insert to give the user a pop-up message alerting them that they were leaving our site.  I used the typical javascript style pop-up message by adding the code below:
//When an external link is clicked pop-up the exiting site message
      alert('You are leaving');
This just finds any link that has been cast as an external link and adds the pop-up message when it is clicked.
Removing the Icon from Images
I struggled with trying to figure out the code to remove the externallink icons from images that were hyperlinked.  I tried and tried (and in retrospect I was close), but couldn?t figure it out.  I posted a Tweet to my twitter account and shortly thereafter Johnathan Sheely responded with the exact line of JQuery code that did the job (Insert big thanks to Johnathan here!).  The code snippet he tweeted to me was:
$("div a img").each(function(){$(this).parent().removeClass("externallink")
This code removed the class of externallink from any hyperlinked image and met the goal.  After implementing this I realized that the images still needed to have the pop-up message shown even though they didn?t need the little icon.  This was easily achieved by creating a new class (with no properties) of externalimage and adding it into the script.  This would allow me to cast hyperlinked images as externallinks, but yet remove the icon from them.  The updated script?
$("div a img").each(function(){$(this).parent().removeClass("externallink").addClass("externalimage");});
Then I just added a click function to the externalimage class and the images now had no icon + a pop-up.
      alert('You are leaving');
The Solution (as of today)
I didn?t think buying a JQuery book would get me into this much trouble.  I am by no means a JQuery guru and I think there is probably a better solution for this problem out there.  If you have any insights into this scenario feel free to post in the comment section below.  
Found 2 exceptions and needed to update the post. Inside the CMS many of the link clicks run "javascript void()" scripts.  So when someone, in edit mode, clicks the "preview" button button they would get the message "You are leaving Mecklenburg County".  To overcome this I added a line to make any a href with the text "javascript" in it be cast as an internal link by adding this line:
The other issue was similar, but I had to go about fixing it in a different manner.  When clicking the Site Actions button the JQuery script would fire the "You are leaving Mecklenburg County" message.  Took me  a bit to figure out what was happening, but the Site Actions button is using an image as the link and the script was casting it as an "externalimage"...just the way I coded it to! The way I overcame this was to filter the path of the hyperlinked image.  This image resided in a folder that had the path of " _layouts " in it.  I updated the script to remove the class of "externalimage" add the class of " internallink " to any hyperlinked image with the path of "_layouts " in it as shown below:
//If the path for the img source has "_layout" in it then add class "internalink" to the link
$("div a img[src*='_layouts']").each(function()$(this).parent().removeClass("externalimage").addClass("internallink");});
This did the trick and now I think the script is usable inside of MOSS 2007.


It's always weird to write the conclusion to my journeys because I am happy to return home yet sad to leave my newfound friends and experiences and sometimes its almost like I have a double life going on here. I would like to say thank you to all the guys on the team and specially the guys in Tyreso who took care of me (and Mario) and made the experience worth while. Just as in Finland, I have many memories from Sweden that I don't think I'll soon be forgetting. I now have a better understanding of the undying love relationship between Finland and Sweden and I have seen it and heard about it from both sides of the fence. This year, just as last year, I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet many new people and to experience a different part of the world for a few months and for that I am grateful.

One thing that is neat about going and playing football in a different country is that you are not there as a tourist the whole time, nor as a football player 100% of the time. You get to do a lot of both so I get to see things that someone on a tourist vacation doesn't (along with getting hit a few times every now and then). I get into the daily grind and see the lifestyles and culture of wherever I happen to be. This is very interesting to me. I get to see what makes the people tick. For a short period I get to be part of their life. This is a special opportunity that not many people get so though I act the fool a lot of the time I am constantly picking up on things about other cultures and layouts of McDonald's all across the world.

Another thing that is also neat to be able to experience is the fact that no matter where I come from or what I stand for and believe in ... that for a brief moment the cultural views, indifferences, and disagreements can all be let down and a group of people can put it all aside, come together, and try to achieve a goal. For me football is the means to do this. I think this tells a lot about the sport and a lot about the people who play the sport. So far, no matter where I've been or on what level I've played on this has been possible. Even complete strangers from other sides of the world can meet and form a team and make bonds that run deeper than a normal friendship and this is done in order to play the game. It's about going through things together; a practice, a game, a season, a summer, ... a museum... that creates those bonds that are unbreakable. Many people who don't play the game often don't understand this. The bonds that you make during this time are the bonds that in 2 years will have someone calling me saying " hey guess who'll be in visiting from Stockholm or from Finland at your house next month ". Many times people went out of there way to make sure we had what we needed and that we were always taken care of when they really didn't have to. Sometimes I have even thought to myself " I don't even know if I would have done that for some foreigner if he was in America " and these kind of things make me appreciative of the heart and kindness that many of the guys in Finland and Sweden have shown to me.

Thus, though we did not win the championship this season does not mean that the season was not a success both on the field and off the field. It just depends on how you define success.  And I would never have thought that a little brown ball would have led to me writing all of this. Now the question is will I be writing any more of these....that's why the story is ...

" To be continued ..."

PS: Hasse & Mario...sorry I didn't get to say goodbye before we left, but I was running around like crazy the last few days, but don't let that make you think I love you any less. And somebody tell Oliver that his Rum Coke Roll Up hat is in the clubhouse in my room before Rauge steals it.

Tack su micke Stockholm,

Cp & Mario

Weel 15 - Paul Tucker's Wedding

This week was pretty much made up of Mario and I trying to visit and see as many people as we could before we left. This week also featured the wedding services for Mr. Paul Tucker and Miss Kristina Engelstrom. There were around 20 people from the US in attendance at Paul's wedding in a very old and pretty Church in Djuresholm Sweden. The mixed Swedish/American wedding was pretty neat, specially the reception. The reception had an MC if you will and he was called the ToastMaster. Paul's wife, Christina's brother was the toast master. He pretty much ran the whole reception and would ring a bell when it was time for someone else to make a toast. The food was good and everything was nice, as the reception was held at the Djureseholm castle. One highlight of the wedding was the band that played in rotations at the reception. They were called " The All Time Players " and they were all definitely players and all wore top hats and the average age had to be somewhere around 70.   Needless to say...they rocked.

While I participated in all the wedding activities Mario was still running and working out and doing other little things. Since Paul was getting married there were many people from Pageland in Stockholm and even my parents and brother came. Pat's girlfriend Fernanda even flew in from Portugal for the occasion. So I was semi downtown/airport taxi/club guide. It was neat to be able to show my friends and family places that I have been and things I have seen. Many times when I have been overseas I have wished that I could show my friends and family certain things or share certain experiences and so this time it finally came true. Now that mama and Big Frank came over and spent a few days in Stockholm they can have an understanding of how understandable it is that I come home broke.

So everyone was leaving Sweden on the same day, but since I was flying KLM ( Royal Dutch Airlines ) I didn't have the same flights as anyone else. We had to leave the place at 4 am so Mario and I just stayed up all night. We went on a last minute mission with Chief Swole Ankles so that our stay would be complete. It was like the final piece to the Lord of the Rings puzzle or something. Then after that we were on the computer and packing until late. We stopped by the Hilton to get Pat and Fernanda at 4:30 and we also picked up some of the other people's luggage and headed to the airport. Mario flew out at 6:45 and I was scheduled to fly out at 10:35. Thus I was extremely early. Fernanda had to fly out at 4 in the afternoon so I just sat and talked with her for a while before I went to my gate. We both fell asleep on the chairs briefly. Then it came time for me to go so I left her with a 60 minute internet card to keep her busy and I headed to my gate.

On the flight home from Amsterdam to Memphis it was funny because about 20 minutes before we landed a gay flight attendant came out with a female flight attendant and they made an announcement that someone in the area I was sitting in smelled like a controlled substance. They were giving out warnings to change clothes and saying that the drug dogs in Memphis were tough. They were saying that this is a common occurrence as people will sit in those coffee shops in Amsterdam and do drugs and then try to fly the next day. I sat beside some woman on the plane that was a vegetarian, so yes, you know I was eating double all the way home. Then when I finally got to Memphis you know the first thing I did was to go get me a good greasy cheeseburger. It made me happy to not have to pay 8 to 9 dollars to get a burger.  Ahh...the US again.

I caught a plane from Memphis to Charlotte and Mario picked me up from the airport then I headed to the house only to knock out.



Week 14 / Finland (again)

The first part of this week was dedicated to trying to regain feeling in my shoulder and collar bone.  Then on Wednesday our tour guide actually did take us to the Vasa Museum.  I liked this museum more so than the military museum of Sweden and I wish I would have taken the camera because I could have taken some good pictures.  The Vasa Museum is a museum dedicated to the pride of the Swedish fleet.  The ship was pretty big and they had it displayed well as the building was constructed so you could see every level of the ship.  They had videos and tours frequently that you could watch  in English so I was able to understand some stuff about it and obviously everything I didn't understand Mario explained it for  The museum was like in low light because they said it helps preserve the ship and there were also a lot of Chinese people in the museum speaking that stuff they speak.

The tour guide said that it took  2 1/2 years to build the ship and then it sank in the first 20 minutes out at sea.  He said that there were several reasons for it sinking such as; it was too tall and narrow, not enough weight in the bottom (ballast) and there was more ship out of the water than underwater.  The carpentry on the boat was really good.  They had all of these intricate carvings all over the boat.  He also said that the king was wanting it to be the best ship and all so he kept adding things and making changes while they were building it so that threw them off a little bit.  I think the ship had everything perfect except to the point about making sure it would float.  I thought it was neat to see how they got the ship out of the water to get it into the museum.  They had divers go down there and dig holes under the ship and run ropes under it then they positioned all these ships and barges and flotation devices around it and moved it underwater to a more shallow area and then they hoisted it out of the water very slowly.  It seemed to be a very in depth process and was also a dirty job from seeing the video.  Putting all the pieces back together on the ship took a while and so they said that the " Vasa " is known as the largest jigsaw puzzle in the world. This ship was suppose to take part in the war against Poland.  If you want to know more about our tour and all that then you can email Mario at  mariodonato[@] and he will give you a wealth of knowledge. Once again Mario did not let a sign go unread.  It must have cost a lot to bring the ship out and have it on display as they charge you 4 dollars an hour just for parking.  On a side note I did play a game in Finland in a town called Vaasa if that means anything.  haha.   

The boat we road onOn Wednesday night Håkan and his lady had us over to eat again and I got the honor of cooking the desert, which I might add was a once a year delicacy.  I told him that he's lucky we are leaving or we could make this a once a week tradition. lol.  We had lasagna and salad and again left on a full stomach so that was a relaxing evening.  
Then on Thursday I couldn't resist it any longer and the opportunity presented itself so we had the shot and we took it even though we proceeded below the hard deck level.  On Thursday afternoon we set out on the Silja  line to Finland with our offensive coordinator Coach Wikstrom.  The Trojans played the Roosters in the championship game again so it was only right that we spend a few days in Turku and be present for this spectacle.  This is a picture of the boat what we traveled on.  Here are some specs from the boat in case you are a detail freak:

Passengers 2,852, Cabins 985, stories 12, Conference rooms 25, Bars 7, Restaurants 6, Shops 6, Sauna and Relax, Solarium, Etc etc...Length 203 m, Width 31.5 m, Power 44,000 hp

An interior design of the boat is below ...

Interior of the cruise ship

So as you can tell we were roughing it on the way to Finland.  This was my first time on any type of cruise ship.  Most of the time it's me and Coach Mangum in the John boat, but this was a little different. We left Stockholm around 3 pm on Thursday and landed in Helstinky at 10 am the next morning.  Note there was a time change. The atmosphere on the ship was pretty neat.

When we first got onto the ship we went to our rooms, dropped the luggage off, and then proceeded downstairs to the promenade to make arrangements to eat.  After we had reserved a time to eat then we went out on the back of the ship to the stern ( if you look on the layout we were looking from the deck at Joe's Bar ) for the takeoff and it was neat to feel the big engines start cranking.  After that we went and ate this huge buffet that they have on board the boat.  We ate regular food and some oddities that we ate were like octopus rings, herring every way you could possibly cook it, salmon, and reindeer stew.  After we ate we walked around the boat and looked around it some and then talked on the deck until the sun went down.  Coach was taking pictures during the whole evening so it was pretty cool because we have a lot of pics on the site today.  After the sun went down we went and watched some karaoke up on the stardust lounge and you could definitely tell when a Finnish song was playing versus a Swedish song.  Then after this at 12 we went and saw the nightly show that they have on board.  After the show we went up and went to sleep and when we woke up we were at the port in Helsinki.  Below I have posted pictures from the trip over and pictures from inside the ship so you can get a feel for what it looked like.

Me and Mario

Mario Me

Inside the boat Inside the boat

One hand for Sweden , One hand for Finland

One hand for Sweden , One hand for Finland

This Russian lady sang some karaoke

This Russian lady sang some karaoke

A dance on the cruise ship

A dance on the cruise ship

Now let me back up and tell you that when I found out that there was a possibility to go to Finland I sent out a blanket email to like 8 people in Turku. Within 10 minutes we already had a hotel room reserved for us in downtown Turku and by the next day we had like 6 offers to put Mario and me up for 2 days.  So a big thanks to Mr. Patrick ( HomeAmerican ) Morton for taking extremely good care of us while we were there.  I think that just goes to show how nice the guys in Turku are and now you can understand why I'm always pumping up Turku at home.  So you may be asking yourself..." wasn't Clint banned from Finland "...well that is a good question that I was worried about as well.  However there was no passport control on the ships in between Sweden and Finland so we were able to ride right on.  I say ride right on because that's what we did.  Our offensive coordinator is from Finland and so when he goes on the ship he takes his car and then drives it right out when he arrives in Finland.  It was kind of weird to ride a car onto a huge cruise ship, but that's how we got on.  They have these huge doors that open up and you can drive right in.  I got a pic of the car docks as well.  I think they also ship goods back and fourth as there were also tour busses and transport trucks parked in the bay.

We parked underneath the ship


And for all of you who are I did not tell Frank or Frances Patterson of our adventure.  It was better that they not worry.

We got into Hestinky and Coach Wikstrom drove us around for a little bit and we even revisited the Veladrome, where we took the crown last year.  We were the only people there so it was weird and talk about De-ja-vu.  The whole weekend was this way as I was going and visiting places that I thought I would never ever see again in my life.  Many of the places had stayed the same, but some things had changed.   So after this we went and had lunch with the president of the Finnish American Football Federation, as he and Coach are friends.  This guy's name is on the official league ball that they play with in Finland.  So that was neat.  None other than Mika Sevon was contacted and it  just happened that he was in town doing business so we waited on him to get through then caught a ride back to Turku with the oldest living active player in Finnish football history.  For me this was another de-ja-vu thing because last year when I first arrived in Finland it was Sevon who picked me up from the airport and on the way to  Turku we stopped at his house and met his wife and she walked out on the porch and said hello and she had a baby in her arms.  Well sure enough we pulled up and she walked out on the porch and said hello and had another baby in her arms.  It was beginning to seem like a flashback at this point.  The only difference was that instead of saying " Its good to meet you " ...she said " Its good to meet you again ".  So Mario got to know the one and only Mika Sevon on his first day in Finland and now Mario is the 2nd member of the Mika Sevon international fan club ( as I am acting president and founder ).  So Sevoni dropped us off at the hotel in downtown Turku.

We checked into the hotel and then I began to show the city to Mario.  I knew once it turned night that I would be able to find some of my friends from last year working at the doors of the clubs.  I had planned on sending them text messages when I got there, but go figure that an Ericcson ( Swedish ) pre-paid phone wouldn't let me do that on a Finnish network. So I couldn't get in touch with my friends through my phone. We went and ate a pizza buffet at Rax which is a historical spot for Marlon and I because it was the only buffet in Turku.  After we ate we went back to the hotel for a bit and watched the massacre that was going on in Russia.  Those guys are really crazy over there.  Then it was night time and we did indeed walk the streets and I bumped into like 5 people that I knew that were still working at the same places.  None of the players were out that evening due to it being the night before the championship.  We got up with my boy Enes at a club called Kåren.  It was good to see Enes again as he was one of the guys who really took care of me and Marlon last year.  He was working at some international university's welcome back party and of course we were up in there.  Man they had all kind of nationalities in there and you could see which countries/people groups had rhythm and which ones didn't.  After he got off from there we went to another place.  I think they had dedicated a club to Marlon as the name of this club was called " The Giggling Marlin "  After this we were heading back to the hotel and I had to eat just one more He'sburger before I died.  I also got Mario to eat one too.  Below are pictures from that day in Turku and some will be pointless to many of you, but for Marlon it will be neat to see so just bare with us.

Me in front of Prima

Me in front of Prima

The Street next to the Prima

The Street next to the Prima

Mario at the team bar

Mario at the team bar

Mario by the main river in Turku

The square in downtown Turku

The square in downtown Turku

Now on Saturday morning we woke up and ate the breakfast buffet and then headed to meet the bus to the game.  We rode with Patrick and his family, the president of the team, and the cheerleaders to the game.  It was a neat ride and we even stopped at the restaurant that we always stopped at when we were going to play the Roosters so once again de-ja-vu.  I talked with some of the cheerleaders that I remembered from last year so that was kind of neat.  Every one was asking me about Sweden and this season and my experiences over here.  I felt like I said the same things like a million times, but it was all in good intentions.  So it was Saturday and we were on the way to the game.  When we arrived they were in warm ups and upon entering the stadium I began to see fans, friends, players wives, and player's girlfriends that I remembered from last year so it was good to see them all again.  I even signed 4 footballs and 1 t-shirt for some fans and every time that happens I can hardly take myself serious.  I'm just cheesing from ear to ear trying to act like calm, cool and collective or whatever.  They were even giving out these papers at the game with my picture on them.  Watching the game was once again odd for me as I felt like I had just graduated and was back at Central High watching my former classmates play again.

The game was a pretty good game, but you could tell that a lot of the guys that had retired were on defense and mainly the defensive line.  The team had also lost a lot of people to injuries this season as well.  The score was 28 - 21 going into the half and I think the final score was like 49 - 28.  After the game I got to talk with Brett (the Qb the Trojans had this year) again for a minute.  So we had seen each other in Stockholm and now in Helsinki.  I felt that he played really well and did as good as one could possibly do given the cards he was dealt so that is what I told him.  The injured players on offense and defense had a pretty big effect on the team I think. I know that they had a starting TE, WR, and LB that didn't play.  So the Turku Trojans did not repeat despite a valiant effort, but nonetheless Mika Sevon was 4 - 4 on extra points and thus the legacy continues.

After the game I got pictures with some of the guys and talked with them again.  I surprised myself by remembering all of their names without even hesitating.  Also I don't know if it was something in the water, but many of the players wives were pregnant.  Maybe it was post championship happiness that led to it from last year, but either way we sat in the pregnant wives section during the  Below are some pictures from before and after the game.

Me and the Findland fellas (Enes, Suopa, & Sami)

Me and the Findland fellas (Enes, Suopa, & Sami)

Me and the Findland fellas II (Mika Sevon, Juka Satola, Mikka Riionhemo, & Kim Gronlund)

Me and the Findland fellas II (Mika Sevon, Juka Satola, Mikka Riionhemo, & Kim Gronlund)

At the championship game they gave out newspapers and I was on the cover... it was like dejavu

At the championship game they gave out newspapers and I was on the cover... it was like dejavu

Once we got back into Turku we went over to Patrick ( HomeAmerican ) Morton's house and ate pizza for a bit while we waited on the team to get back into town.  All of the players said that they were going to the Olkku which is like the team gathering place in Turku.  We then met the team at the Olkku and it was good to see the guys again all at the same time.  I even took a few snaps with Kimi (my center from last year).  After some time there we left and went to the Giggling Marlin again.  From talking with a lot of the people at the game and on the team I believe that there are more people in Finland that read my web page over here than people in Sweden.  After the Gigglin Marlin we went caught a " black " taxi and stayed the night at my ex-o-coordinator's house.  Mario got to meet a lot of the guys during this time and he and Harry P. Haatsa Malkimaki bonded over 70's & 80's music.  Here are some pictures from that.


Proof that we were indeed in Finland... this guy was struggling

Coach Perve


We got like 3 hours of sleep and then chef Malkimaki made us a gourmet, sit down, table properly set meal.  Mario and I even caught a quick Finnish Sauna ( Mario's first genuine Finnish sauna experience ) and then got a taxi into town so that we could catch the bus back to Helsinki again.  We made the bus by 5 minutes and were on our way back to meet Coach Wikstrom so we could get on the boat in time.  We got off the bus at the wrong stop of course so we decided to take some pictures in front of the parliament building while Coach had to come rescue us. Of course Mario made me take some random pictures of statues for historical purposes I guess.  Here are those pictures.

Me at the Parliament building in Helsinki

Mario at the Parliament

So we got up with Coach and then were on our way to reboard the ship.  We stopped and took a few pictures around a port in Helsinki and coach also took some pictures from the the boat on the way back.  Coach Wikstrom's below pictures are also available in a high resolution format at this link.  You can even have them printed and buy them from that site as well (in case you cared).  As we were leaving Helsinki we could see the Islands called the archipelago on the way out.  Some of these still had military remains on them and one of them even has the only submarine that belongs to Finland in the picture (Rumor has it that it doesn't work).  Check them out.



So we had arranged for the same buffet and we ate it up again and then after that we were all exhausted.  Mario and I were running on empty and Coach Wikstrom said that he didn't get too much sleep in Helsinki either... something about a championship or something, but anyways we went back to our room and we all just knocked out.  We slept for about 4 hours then woke up and went out on the deck again for some fresh air after which we returned back to the room and went to sleep again.  We woke up in Stockholm the following morning and now we are back in Tyreso.

This weekend was definitely a memorable one for me as well as Mario and the whole thing seemed surreal the way it all worked out.  I think we stayed just long enough for Mario to not be able to make me go to another museum so that was good.  Over the weekend I recognized that I can now pick out the different languages of Swedish and Finnish.  Usually in the past I couldn't tell what they were speaking, but I just knew that it was foreign to me, but now I can definitely tell what language is being spoken when I hear it.  I also got my brain scrambled with languages a few times too.  I can only say and know a few words, phrases, and the numbers, but just going back to Finland threw me for a loop in the beginning.  I was hearing Finnish and responding in Swedish subconsciously and vice versa.  For a brief moment ( in McDonalds ) I couldn't draw the line on what words were from what country, but I got it straight after a little while.  I was speaking a salad of languages and only got laughed at.  I can still speak more Finnish than Swedish and this is probably due to 2 reasons; time spent in Finland was longer and more people in Sweden speak English.

This weekend would not have been anywhere near possible if it wasn't for the generosity and kindness of many individuals.  So its only correct that Mario and I say a huge thanks to Coack Wikstrom, Patrick Morton, Haatsa, Sevon, and all the guys in Turku and Helsinki that took extremely good care of us and made it all possible.  It was definitely a trip to remember.  We were there for 3 days and we went back and fourth from Turku to Helsinki once each day so it was all a whirlwind.  As I have previously mentioned I was nominated for the " Import of the Year " award in our league in Sweden.  Well needless to say I missed the banquet.  I mean I normally wouldn't miss a function like that, but for a chance to do what all we did I would do it again without thinking twice.  Turns out that it wasn't that bad anyways because I didn't win the award.  I came in 2nd in votes and some people have informed me that going home in the middle of the season didn't help in winning so I can't complain.   So thanks again to everyone.

Off into the sunset.....Somebody say Denmark ?






Clint Patterson

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