Sunrise Calendar App introduces the Meet Keyboard.

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“When are you available for lunch next week?” … Have you ever spent more time scheduling a meeting over email than actually talking over coffee? … If this question makes you cringe just at the idea of the never-ending email thread that it’s about to start, you’re in for a treat.”

These are some of the thoughts that Sunrise’s e-mail, as well as their blog post, posed me with this morning. I found myself screaming “Yes! ABSOLUTELY!” with big wide eyes at my screen. Their new creation aims to get around all of that, and I wanted to be one of the first to share it with you today.

Before I share “Meet” with you, I’m going to go out on a limb here: Sunrise is officially the best iPhone app (particularly, for calendars) that I have ever used. And I don’t say that lightly. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever said that about any calendar app ever. Read more…

Pegasus.

Just…watch this.

I can’t remember the last time a video made me want to find my pup, Charlotte, and hug her any  more. I feel like, as humans, we always talk about how we don’t know how much time have left with our (human) loved ones, but what about those who we care about that are furry?

This video captures that in a wonderful, wonderful way. Keep on keepin’ on, Pegasus.

I also found this link to the story, that goes a little bit more on depth, on Buzzfeed earlier this morning. Check it out.

National Police Week.

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With everything going in the media (and please trust, the aforementioned link is but ONE, and only ONE, example of that “everything”) concerning law enforcement, I wanted to take a moment to recognize many of the law enforcement officials I know personally. This country’s law enforcement network is one of the largest, most comprehensive, and cohesive networks in the world. Thanks to having luck in the family I was born into, I am grateful to know of the most dedicated law enforcement officials I’ve ever met – my Dad.

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Restaurant Review: Pleasant Pops

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One of my favorite but unfrequented neighborhoods in all of D.C. is Adam’s Morgan. I don’t know if anyone else does, but I call it AdMo, in my mind, all the time. I think its two strongest points are great night life and great restaurants. It’s home to two of my D.C. favorites: Brass Monkey and Sakuramen.

As I tooled around town earlier today, looking for a nice outdoor space to get some work done (#TeleTuesday), I stumbled upon Pleasant Pops. Located in AdMo, Pleasant Pops is a very interesting little space. Primarily, I was struck by their fun name. I mean, come on: a restaurant that is established, apparently, on ice pops? HECK. YES. It’s not quite summer yet, but still…who doesn’t love a good ice pop?

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HESONWHEELS Restaurant Reviews.

I was on a date recently and was posed with a really interesting question: how do you feel about food? My answer, after just a few moments of contemplation was, “Well, I eat out a lot and I cook a lot.” My date was like, “wait…how do you do both?” That was when I realized that I have a serious love affair with food.

I love to try and emulate recipes that I recently tried while dining out. I also love to try and create new types of recipes, usually focusing on what I call “fast favorites,” that are simple and quick and much more speed. I also love just appreciating the talent of a good chef and the blessing of great ingredients. All of those things combined…and I think you’ve got a great opportunity to get fat. Or if you like me, the only reason you ever go to the gym is because you don’t want to get fat.

And that, my friends, is why I’ve decided to begin a Restaurant Review portion of HESONWHEELS. Living so close to the D.C. area now, I find that people are constantly asking me where are some of my favorite places to go. Why not give them a single space on my blog where they can figure exactly that out – with detail and then some!

I hope you enjoy this new portion of HESONWHEELS (we just keep growing, don’t we?!) and if you have any suggestions for places to try in the DC/Maryland/NOVA area (DMV) (or even anywhere else that I might be traveling), please let me know!

You go, D.C. Sports!

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2 Friday’s ago, I took Metro home from work and was just basking in all of the wonderful red, white, and blue around me. The Wizards were making the NBA playoffs, the Caps (at the time) were on the verge of making the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs, and the National’s MLB Opening Day was a very recent memory. I had even read an article in the Express that morning about the Redskins’ NFL draft possibilities, and potentially getting Mariotta from Oregon (WHAT!?).

So, as I walked home that afternoon/evening, I was feeling pretty jovial – because there was no other time in my recent memory when I had also been local to the area that many of our sports teams had so much … optimism! And you know how I feel about optimism. There were so many fans on the Metro, wearing the home team colors. Being a Hokie, you know how I feel about team (school) spirit, too.

So last night, as I left a gathering for a late friend, I caught a TV at the restaurant and saw that the Caps game was on. On the other side of the bar, the Wizards game was happening, and it looked like the Nats game was going to go to extra innings, too! Read more…

4/16.

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April 16th, 2007.

When someone asks me why I chose Virginia Tech after high school, that date is one of the first things that flashes to the front of my mind. I remember sitting in world history class that year – my junior year of high school – and not really knowing where Blacksburg was, even. But I was watching the coverage on the TV. Senior students were talking about how they had just gotten in…and in the weeks after they were talking about how they were going to JMU or UVA instead. Others, of course, were talking about how they still wanted to go to VT anyways. More than anything, though, I remember the carnage…blood…overbearing media interviews…breaking news updates…teenage Justin sat there wondering to himself, “What really just happened? What is the magnitude of all of this?” I didn’t grasp it.

In retrospect, the fact of the matter is that on that morning a shooter rang bullets out on-campus. Places that I’m so very familiar with, places that I have so many memories of AFTER the fact … were scarred with bullets and vicious memories… one of the most beautiful places I know in this world. A place that, still, I call home. Southwest Virginia. Virginia. Tech.

I’ve never been one to act like I was there when it happened. I don’t know that grief. I didn’t know a single one of the 32 personally. Only recently have I made great friends with someone who was wounded on that day. Since then, I’ve met many who were on-campus, many of them employees of the university, now friends and mentors of mine. I’ve bonded with many first responders and family members of the victims. Still, though: that doesn’t help my understanding of what happened there. To me, it’s the carnage that I saw on the television when I was in high school and couldn’t have pointed out Blacksburg to you on a map. But wow, how time changes things. How optimism changes things. How perseverance changes things. How Hokies change things. Because while it may be the carnage, there’s a particular part of it that I “prefer” to focus on.

I like to focus on how that amazing little southwest Virginia town and a university community came together after tragedy to help each other through a miserably tough time.

It’s my firm opinion that if not for that tragedy,  the world would not know as much about the most important thing and endearing quality about Virginia Tech: a sense of communityThat’s why I chose such a great university to be my (physical) home for 6 years.

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This photo was from the first vigil I ever attended in honor of the 32, on April 16, 2009. This was also the exact moment that I felt at home at this amazing university. Virginia Tech is a unique place.

I know for a fact that the sense of community I’m now a part of existed before that horrible, reckless day. I know that it would still exist to this day, even had that day not happened and I never set wheel on the Drillfield. Frankly, some days I wish that those events had not happened. Those 32 would, hopefully, still be with us here today.

But since 4/16 did happen then today, like every April 16th, and every other day that I proudly represent my alma mater (read: every day), I will continue to live for those 32. For their memory, for their sacrifice, and for their unwavering commitment to Ut Prosim.

On the other hand, I’ve always found it tough to derive strength from pain. Especially when said pain has to do with death. There are 32 families in this world that are not likely to ever recover from that pain. While we, as Hokies, run 3.2 miles and set balloons into the air, and have a Community Picnic…there are families, loved ones, VT employees, and others who were affected and are practically forced to relive that pain.

“While 32 of our friends and classmates are in Heaven trying to explain what a Hokie is, I stand here sure in the fact that I wouldn’t want to be anything else.”

Although miserably sad, in truest fact form, we know their loved ones will not be back on this Earth. There’s no “but” to follow that sentence. It’s a fact. How do you say “we will prevail” when there are 32 Hokies somewhere trying to explain what a Hokie even is, and their loved ones don’t get that Hokie back on this side? It’s tough. I’m still coming to terms with that myself. I think of those people so much every single April and especially so every time I set wheel in Cassell Coliseum. I have no answer.

More than anything though, I am grateful. Not grateful that 4/16 happened. I am grateful not just for community, but also for optimism. That’s what the Virginia Tech experience was all about to me. Community, service, and optimism. Community that comes together. Service that helps each other. And optimism that allows us to not be defined by a singular event like this.

You know, growing up, my parents always reminded me to live in a way that people would see me before they would see my wheelchair. They consistently reminded me that many would look at me and judge me based on the fact that I couldn’t walk – and that I should live in a way that didn’t allow them to judge me so immediately. Since April 16, 2009 (photo’d above) when I attended my first Drillfield vigil on 4.16, I decided to take that mantra even further.

Especially on days when I wear maroon and orange (read: most days), I live in a way that allows others to see and maybe even feel the community, pride, and respect that 1 little town in southwest Virginia plants seeds for, sends its residents and students around the world, having given them the tools to do any damn thing they want, hopefully in the spirit of service – Ut Prosim.

We are Virginia Tech.

“What’s a Hokie?”
“I AM.”

And I wouldn’t want to be any damn thing else.

Craig.

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Before you click “read more”, I just want to warn you that this is one of the more honest, vulnerable, and real posts I think I’ve ever written for this here blog. I hope you’ll relate to it in some way, anyways…

You know, I always feel like regrets are for people who don’t mean it. Regrets are for people who don’t take the time to intentionally, meaningfully, and legitimately mean what they do, say, or share. At least, that’s my opinion. That’s why I don’t have a lot of regrets.

Read more…