Honoring My Mom an Award Called The Judith Dirks Award

Posted on Sunday October 29, 2023 by Jacob Campbell.

On Friday, Belinda, Arianna, and I got to join my mom’s table for Elijah Family Home’s (EFH) Eighth Annual Breakfast Benefit. I have always loved EFH and the work that they do. Over the years, I often have attended many of their events. My kids loved participating in the Amazing Egg Race several years ago. I’ve gone to a few of their fundraisers and their Christmas parties.

One year, I believe it was at their first Christmas party, I was asked to play Santa Claus.

They have since found a much better Santa Clause.

A photo of my family posing with Santa Clause at the EFH 2019 Christmas Party
A photo of my family posing with Santa Clause at the EFH 2019 Christmas Party

They are a very worthy cause. Even if you didn’t go to their Benefit Breakfast, they are always accepting/needing donations. You can donate online. They have a good video talking about their Transition to Success Program and some testimonials on their YouTube - EFH, TTS Participant Testimonials November 2021.

My mom talked briefly about starting Elijah Family Homes and a few other organizations during Episode 6: The Right People at the Right Time. At the Breakfast this year, my mom got an award named after her called the “The Judith Dirks Award,” which is meant to be given to people who have shown outstanding service, sacrifice, initiative, and perseverance in the community and towards EFHs. She was the first award recipient, but in future years, it will be given to other worthy candidates.

Judy Holding the 2023 Judith Dirks Award
My mom holding her award, the 2023 Judith Dirks Award.

I am so proud of her, and she is very deserving of having an award named after her. For many years I have wondered what will be carried on after I am dead and gone. I can only hope as I continue my path working in and serving the community, that I can make some of the similar types of impacts she has made.

Beaches, Parks, and Broken-Down Cars

Posted on Saturday July 8, 2023 by Jacob Campbell.

This trip, like most, has been a blur of activities, travels, laughs, and some tears. It will all be good memories. As I write this, I’m sitting on a bus, heading to Castaic to determine how to fix our 2014 Nissan Quest. We were coming into LA after going up and down through Tejon Pass. Going up, I got a little worried about our van but assumed it was fine. The headlights were flickering sometimes, and there were a couple of times that I didn’t feel like I had the power I thought I should have. There had been an excessive heat warning ⚠️ and I saw some cars on the side of the road, but we seemed alright.

Belinda and I were talking about our family friend who is also on a family road trip in Texas, and their car broke down. I kept worrying about our car and thought about what a coincidence it would be if something happened to us as well, but we seemed to be ok. We started to see the lights of the Greater Bay area in the distance, and the kids began to ask for one last bathroom stop, so we decided on Castaic and the Mobile Gas station for a pitstop. Pulling up to the stop sign after the exit, I tried to push on the gas, and nothing. When we got out to try to push, we couldn’t make the car move an inch up the slight hill. A couple of guys pulled over and helped push us to the top of the hill.

So we left our car in the gas station parking lot, packed up a few things, and tried getting a Lyft. It took forever to get one, as initially, we wanted a larger car to all go together. Even requesting two smaller cars, it seemed like nobody wanted to drive out of town to pick us up for a like ride into Santa Monica, but eventually, we ended up with two drivers to take us to our hotel.

Map showing direction from a Gas Station in Castaic California to Santa Monica
Castaic really isn’t that far from Santa Monica and our hotel, but it took hours to get there.

Before, I get into more of what we have been up to the last couple of days in the city where the stars live (my Lyft driver told me he works in Hollywood, doing set design… maybe it is true that everybody in LA is trying to make it onto the silver screen), I’ll go back to our time in Crescent City.

We spent three nights in Crescent City. When I wrote The First Leg: Sand Dunes and Family Fun, we had been there a couple of days. A lot of this time was spent at the beach. I played with my Luna Sticks and tried to sleep. I also built sand castles with Arianna and hunted for purple shore crabs with Mateo, Alex, and Alexa. With Belinda, we tried to escape unscathed and from poison oak as we took a walk up a beautiful desert hill.

A Purple Shore Crab
This purple shore crab was probably one the largest they caught.
Jacob and Belinda in from of a craggy cliff
We climbed up this little rock hill/path. We went for a while, but kept coming to giant thickets of poison oak, and really didn’t want to go any further.

Because we were in the land of the coastal redwoods, we also had to make an excursion for a bit of hike through these massive trees. We didn’t end up going through any of the trees that you can drive through, but we took a little stroll on a trail along Prairie Creek. It was pretty, although getting the kids into hiking is hard.

Alex, Alexa, Mateo, and Arianna holding giant fallen redwood
It is really amazing how large the redwoods really are, it’s kind of mind-blowing.

While in Crescent City, we also visited Ocean World Aquarium for a guided tour and a sea lion show. It’s a nice place with lots of fun photo opportunities and cool stuff to see. You also can pet a shark.

My kids, Alex, Alexa, Mateo, Arianna inside a fake shark mouth at Ocean World
Don’t Feed the Sharks
Alex trying to save me from being skewered by a fake pirate
Alex trying to save me from being skewered by a pirate

Angel didn’t want to drive down with all of us and has taken over some for Belinda’s business while we have been gone, but he came and met us in San Francisco. Some poor planning a month ago; we planned for him to get to the airport in the morning, not considering the 6.5-hour drive we would have to make so we could pick him up from the airport and that we couldn’t check into the AirBnB. Driving through the redwood forest at 5 am is serene and beautiful.

I love San Francisco and have been lucky to come here quite a few times (see posts written here). There are a few cities over the years that I’ve been to and just really like the vibe and feel of the city and think if I was to move to a metropolitan, it is where I would go (my non-complete list includes Prague, Florence Italy, Portland Oregon, and back to Cusco Peru). I would add SF to that list.

I don’t know if I ever thought I’d say this because of my nerdy love of the company and their products, but while were there, I got tired of visiting the Apple Store. We went three different days. We ended up doing a slight phone musical chairs game and she was able to get a newish phone. On one of the visits, we got to sit in on a session learning to make our own emoji.

Kids sitting and listening to the session
They were teaching us how to use procreate to create an emoji, a pretty cool app
A emoji with a pink bandana and open mouth
Mine turned out derpy, but was fun to make.

We went to China Town, which the kids all enjoyed and were grumpy with all the walking. We spent a day at Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 were we are a crawdad boil at Supreme Crab. The kids loved the Its Sugar store. We took a million photos at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Make sure to check out the photo album I link below for some of our posing with the stars.

One of the days after eating at Alice’s Restaurant, which was delicious, we walked back to our Airbnb. It was a quiet little community, full of their terraced houses. It was so pretty. We did laundry at a laundry mat, and because Angel was with us, Belinda and I got to go out by ourselves and dance.

Terraced houses
I didn’t take many pictures of houses in we walked through, but I did take this one.

Before we left The last morning, we explored the Golden Gate Park. It is a giant park often compared to Central Park in New York. It is the kind of place I think I could go to every day, and not get tired of being there. We didn’t see that much of it, but we rented a couple of Surrey Bikes. It was fun, but I must start biking again this summer because it killed my legs. After saying goodbyes to Angel, we started the trek to the city of angels.

The Fourth of July in LA was fun. We spent the day wandering around Venice Beach and watching the fireworks from the pier. Somebody fell off the peer right before the show started. Two lifeguards ran up and jumped in after them, which I assume saved the person’s life. Crazy.

Photo of Arianna and Alex being interviewed by tiktokers
One of the biggest things that the kids have looked forward to is seeing famous people or YouTuber/TikTokers. They saw these guys filming and got to have him ask them some questions. They forgot to get the guy’s name.

Both after the fireworks and trying to get to Santa Monica from our broken down car, both took an epic amount of time to find drivers. Our kids now have experience waiting hours for Lyft cars. While waiting in a random alleyway a little from the beach, Arianna talked to almost everybody who passed by to wish them a Happy Fourth of July.

It’s taken me a couple of days to finish writing this up. We towed the van to an auto repair place. They said we would likely need a new transmission. Their expected cost is worth more than we still owe on the car, its value, or anything we could reasonably do (plus the at least week they said we’d have to wait). We towed the car about an hour away to where a friend of Belinda’s lives to get some second opinions and have time to figure things out and make a plan. We rented a car and extended our stay a few days to get the least expensive plane tickets to get everybody home. We will have to figure out what to do about the car further down the road.

Don’t be worried about us, and know that with travels always comes trouble. Change is constant, and life seems to be made up of big and small fires. Those happen not only when we are traveling but also at home. The first thing I will do, other than wish for a vacation from the vacation, is fix our irrigation system. Angel called me a couple of days ago, saying that the water wasn’t turning off for one of the lines, and I’m assuming I need to replace one of the pumps.

You can find photos for this trip at 2023 Family Road Trip - Beaches, Parks, and Broken-Down Cars. There are a lot of great shots of the kids in the wax museum and all the other cool activities we have been doing.

2023 Family Road Trip - Beaches, Parks, and Broken-Down Cars

The First Leg: Sand Dunes and Family Fun

Posted on Wednesday June 28, 2023 by Jacob Campbell.

Every summer we end up going to oregon coast for a beach trip. I’ve written previously about how it has been a good routine every summer. This year we are taking two weeks and going to on a slow moving road trip to Las Angels. It’s funny how kids thing, that they are most excited about ended up in LA, seeing Hollywood, and that sort of thing. Arianna is sure that she will meet a director and has been developing a movie sales pitch for some sort of fancy director she is going to meet and tell how they need to do a reality TV show about our family. She has also been using the GoPro to record VLOG style videos rating activities we have been doing, with Alexander acting as the camera man. I’ll hopefully get to editing the footage at some point and make a video from it.

The first leg of our trip was to Coos Bay Oregon to which South Bend might actually be the larger city. I don’t believe I’ve ever been there before, but it was nice. We stayed in an AirBnB, Downtown Warm House Apartment. The house was ok. It had everything it said it did but a pretty bare-bones house. The trip down actually went pretty well. I even found an audiobook I could get the kids to listen to. I think we will finish it before we get to LA, but it is fun that the story’s hero’s are going to the same place as us.

On the trip down, we made a stop at In-and-Out Burger, so that the kids could order off of their not so secret menu.

photo of a girl wearing an In-N-Out Burger hat
Arianna Excited with her In-N-Out Burger hat

The greasy fast food wasn’t enough junk for for lunch. The kids got so excited when we told them they could pick out their own TV dinners. I think they don’t ever get to have them and it just isn’t something we keep at our house they were super into it. The next morning, we made use of the amazing Dunes in the area. We ended up driving back up to Florence and using Sandland Adventures to go on a tour of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, as well a go-cart ride. We road on a giant dune buggy with 20 other people. The scenery is gorgeous

Photo taken in the Oregon National Dunes depicting dunes and the flora around
One thing I did not expect was in doing a tour of the Oregon Dunes was how much flora and greenery there was.
Photo taken in the Oregon National Dunes
There is also hundreds of feet deep sand that has been blown into the area over the last 100,000 years

The tour was good. I really liked the guide we had, as he gave interesting facts, information about the ecology, and giving suggestions about what to do if we came back with our own Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV). I was reminded of high school, the little Chevy S-10 pickup I had in high school, and all of the off-road driving I did in the Point and around the Tri-Cities. We didn’t end up going on the more intense and faster tours that they offer for a higher price, but we did get a couple of everybody squealing with excitement moments going down some of the larger dunes.

After lunch at the International C-Food Market Seafood Restaurant, we went to the Hobbit Trail for a short hike just down to the beach. We didn’t follow the route to the lighthouse but went straight down to the beach. After walking through a thicket, it is a beautiful reveal to walk out into a secluded beach where we played on some giant rocks looking for marine life.

Photo outside of Florence Oregon of a beach with a hilltop in the side
I find the looking at the ocean and scenery to be encouraging
Photo outside of Florence Oregon of a beach with a giant rock and kids on it
Exploring around rocks at the beach can be so much fun

We spent the next afternoon exploring a few of the national parks near Coos Bay, eating a packed lunch of sandwiches at some picnic tables overlooking the ocean at Cape Arago. Then we took a hike Shore Acres State Park along a cliff side. The kids were enammered watching some sea lions and seals laying around.

Three kids looking over a cliff
The kids watched hung out at this cliff for like 30 minutes just watching the marine mammals.
Photo of rocks in the ocean with marine mammals
The Marine Mammals we were watching

That evening we went and hung out at Mingus Park, wandering around until we were surprised by the local library holding a summer event. They brought a magician from Olympia, Jeff Evans, who put on a pretty great show. Both Mateo and Arianna ended up going on stage with him.

Yesterday we made our way to California and Crescent City. After the long travel day we just spent a little time going to the Beach, and I actually went and hung out at Sea Quake Brewing to do an online supervision session for a couple of MSW’s that are working on obtaining their LICSW with me. It made me think about how interesting it could be to do more remote work, although I still really love working in person with people. There is a big freedom to being able to work from anywhere.

I’m still not sure the best way to share an album of photos. I’ve added a bunch of photos to 2023 Summer Family Road Trip - The First Leg: Sand Dunes and Family Fun that you can check out.

2023 Summer Family Road Trip - The First Leg: Sand Dunes and Family Fun

Adding to the Ellipsis After My Name: Earning My Ph.D.

Posted on Monday June 19, 2023 by Jacob Campbell.

People that are around me, find out pretty quickly that I end up doing a lot (maybe even too much sometimes). There are a lot of things that are constantly in motion in my life. The end of the school year season is generally a hectic time. Having my two primary jobs1 be in a school setting means that there is always a lot to do at this time. This year was super chaotic with finishing and finalizing my dissertation. My weekends and evenings are full not only of work, but of doing projects around my house. You would think that because I earned my doctoral degree, maybe I don’t have to work around my house, but I’m rebuilding a patio, which is a ton of hard work. It will look good afterward, and I’m looking forward to having some nice outdoor space to use.

Photo of Jacob in his graduation regalia with Belinda in San Francisco

Last month, on May 14th (yes, on Mother’s Day), I went to San Francisco for my commencement and to celebrate my graduation from CIIS Transformative Inquiry Department. Last weekend I had a second opportunity to wear my regalia as I attended the graduation ceremony at Pasco High School. Just Belinda and I went to San Francisco. It was a fun trip. We went a couple of days before the ceremony to go and do the tourist thing.

While we were in China Town, I probably should have looked at the Yelp Reviews for the Chinatown Restaurant, as it wasn’t delicious. I just got excited to sit on a balcony. We drank islandy drinks at the Pagan Idol Tiki Bar, which had many great little sections and super cool decorations. I also got to remember how much I miss being in vibrant cities as we relaxed in Washington Square Park and watching people talk, practice juggling, journaling, and all kinds of activities. We also ate some great Tapas at Cha Cha Cha and got to wander around Haight Asbury. We danced our hearts out at Temple Nightclub. Overall, It was a great precursor as we are bringing kids on a road trip with a plan for three nights in San Francisco this summer.

Attending my graduation meant I missed my Heritage University students’ commencement, but I am so glad I went. Not just to celebrate my accomplishment, but the ceremony was wonderful. Bayo Akomolafe was presented with an honorary doctoral degree and delivered our commencement address. His message about the shush we sometimes need to listen to find wisdom was deep and powerful.

If you are interested, you can watch a short highlight reel from the event that even includes CIIS’ 55th Commencement Highlights (2023) the lively promenade we took as we went from downtown with a full band. Dancing down the street to the after-celebration reminded me of the progressions I saw in South America.

They have also posted a full rendition of the commencement ceremony. You can find my dissertation title shared, my name called, and getting hooded starting at about one hour and 39 minutes into the video. There was also some great music shared by an a cappella group that got everybody in the stands up and dancing. Even watching the graduates walk across the stage, you can see how countercultural my university is. You can view CIIS’ 55th Commencement Ceremony 2023 (entire).

Earning my Ph.D. in Transformative Studies is the culmination of four years full of personal growth and the development of my scholarship. Like many laborious processes, I sometimes wanted to give up, and I had to find the motivation to keep going. I’m proud to say that of my cohort that I started with, I am the first to have completed my degree. For all of you out there, you can make it too!

I completed the oral defense of my dissertation back in March. I’ve published the slides to my website, which offers a good overview of my research. I also recorded and uploaded the presentation to my YouTube Channel.

It is about two hours long, with about 45 minutes of my presentation describing my research, the process, and my findings. Then were was time for deliberation and questions from observers and my committee. I’m proud of the work that I have done. It was at the end of this video that my chair was able to call me Dr. Campbell for the first time, but I still had a lot of writing to do before I could finalize and publish the actual dissertation. In the next couple of weeks, I will also receive a copy in book form.

Over the last couple of months, I have been going through a rewriting process (just before my defense, I was given feedback by my committee, and I included that in the presentation). I had to add and address that content in my final written dissertation. Then I went through a technical review, which had some back and forth, and finally published it. I have chosen to publish the dissertation under an open-access license. You can read my complete dissertation A Professional Learning Community for Developing Trauma-Informed Practices Using Participatory Action Methods: Transforming School Culture for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities. I would be honored for you to look it over. I hope to start a conversation in the K-12 education system about what content educators can and should discuss in their professional learning communities. I believe there is a need to talk about academics but also to talk about trauma-informed care and social-emotional learning.

When I redesigned my logo for my website to have the version with the ellipsis after my name, I knew that I would be earning my LICSW. Now I can also add the Ph.D. to the end of my name. I’m not sure what is next for me right now. For now, I will stay at the school district and want to start writing a workbook based on some of the material from my dissertation. For now, I’m happy to add a Ph.D. to the end of my name.

  1. My primary job is at Pasco High School, working as a program social worker there. I also work as an adjunct teaching 2 to 3 classes each semester at Heritage University in their social work program. This last summer, I also started doing individual/group LICSW supervision under my Locus of Transformation business name. I have also been a full-time student over the previous four years, working on my Ph.D. 

Defending My Dissertation Tomorrow

Posted on Thursday March 2, 2023 by Jacob Campbell.

I have been working and focused entirely head down for a while now. I am getting ready to move to the next phase of my education and a culmination of the last four years of work. Tomorrow, at 8:15 AM, I will defend my dissertation via zoom. People can attend if they would like. I plan to record and post it as well. I am proud of the work I have put into my research. I also believe I am presenting some valuable ideas for school staff to think about how to learn about trauma-informed care and social-emotional learning practices.

The following is the info:

A Professional Learning Community for Developing Trauma-Informed Practices Using Participatory Action Methods: Transforming School Culture for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities

Friday, March 3, 2023 at 8:15am PST via Zoom
Join Zoom Meeting: https://ciis.zoom.us/j/92596720803

Dissertation Committee Chair: Michael Raffanti, Ed.D., J.D.
Dissertation Committee Member: Kerubo Abuya, Ph.D.
Dissertation Committee External Member: Douglas Judge, Ph.D.

Students with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD) endure adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and other traumatic experiences at higher rates than their non-disabled peers. Staff who work with these students can experience compassion fatigue, contributing to staff attrition and burnout. Trauma-informed care practices show promise in supporting staff and students. The primary method generally used for teaching about these practices is workshop-style training methods. The professional learning community (PLC) presents a learning model directed by its team but is currently centered around teachers and academic curriculum discourse.

This study uses participatory action (PAR) research methods for a small PLC to explore trauma-informed care practices. This included examining the content and reviewing practice skills. The study co-researchers included six participants working in self-contained special education classrooms, which specialize in working with students with EBD. The group was comprised of three social workers, two special education teachers, and a paraeducator. The research process included a recruitment phase, orientation meeting, entry interviews, and six dialogs conducted via online video conferencing software. Data collection was the dialog and activities included in each of these phases. The data included notes from the session, online chat functions, and cooperatively created online documents.

This study was exploratory, considering a different way of learning about trauma-informed care. There were a few aspects that are not generally implemented in PLCs. The group followed practices implemented in support groups that use a mutual aid model. The PLC was also interdisciplinary in its functioning and makeup. The PLC engaged in professional socialization to improve trauma-informed care practices. Storytelling and idea generation was used to develop an understanding of concepts. Self-care practices were identified and practiced during the group. The members also engaged in a book study to help frame the dialogs.

Keywords: Trauma-Informed Care, Special Education Services, Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities (EBD), Professional Learning Communities (PLC).

Using AI to Create a Form: ChatGPT and My Move to Mastodon

Posted on Friday December 9, 2022 by Jacob Campbell.

My connection and use of social media have changed a lot over the years. I guess there is still a highly broken page at https://myspace.com/jacobshouse that was my first foray into social media. The experience I first had playing with MySpace and adding my own HTML codes led me down the path of creating a blog first, and then my website. Even when it is neglected for a while (like mine has been without new posts for months), I consider my home on the internet to be my own domain name. My website has gone through a number of iterations over the years1.

Facebook (or Meta) is the largest social network in the world. I am still on Facebook, but I don’t look at it much. I used to post all of the time there. Most of the time I was in college, I had everything open and public. I have since locked down and made my social media more private. When traveling as a young adult, I created and shared public albums of all the photos I got from my trips. My reasons for leaving (well… more accurately described as not paying attention) are complicated and interconnected. I think, for the most part, I am just disillusioned with Facebook, and the poor ethical decisions they have made as an organization. I find the need to present a “perfect life” or something that is kind of fake to be draining. Even their focus and need for increased access to my attention and the use of ad revenue is something that I find very off-putting. I think that need for my constant attention really moved me away from Facebook. Years ago, I was getting notifications for all kinds of things that were not directly related to me (e.g., someone shared a photo, a group posted an event you might be interested in, etc. I ended up completely turning off notifications for Facebook. Over the years, I’ve stopped looking there as often, and because I do not post there much I don’t get much shared to me. It has slowly gone away, although I still log on sometimes. I think more often than my logging in, my wife will steal my phone to peruse my feed for some new content… because she has grown bored of everything in her feed.

This not being as engaged in Facebook is true for most of the social media I’m on. I still have a great number of platforms I’ve signed up for over the years, my contact page has a good list of them, but most of them are anything that I access or look at frequently. It might be fitting that I’m listening to Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention–and How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari which I am enjoying so far.

The social media I have been using mostly these days includes TikTok - @campjacob1982 (where I spent too much time lost in their algorithm. I have posted videos a couple of times as well), SnapChat - @campjacob1982 (where I am most likely to post photos of my family or daily activities), and Twitter - @campjacob (where I have been able to post random thoughts or connect with technologist or academics that I find interesting). This last one is the most recent major change I am making to my social media consumption.

Even if you aren’t on Twitter, you probably have heard about everything happening since the service was recently purchased by a majorly problematic billionaire… In some ways, I think there could be a moral argument made for people to need to move away from twitter, but I’m not one for moralizing. I’m not even sure yet if I will fully move away from Twitter… but I would like to. As a kind of replacement for Twitter, I have been using Mastodon for the last couple of weeks and have been enjoying it. You can find me at https://home.social/@campjacob/.

While Mastodon is growing fast right now, and there is a #TwitterMigration, it does not have nearly everybody that Twitter does. Some of the interesting people I listen to on podcasts and follow in the Apple community have all moved, so I’ve been able to engage that way. I have not been able to find or follow as many social workers. Over the last several years on Twitter, it has been a good experience watching and connecting with various scholars on Twiter. The other day I came across a post by @robkitchin sharing about https://github.com/nathanlesage/academics-on-mastodon

This project on GitHub is fantastic. It has so many different groups of academics from many different disciplines. Mastodon does seem like it is going to be somewhere I can follow and engage with some great minds, but on this list I was sad to see that there was nothing related to social work. Of course sociology and psychology have spaces already developed and set up, but nothing I could find for social work. After commenting on this and getting feedback encouraging me to add it myself (as it is an open project), I figured it was time to learn how to make a pull request and do just that. I’ve been using GitHub frequently for my classes (and at some point, I will write a post about using version control for my lecture notes, but that is an entirely different topic), but I haven never used it to collaborate on somebody else’s project. When you go through the assorted lists of many of the academic disciplines, most of them are just Google Spreadsheets. I made my own for social workers to be able to share their contact information (you can see Social Workers on Mastodon) along with a form for people to add their usernames and info.

Planning what potential data I wanted to ask social workers to provide and creating the form is what took the longest for me to develop. The actual pull request was so much easier than I expected. You can see Addition of Social Work as a discipline # 99, which only changes two lines of the document. At the time I am writing this, it hasn’t been merged into the main project branch, but I am assuming it will be.

It was while I was making the form, that I took the opportunity to play around with some of the most interesting technology I have ever made use of. Anybody who knows me, knows that I tend to go a bit overboard and be extremely detail-oriented for the tasks that I choose to take on. I believe that those special details that I sometimes put too much time and effort into make a disproportionate difference. As I was putting together the form, I ended up playing with ChatGPT. In the last week or so, my For You page on TikTok has been completely taken over by people talking about this Artificial intelligence (AI) project, and now I can see why. I found myself browsing the NASW List of Practices… but I don’t really like how they organize the list of practices they provide (I’m not saying that it doesn’t include good information). While I was doing this, it occurred to me ask the AI chatbot what are areas of practice for social workers. I wondered to myself if I would get anything useful, and I was surprised at just how useful it really was.

While I could have used the categories listed by the NASW’s website or even made my own list, the list that was created by the ChatGPT was really good and included the following:

  • Child and family welfare
  • Mental health
  • Aging and gerontology
  • School social work
  • Health care
  • Military and veteran services
  • Criminal justice
  • Community organizing and development
  • Disaster relief and emergency management

I added a couple more to the list

  • Social work education
  • Administration and/or supervision

While these is all things that I could do other ways, I found it so freeing to have the ChatGPT share this list in seconds. I had to use my own expertise to identify if the list was accurate and what might need to be added, changed, or removed. This question and the next several that I will talk about really demonstrate how something like ChatGPT is really the next level of humans having information at our fingertips.

In creating my form, I have inputs to accept both a Mastodon Username and a Twitter Username. I decided I wanted to validate the responses using Regular Expressions. This improves the reliability of the form I am using, so people have to put in a valid username. I have used regular expressions, but they are complex and hard to understand. I feel lost any time I try to do anything with them. I decided to ask the ChatGPT:

Create a regular expression to match the text of a Mastodon username, where it looks to match text in the format “@username@instance.name”

The chat bot gave me a usable regular expression, ^@[\w.-]+@[\w.-]+\.[a-z]{2,}$. The code provided functions to validate the usernames anybody inputs to my form. After making my request, within seconds, it provided me with a description of my question, the code above, a description of what the code was doing, and examples of matches and non-matches that I could test against. It took seconds to get something that worked. ChatGPT even used my prior questions related to social work, and added one of the positive matching usernames it provided as text that would match to be "@socialwork@mastadon.social". I could have muddled my way through creating a regular expression similar to what ChatGPT provided me, but it would probably take 30 minutes and might have resulted in me losing some of my hair.

One of the problems with using ChatGPT for this type of purpose is I have no idea if this is a good way to match my particular text. It looks good to me. I went through and tested it and tried to break it… and it works well. But I have no idea if there is a better regular expression that I could use, maybe something that isn’t quite so long or there might be edge cases I didn’t account for. I used it a second time to create a regular expression for validating a Twitter handle, ^@[\w.-]+$, and again is seems to work really well.

Artificial intelligence, like ChatGPT, will change how we work and access knowledge. This is the same refrain I have been hearing from everybody who is talking about this right now. I’m not sure what the end result is going to be or what all of the problems that will arise out of this technology, but it does really feel next level. It is also something I’m here for, to see how this goes and how it can be used. There is just a need to determine the ethics and uses of such a powerful tool.

  1. The posts I listed are a few of the major behind-the-scenes changes I made to my website and its underlying technology. I have probably spent too many hours editing and changing my website, and I don’t always write about it. I don’t even have a post that I wrote about my transition to Jekyll that happened a couple of years ago. 

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - Florida Family Vacation Starts

Posted on Friday April 8, 2022 by Jacob Campbell.

This year’s spring break is a pretty special one. Usually, during the summer, we take the kids places and do fun activities. We’ve not gotten the opportunity to go and do a lot for spring break. We usually hang out around the house. This year, we decided to go to Florida. We are planning for seven nights, which is also the longest trip we’ve taken the kids on. It has been a blast so far, but not without it own travel troubles.

Photo of Campbell/Rodriguez family with pouring rain in front of the Universal Studio's Globe
My Rain Covered Family in Front of the Universal Studio’s Globe

While the classic John Candy and Steve Martin’s Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987) had more comic relief crazy events, traveling with a large family brings its own challenges. We flew into Orlando, Florida, arriving pretty late into the evening at about 11:30 by the time we made it to get a Lyft to go to our hotel. Due to operator challenges (that means me), I took us to the wrong hotel, so it’s about 12:30, and we are in the hotel lobby, telling receptionist that I was sure we had reservations at Comfort Suites Maingate. Luckily our actual hotel, the Comfort Inn Maingate, was only another short 10 minute Lyft ride away. Our travel exhausted kids and we got to the hotel and settled in at about 1:30 in the morning, with a firm plan to catch the 7:05 AM shuttle to Universal Studio’s Adventure Island.

View of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey from the line in Flight of the Hippogriff.
View of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey from the line in Flight of the Hippogriff. From this spot, Alexander was so thirsty and frustrated from the wait that he wanted to quit and go back

After a 30-minute shuttle ride in the morning, we made it to Adventure Island and made it our first ride of our two-day adventure in the theme parks. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which was the best of the Dark Rides/simulation rides in my opinion at the two parks. I really like roller coasters, although I need to lose some weight as I fit in tightly to many of the rides. Flight of the Hippogriff was too long of a wait for how short/nondramatic the ride was. I wanted to on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure but the line was too long every time. Mateo was the only one brave enough to go on the The Incredible Hulk Coaster, which goes up to 67 MPH. We all loved The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, and the kids even rode it three times. After lunch at the Captain America Diner, we got wet on Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges and Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls (which was Alexa’s favorite ride). We also enjoyed the The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!, and The Cat in the Hat. I went with just Arianna on the One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. We did get separated toward the end, and we were al tired. I know I walked 10.3 miles (or 23,055 steps). We bought the express pass, but just for the first day. I would say that it was worth it. Otherwise we wouldn’t have ridden nearly as many rides. But we waited too long to get it, and it was pretty expensive.

After not enough sleep, we returned to it again, but this time at Universal Studios proper. My favorite land was again Harry Potter-related and Diagon Alley. Maybe it is because I listened to the audiobooks this last year and really enjoyed them a ton. I think I listened through the entire series faster than any other because I didn’t want to stop listening. I’ve been trying to get the kids into the movies (I also tried the audiobook on a family trip last summer) but have only had limited success. In Diagon Alley, we rode Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which was exhilarating, and the first time I was able to get my nephew Jose to ride a more roller coaster type ride. Alexander was most excited about Simpson Land, and I think the kids rode the The Simpsons Ride several times. Arianna is still talking about how good a Krusty Burger was even though she got scared before going on E.T. Adventure and I had to walk off and wait with her. Some of the other rides the family enjoyed were Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl which is one I can’t do, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster. Mateo and I also got to be the only ones brave enough to ride Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit which has an epic 90 degree start to going up to the first drop. I think we were also the last group that was able to ride the roller coaster as the rain started coming down too heavy. It was very much a torrential downpour, which I’ve experienced at least a a couple of times. We went to Starbucks to wait for our shuttle (which, if I had read the paper better, I would have known there weren’t two), but eventually ended up taking a Lyft back to the hotel, where we relaxed after a busy, wet, and fun day. Despite the drenching, I spent the evening playing in the pool with the kids and then trying to do a bit of homework and a late-night trip to Denny’s.

After three nights in Orlando, we headed to our next stop, Tampa/Clearwater, Florida. As we were planning the trip, I knew I wanted to be able to have some good beach time, so we bought a multi-city ticket going to Orlando but leaving a week later from Tampa. To get between the two, we got to take an Amtrak, which was a fun way to get around. After checking in at our Airbnb, Coastal Cozy Cottage B, which has been lovely so far. Today, we spent the day at the Beach, but that will be a story for another time. Until then, you can see the photos from our 2022 Orlando Family Theme Park Adventure

2022 Orlando Family Theme Park Adventure