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Archive for March, 2005

New Backpacks

March 27, 2005 Leave a comment

Tracy and I decided to use our dividend at REI in Seattle yesterday and bought ourselves two new backpacks. The two backpacks we wanted earlier – a Gregory Shasta (4,650 cu. in.) and Gregory Diva 60 (3,500 cu. in.) – were gone except for a few extra smalls of the former. We ran into the salesman – a fellow Eagle Scout – that fitted us before and he said that he’s been recommending Osprey packs from this year’s line.

The construction was very nice and is designed to fit off the middle of your back, allowing for good airflow. Tracy’s was actually less expensive than the Diva 60, but mine was quite a bit more expensive – requiring at least 4,500 cu. in. to summit Rainier, which I plan to do next year with MS Climb (the Microsoft Climbing group). After our dividend and the 20% off, however, it was just a little less expensive than what I wanted previously at regular price.

So, we ended up getting an Osprey Cresent 85 (5,100 cu. in.) and an Osprey Atmos 50 (3,000 cu. in.). Mine – the larger pack, of course – has both internal and external compression so the extra volume won’t be a problem for our "planned" weekend excursions.

Mine did have a small fray in the stitching that didn’t seem to matter too much. My fellow Eagle Scout discounted 5% – since it was flawed but was the last pack available – and I was able to keep it from fraying any further by melting the ends of the thread with a candle lighter. Good as new, as far as I’m concerned. If it ever does become a problem, REI will fix or replace it. I love that store (especially the Seattle flagship store).

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Categories: Hobbies

I have a Confession

March 19, 2005 Leave a comment

I have a confession. For most of my life I played percussion – from trap sets to the xylophone – as well as piano. I was considered good, too, having qualified for state orchestra (though I didn’t go because it conflicted with a major debate tournament) and making Jazz 1 my first year in high school. It takes a lot more hand-eye coordination than your average "air-drummer" realizes.

But the truth of the matter is…I can’t juggle. For almost 20 years I’ve tried but just couldn’t get the hang of it. I can pass two objects back and forth but – I’m told – that doesn’t count.

This week I saw a set of three bean bags on my office mate’s (till next Friday when we get our own offices) desk so I gave it a try during my brief lunch break. My manager saw me and gave me a few pointers and generously offered to help me learn.

Finally, after almost 20 years I gan juggle three objects for a few rounds and I’m starting to "feel" it like I did with drums and piano at an early age. My manager says that’s the key: to not think about it but to "feel" it.

I already have a knack for twirling and flipping drum sticks while playing (everyone loves a great show) and flipping knives (my wife hates that). Maybe after I get this juggling bit down I’ll move on to juggling knives…

…maybe in a couple years.

Categories: Hobbies

Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest

March 18, 2005 Leave a comment

One of the reasons for moving out here was the beautiful scenery that is all around you. As the "Evergreen State", you can be sure there are evergreens all over. There are also a lot of leefy deciduous trees and flowers in bloom most of the year. In certain areas on the Eastside you can see Mt. Rainier in beautiful splendor, as well as the rest of the Cascades and even the Olympic Mountains on the peninsula across form Lake Washington and Elliot Bay.

With all the mountains another thing this state has an abundance of is waterfalls. See Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest for many beautiful pictures and lots of information about the waterfalls you can find in Washington and Oregon.

Categories: Travel

Soup of the gods

March 14, 2005 Leave a comment
Categories: Food and drink

“Robots” in Review

March 13, 2005 1 comment

Tracy and I went to see Robots tonight. We haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. If you have the chance I recommend this comedy for children and adults alike. The visual effects were stunning with ornate detail – right down to the scratches on the robots’ paint jobs. There was an exciting ride through Robot City reminscent of a contraption from The Incredible Machine by Sierra.

The only disappointment was several references to pop culture, like a short scene dancing to a Britney Spears’ song. That’s already out-dated. It just degrades the timelessness of a movie, but these references were brief and I think the rest of the movie is entertaining enough for all ages to be a classic like so many Pixar films.

…and if you’re a Star Wars fan you can catch the trailer for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I actually want to see this one and not just because it’s a legacy!

Categories: Entertainment

What I Do

March 8, 2005 Leave a comment

Some of my family and friends wonder what I do at Microsoft. A recent blog entry details some of what I do, but I don’t expect that to explain it so well.

I work in a team nested deep within Microsoft:

  • Microsoft
    • Server and Business Tools (STB)
      • Developer Division (DevDiv)
        • DevDiv Engineering (DDE)
          • DevDiv Customer and Product-lifecycle Experience (DDCPX)
            • DevDiv Sustained Engineering (DDSE)

There’ll be a quiz later.

So other teams in our organization produce the development tools Microsoft and most other companies and organizations developing for the Windows platform use. Our team makes sure that the products are servicable, meaning that patches can apply to those products. We now – under DDCPX in a recent re-organization (re-org) – also help develop and push Engineering Excellence (EE) throughout the division so that we don’t have to patch so much. It’s a tough job in an increasingly demanding market, but great strides have been and are still being made. This isn’t the ’90’s Microsoft anymore, and DDCPX is helping to develop more developer-centric relationships with developers outside of Microsoft and not just our partners.

With services like the Microsoft Developer Network blogs that have been around for a while and the many developer centers, Microsoft has already changed for the better. Our organization that I work in will help make that customer experience even better.

The Dichotomy of Seattle

March 7, 2005 Leave a comment

In "The Seattle Times: Pacific Northwest Magazine : Our Social Disease" the dichotomy of Seattle is made apparent to readers. This is a wonderful city full of polite people and beauty all around but truly settling in is not always easy because politeness is about all you’ll receive. Fortunately Tracy and I have made friends from both work places.

Categories: Entertainment