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Archive for March, 2006

Man or Chicken?

March 26, 2006 Leave a comment
Some neighbors of ours make me wonder if some scientists’ crazy idea about us evolving from monkeys is even more crazy because these neighbors might actually have evolved from chickens.
 
They go out of their way to walk around Suzie – who I keep reminding is just an excited 5-month old puppy – or just stop dead in their tracks if she tries to go meet them. Seriously, does the picture below look like that of a killer attack dog? Keep in mind, too, that she’s only about 12 lbs. or so.
 
In other news, the little squeaky bone that my brother and sister-in-law gave her stopped squeaking. Suzie looked heart-broken. We were already looking for a replacement before Suzie even noticed, though, and Tracy gave her a new monkey just like the one Kyle and Chandra also gave her and that squeaks, so she seems to be happy. You just can’t help but to feel sad when looking at those crying eyes of the killer attack dog below.
Categories: Family

My New Assistant

March 12, 2006 Leave a comment
I’ve been tasked with more responsibility lately, because as my boss told me on Thursday he’s leaving the team. He’s been tremendous in not only turning our team around, but helping me to achieve that goal as well. He was even crucial in helping further my career, not so much technically but with interpersonal skills. You can’t get very far as a developer if you don’t have both.
 
So while I’ll greatly miss him, I like the added responsibility of attending triage meetings and helping plan for current and future projects. Unfortunately, since another key member – and friend – recently left our team I’ve also had even more on my plate. So, I figured it was time to get myself an assistant…
 
…a digital assistant. My old Compaq iPAQ 3835 died at least a couple of years ago and getting it repaired would’ve cost about the same as getting a new one since prices continue to fall. Since Tracy and I had also gotten mobile phones around the same time, I didn’t want to invest in another handheld PC (HPC) because then I’d have to invest in a utility belt and would feel like Batman in that regard. Verizon at the time had poor choices (like, 1 or 2 devices) for Smartphones or Pocket PCs so I waited.
 
I was considering getting a Samsung i730. Another co-worker had one of these but without the upgrade pricing (since I don’t qualify until the end of July 2006) it was too expensive to justify. But then on our corporate intranet I saw another deal on a different phone – the Palm Treo 700w. Even though I wasn’t in an upgrade plan, I could still get a little discount on the hardware and unlimited data for less than half of what most people pay.
 
Now, I once had a Palm – way before my iPAQ. I won it as part of some technology contest. While I hated the operating system (OS; to this day Palm OS still has its quirks, I think) the hardware was nice. Palm has been doing this longer than most – if not all others – in the industry. I was excited to hear that the Palm Treo 700w would run Windows Mobile 5.0 – a great OS. It has all the great pocket versions of Office applications that everyone knows and loves, and has the great user interface consistency and application interaction one comes to expect with Windows (something that, at least to the same degree, many other OS’s and window managers lack).
 
So while our phone plan will go up a little, the Verizon customer service guy I worked with saved us a little money in another way when I had to modify our plan a little. So the increase won’t be too much and this will me stay organized both at work and with tasks otherwise. While I’m not crazy on the quality of phones’ cameras, either, this also gives Tracy and I an "emergency camera" – a small camera that’s readily accessible in case we see something that warrants a photograph – either funny or not.

Tracy’s First Skiing Trip

March 6, 2006 Leave a comment
Today Tracy and I finally went skiing. We’ve been here through two winters (although last winter yielded very little snow even in the mountains here) and finally just decided to do it. Fortunately a coworker at Microsoft said it wasn’t as bad as a drive as I thought, so that helped. I’m used to driving in snow but not at such steep inclines, like those in the mountains!
 
We went to the Summit at Snoqualmie, which is only a little less than 50 minutes away. Since Tracy’s never been skiing before and it’s been almost 15 years for me (and only twice before that on a steep hill in South Dakota, I believe) we were going to sign her up for lessons but missed the 10 AM class by just a few minutes (the group had left but it was still a little before 10 AM). So, I tried to teach her a little. I needed the practice too, to get my "ski legs" back.
 
Fortunately the instructors did better. While she was getting lessons I skied lots. I took a huge dive the first time that was actually a little fun. People above on the lifts even screamed out, "sweet!" I guess it was pretty neat. I fell several times at first but finally stayed up and tried the little jumps they have, but not at super speed. I probably didn’t even rise a foot, but it was still fun making myself try something.
 
Unfortunately while we were there, there were two accidents on that same jump. The first didn’t appear too bad as the person was moving. Maybe a sprained leg or arm, or maybe even broken. I say that it wasn’t too bad because a later accident forced ambulances and even an air lift helicopter! I pray to God that whoever is alright, because it looked pretty serious.
 
But, Tracy never did make it down the mountain. We’ll try next time together now that she has the basics down. I belong to the old school of thought, "try, fall down, and keep trying to you stop falling down!" We’ll still work on the basics, since I could use the practice as well. Pizza and French fry!
 
It was good. We took some photos of both us and the scenery we got to experience. Truly magnificent!
Categories: Hobbies