Archive for July, 2006

Whale of a Good Time

July 24, 2006 Leave a comment
After sorting through hundreds of shots we took on our day trip to San Juan Island and removing a good portion of photographs of orcas (since I was shooting orcas at 3 frames / second – none were hurt), I finally have posted a few choice shots of our trip and our encounters with J pod.
Unfortunately, with MSN Spaces I still can’t link to a specific photo album so you’ll have to click on "Photos", then select the photo album "San Juan Island". I’ve posted a subset of the images I’ve posted below. Some of the images in that album are from last year, the first of the new series starting with "Orca" – a preview shot before I sorted through all our pictures – and then "Ferry".
Categories: Travel

Today a BBQ, Tomorrow the Bite

July 23, 2006 Leave a comment
Well, technically the BBQ was yesterday since it’s 12:46 AM on Sunday. After a long day or sorting through our pictures of whales from the other weekend at San Juan, we made a 7-layer salad (more like 12 layers) and Rice Krispie treats and headed into Seattle for a BBQ at our friend’s condo with a magnificent view of Seattle.
Tomorrow we’ll likely go to the Bite of Seattle for more food and fun. If it wasn’t so hot, we’d take Suzie but she isn’t doing so well in this heat wave sweeping Earth.
I’ll post some choice whale pictures soon after today’s long selection and archival.
Categories: Food and drink

Student Drivers

July 21, 2006 Leave a comment
Twice in the last week while driving over the 51st St. bridge on the way to home, I’ve seen student drivers in commercial driving education vehicles – for those times when apparently the kids’ parents are too busy to teach their kids themselves.
Both times I’ve seen these student driver cars slow down – almost stop – in the middle of the lane to merge into the other, though they had plenty of time to do so later. One of these cars even started to stop at a freshly green light.
Now, I realize everyone has to learn, but what were these kids doing the last 14 or 15 years (or maybe even more) while their parents were driving? Playing with their GameBoys? Watching a DVD in the back seat?
Children are suppose to learn from their parents, both by example and through instruction. I watched my dad drive manual transmission in his ’69 Charger for years. One weekend when my parents were away, our Plymouth Reliant (yeah, really reliant!) broke down and I need to get to work. Reluctantly – yet, excitedly – I jumped in dad’s Charger and mimicked what he did. Within a couple of blocks I got the hang of basic shifting, and by work I figured it out (not to say it was perfectly smooth shifting). I drove a ’76 Chevy Vega with manual transmission after that through high school, and now drive an ’05 Audi A4 with manual transmission (and 200 HP at a mere 1,500 RPM!).
Tracy and I have talked about this, too. There’s so much to see outside when traveling, especially in such a beautiful state as Washington (just look at the photos on this site). Driving around the Midwest from Colorado to Missouri, and from Minnesota to Kansas there was also still things to see. Now, I can understand along some stretches where a DVD player might be handy to keep the kids quiet, but they could also read. If we do replace Tracy’s ’02 Saturn L200 eventually with a minivan or SUV (of the non-behemoth variety) and it has a DVD player, there certainly will be restrictions.
Parents: teach your kids. Kids: watch your parents. There’s a lot to learn in life and much to see and experience.
Categories: Rants

Microsoft Leadership Award

July 14, 2006 1 comment

A week or so ago I was awarded by our team with the

Microsoft Leadership award, given for now only working hard to push our team in

the right direction through education and being an expert in our domain of

Windows Installer, but also for pushing the company. Lately I’ve been working

almost singularly to get a major issue resolved for Windows XP and 2003 – on

which most of our customers on – fixed by teams in the Windows division. This

issue affects serviceability of the .NET Framework and Visual Studio, though it

took some time to portray just how badly.

That notion was underscored by our Product Unit Manager (PUM) when he mentioned

I was the most vocal of the group. What can I say? I’m relentless and a real

stinker. But, I did come to this company to note only work with the biggest and

best software manufacturer in the world, but also to change the world; and, I’m

in a team with plenty of opportunity to do just that.

For a glimpse at what I do, hop over to

Much of that information is inspired by internal issues and questions on an

internal distribution list for Windows Installer – the technology with which we

work the most – as well as problems encountered by our team. I even use it as a

training aide.

Categories: Organizations

Day Trip to San Juan Island

July 10, 2006 Leave a comment

Tracy and I got back from another trip to San Juan Island, this time armed with a better, faster camera. It was worth it. I did take over 300 shots – mostly of orcas while out whale watching with the same outfit as last year – so it’ll take a few days to sort through them and decide which ones to keep. I have, however, posted one picture that shows quite a bit of an orca – and his mother – that I hope will wet your appetite.

We also took a few pictures of madrona trees, a tree that is bright orange when its bark sheds. San Juan Island is full of these evergreen beauties. We also saw quite a few eagles but I just don’t have the telephoto lens I’d need to capture them. (Just an $1,800 birthday or Christmas present, in case anyone should win the lottory. )

We also "got lost" on purpose and wound up in Roche Harbor on the north-west side of the island, a beautiful Southern-like town right here in the Pacific Northwest. There was a little festival going on and Tracy and I bought a beautiful picture of one lucky shot. It’s actually the first art we’ve bought but I do plan on getting some of my shots framed. This is just one picture that could take a lifetime and never happen again. Visit for a look at it, from Michael Bertrand.

Besides bring back lots of pictures, we also brought back some pretty bad sun burns. We should put tanning lotion on sooner next time.

We are considering a backpacking trip to Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands. Leaving the car behind will cost less and give us an opportunity to backpack one of the nicer islands for doing so.

Next weekend we plan on camping overnight at Mt. Rainier so I can get up very early in the morning to catch the sunrise – which is about 5:15 AM here. A little later the water should still be calm, so that I won’t have to shoot the reflection of Mt. Rainier in such choppy waters as you can currently see in the photo gallery.

Categories: Travel

Worst. Fireworks. Ever.

July 5, 2006 Leave a comment

Tracy and I took Suzie out and left around 8:00 PM for Juanita Beach Park to watch the fireworks like we did last year. We wanted to go to Seattle but space is extremely scarce and driving home takes hours I’m told.

Well, 10:00 PM rolled by and still no fireworks near us – just off in the distance, like the spectacular display over Lake Union. Around 10:30 PM people started leaving, so about 10:40 PM we left too. There was no fireworks – only a lot of disappointed people. Their site read,

Starting at 1:30 PM at Juanita Beach Park ~ (9703 NE Juanita Drive) Grand Finale Fireworks Display at 10pm!

Sounds like there should’ve fireworks over Juanita Bay to me. Truly disappointing. I was prepared to take photos with a lot of tips I learned about photographing fireworks with our new camera.

Categories: Entertainment