Friday, August 26, 2005

MS 10th Anniversary & Going to PAX

We love Joe. How can you not love Joe?

When I got to work, after having slept for just six hours max, almost none of my team was in. (I haven't ever talked about my coworkers here; how odd.) The PUM (Product Unit Manager, to all you who don't speak Corporate Microsoftese) was possibly somewhere around, though I never saw him. The PM (aka Program Manager) had left for Vegas the day before. The other dev was working from home. I'm not sure what the architect was up to, but he was also MIA. So it was really just me and our ... Senior Product Manager? I don't actually know his title, and he's the least techie of the team, but he's a good guy.

Anyhow, no team anywhere to be found. And out in the hallways were a lot more employees milling around than usual, even for a Friday. Many of them had those little carnival-style wristbands, in bright blue or yellow. I stopped one of them and asked what was going on. I had completely forgotten that this Friday was the 10-year celebration at MSN: Windows 95 to 2005. So between lacking a team, the siren call of a party, and leaving early for PAX, my productivity for the day was pretty much shot.

Of course, I attended the celebration. I caught the tail end of BillG's speech to the crowd of Red Westerners — but I'm too cool for such a public BillG speech, having been invited to his house for the much smaller intern barbecue party. Pshaw. A cover band, 24-Hour Diesel, played for the rest of the time I was there. Decent music. The food was Microsoft catering, so also decent. Complimentary wine and beer were available, though I only had half a glass of red wine. A "chocolate fountain" was set up near the edge of the cafeteria, but it had a sign saying it wouldn't be running until 3 o'clock, after I would be leaving for PAX. Very disappointing, as you might imagine.

After I finished eating and hanging out at the party, I decided I'd head over to Forrest's building to kill time until we figured out how we were coordinating transportation to PAX. I tried calling Forrest beforehand to verify he'd be there, but he didn't answer. I figured he just wasn't getting reception; cell reception sucks in the buildings sometimes. Worse than Poly in places, actually. So I drove over to Forrest's building, headed up to his office... and found only his officemate Phil there. Phil wasn't quite sure where Forrest was, but he thought he remembered something about Forrest driving to the transit center to meet someone.

I called Joe, the probable "someone" Phil mentioned, and asked him what was going on. Apparently Joe had walked from the apartment to the nearest bus stop, and was now on his way to some bus stop nearish to Microsoft. When I got through to Forrest, it turned out that he was midway to my building. Gotta love good communication and planning, eh? We eventually got our coordination act together. We toured Joe around campus a little bit, showed off our company store, mocked Nintendo's dinky store, and then we headed out to Bellevue and its Meydenbauer convention hall, this year's home of PAX.

We didn't have to wait in any lines to get in to the convention, since we had prepaid three-day passes that we'd all ordered online ahead of time. We attended the Penny Arcade panel, where Gabe and Tycho spoke. They were pretty funny guys; I may try to read their posts in addition to their comics now. Later, we went to a showing of The Wizard starring Fred Savage. I had never seen this movie, which was apparently a travesty. All I can say is that it was definitely an 80's movie, and you should only watch it under the proper circumstances. *grin*

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Joe Causes Early Mornings

I hate Joe. Forrest hates Joe. Joe sucks. Did I mention I hate Joe? Joe, in his infinite airplane-ticket-booking wisdom, got himself a flight from SLO to Sea-Tac that arrived at 2:30 in the morning. On a work day. I hate Joe.

So we picked him up, like the immensively wonderful friends that we are, and took him back to our apartment. At which point we promptly went back to bed.

Note: I'm cheating by backdating this post and the others to come about last weekend and PAX. But it's been more than a week since Forrest turned 21, so that post will just be a belated one. And don't even talk to me about the Canada trip draft posts I should get around to...

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Google Talk?

There's quite a bit of buzz out on that thar internet right now about a possible Google IM/VoIP application: read about it at, USA Today, or any number of other news sites. The URL is active and redirects to a 404 at, so things are registered and set up. I'm certainly looking forward to what Google might offer in the way of IMing and VoIP...

Update, 8/24: So while Google Talk is cool in that it's integrated with my contacts on Gmail, it can't connect to the existing AIM, Yahoo, ICQ, or MSN networks where my other buddies live. So I haven't seen anything yet that will make me abandon Gaim...

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bruised by Donating

I got a real nice bruise after donating blood. The dark purple didn't come out so great in this photo — it looks much lighter than it is in real life.

Back in high school, I gave blood exactly once. I'm rather squirmy (though not squeamish) about needles, and so I stayed away from blood drives after that. But Microsoft was organizing a blood drive, complete with a bloodmobile right outside my building. Donating blood is a Good Thing To Do, so I signed myself up and went in last Tuesday.

The guy that took care of me was a young guy who'd only been working at drawing blood for a month. He was cool, though, so I don't blame him for the badness that happened. The blood flow from my arm kept stopping; he eventually called over the nurse that had been working there for 20 years to help out. An hour and a half (!!) later, my blood clotted one last time and they gave up getting the full pint out of me.

Afterward, I was sorta dizzy, even after sitting and drinking juice for 10 minutes in the bloodmobile before I left. This photo is of me lying down again, feeling dizzy back at the apartment. So now I'm even less enthusiastic about giving blood, although I probobly still will...

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Hacks & Mascot, Sign Weirdness

While my personal favorite console controller remains the SNES one, it's still pretty darn cool to turn a NES controller into a TV remote. Now if I were more into hardware... Also cool is this unconventional ship made of popsicle sticks. Wonder what kind of glue they used, that it doesn't disintigrate the moment it's submerged?

Continuing in my internet surfing, I discovered that Japanese Firefox fans have created a mascot for the browser: sample images are here, here, here, here, here, and here. Weirrrrd.

In more randomness, there is a site devoted to road signs whose numbers can be combined to form valid equations. Reminds me of a math game we played in fifth grade, but stranger. And for the last link of this browsing session: Google Mapki, a wiki dedicated to creating Google map mashups.

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ThinkGeek Stuff

Some cool new items from ThinkGeek:

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Classes, Funny Images, and More Links

This quarter, I'm taking Intro to Databases, CSC Professional Responsibilities, History of Architecture: Prehistory through the Middle Ages (a GE), and Intercultural Communication (for my Linguistics minor). It's not the Tuesday-Thursday schedule I was hoping for, but at least I have no classes earlier than noon and only a two-hour block on Friday. Polyratings has me a little scared about two of the professors, but I'll guess I'll just have to wait and see, and hope...

In linkish news, I found this index of humorous pages. I started flipping through them... 100 (out of 608) images later, here's some links to the better ones: a 404 error page, cat-based emoticons, listening-challenged n00bs, an O'Reilly cover, a Sherman's Lagoon about communication, a map of the world according to Americans and a variation on the same theme, a savvy computer user, some random pancake-bunniness, an ATM that has all your base, and real life as instant messenger. I'll get through the rest later. Good times. :)

Elsewhere on the web, blog content is being outsourced, concerned citizens are trying to spread the word about avian flu, the Ministry of Reshelving is looking for a few good reshelvers, and people are mapping wineries in the US and making hooves for themselves.

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Private Responses Only

I wrote up, by hand, an 11-page response to Tim's first post. Then I didn't type it up for two days, and now I'm questioning the wisdom of putting something so personal out on the internet for anyone to read. My friends can ask me directly about whatever they want, and I'll send Tim the post so he can see my thoughts about it, but the world at large doesn't need the nitty gritty.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Religion I Could Convert To

Hey Mom, you might want to reconsider, too! Read the open letter to the Kansas school board that started things, poke around the CafePress store (and especially this less obviously religious shirt), be impressed by the completely original religious artwork, read more in-depth coverage at Wikipedia's and Uncyclopedia's article. C'mon, Talk Like a Pirate Day is Flying Noodle Monsterism's big religion holiday, and followers can take every Friday off for religious reasons!

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One Cubic Inch of Musical, Digital Coolness

So what's a good reason not to buy the mobiBLU DAH-1500 — or more specifically, the -i Walmart version? 'Cause I'm really, really tempted...

Update, 9:29 AM: I keep searching for reviews I haven't read yet. Then I thought, why not keep a list of the ones I've seen? I'll keep said list here. If you find another one, add it in the comments (or email me with it, you anonymous coward). Also added is the official specs page.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2005


The best spoonerism ever: "foon-sped," heard today on the radio during our commute into work.

That is all.

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Sunday, August 7, 2005

Planes & Food

Yesterday, Forrest and I went to the Museum of Flight, where they have, unsurprisingly, lots of airplanes and such. It was pretty cool. The Blue Angels are also flying over Seattle this weekend, but I've already seen them in SF and Forrest doesn't want to wake up early enough to go see them, so I'll catch 'em some other time. They'll be in California during October, if I really want to go. Probably won't, though.

After the musuem (at which we got to wander through a retired Concorde), we went hunting down some place to eat dinner in Seattle. We parked in a parking garage that had floors lettered (rather than number) from A through P! The nearest restaurants were Benihana and another expensive Italian place, so we kept walking. We passed by Seattle's central library, a very unusual building. It had a small sign on its grounds stating that all its landscaping plants are watered with rain runoff from the building. Cool, eh?

Anyhow, we kept wandering, looking for some restaurant whose dinners weren't over $20. We are still starving college students, after all. We finally ended up at the Rock Bottom restaurant and brewery. This place's food was excellent*, especially the Asiago cheese dip. After we ran out of the (very tasty) bread to dip in the cheese dip, Forrest cleaned out the remaining dip with a fork. :) They have locations in Bellevue (the city next door to Redmond) and Campbell (near San Jose), so I may be going there again at least one more time this summer. Tim & Aaron: They have three locations in SoCal, if you're looking for a restaurant to go to.

In unrelated bloggy news: You can now also get to this blog via, although it just redirects here. And I added two backdated posts, about the singular of "biscotti" and Windows version names, in case you read this blog the old-fashioned way (i.e., not with RSS feeds) and may not have noticed them.

* OMG, I sound like my mother! Eep! ;)

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Friday, August 5, 2005


So there has been a reason for the lack of recent updates, after I had been so good about blogging... In case you haven't heard yet: I broke up with Tim last weekend. I've never been very comfortable with blogging really personal details, so if you require details, they'll have to be gathered via some other medium.

Tim was — and is — wonderful, and perhaps I'm just freaking out at being 21 and engaged and things not running exactly 100% perfectly... For now, I'm confused and sad and very very sorry, but I think I need to do this.

One way that I cope with upsetting situations is to try to pretend nothing's wrong... I'm probably going to be taking that tack with this, so don't expect posts that, well, you might otherwise expect.

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