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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