Bing is not Google

Actually, I don't know what Bing really stands for, and I wasn't part of the branding/marketing behind it. But I am part of the team that is working on the shopping part of Bing, and I must say these are exciting times. Although not as exciting as when it is actually released (even if I will be spending all night in the office).

My favorite writeup so far.

Update: I now have a new favorite writeup. Er, video.


A great Original Six series

I'm almost ashamed to admit it took me a couple of games for me to get fired up about the Wings/Hawks series. A very different Chicago team than the last time the Wings faced the Hawks in the playoffs. No Belfour. No Roenick. And Chelios now dons the Winged Wheel. Go figure. The Hawks of old were a much easier team to hate. The reverse is also true.

Still, I like what is hopefully going to be several years of a renewed rivalry. The Hawks showed some skill, but lacked the poise and grit that the Wings have acquired over the years. In fact the Hawks remind me of the Wings teams of the late 80s/early 90s. Except they had good goaltending.

Despite the Wings domination I still really enjoyed this series. Primarily because I watched most of the Hawks/Canucks series and saw how well Chicago came back from multiple goal deficits, keeping me on edge despite nice leads.

Now on to a rematch with the Penguins, and I really, really hope the refs are not as soft on the Pens as they were last year. This is hockey, folks, Sidney (girl's name) is going to get bumped from time to time. He's not a quarterback, after all, and this is a real sport. I must say I wish the Wings were playing someone interesting the the finals. The Pens just don't do it for me.

It is still amazing this is the same organization I followed 30 years ago. Back when there were 21 teams, and the Wings were perennially one of five teams that never made the playoffs. Now if they are less than a 2 seed you call it a disappointing regular season, and anything short of the Cup finals is a choke. As big of a joke as the Detroit Lions are, the Red Wings are a model professional sports organization. Maybe they should make Illitch CEO of Chrysler.

Looks like two more weeks of the beard. By then it might actually look like one. Amy says I've set a world record for longest time without shaving and still not having a beard.


In rememberance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country

Their contributions to our great nation has preserved our freedom to do stupid things like blog and twitter.


So now I work in Bellevue

The Search organization at Microsoft is slowly but surely consolidating its entire team to the new offices being built in Bellevue. My team moved this past week to the City Center Plaza, which isn't done yet but apparently enough floors are complete to start moving the cattle in.

I must say, I think it will be nice working in Bellevue. My concern about the move was primarily around traffic and parking. In general, it is hell getting through Bellevue, the I-90/405 interchange, finding parking, etc. And that's on the weekends. I expected a workday to be infinitely worse. To my delight, I've found that traffic is not bad before 8am (nice that this entire town is a sleep-in town), and since only the first three floors of our new 26 story building are occupied, parking is not yet an issue. Although it will be in time - there's clearly not enough parking to support the entire building when it's finished.

Back to "it being nice working in Bellevue," by that I mean it's convenient to a myriad of lunch locations, shopping (Bellevue Square is a couple blocks away), Lincoln Square, etc. Nice to be in a city instead of "just a campus of Microsoft office buildings" that is Redmond. Already our team has enjoyed a fine lunch at El Gaucho and a movie at the local movie theatre (Terminator Salvation). Although having 27 Starbucks within two blocks is really annoying.

Oh yeah, nice having my own office again :)

New digs are so nice I took the family there today so they could check it out for themselves.

OMG great food in Snoqualmie!

Yes, folks, its true. Apparently there is not a law outlawing tasty food to be served by establishments in Snoqualmie.

To be fair, there are a couple of restaurants on Snoqualmie Ridge that I like - Uncle Si's Pizza and Ana's I have no problem with. But you won't find be partaking in anything from Finaghty's, Mike's, or Sebastiani's so long as I'm sober. Also, this "crappy food in Snoqualmie" thing is really more of a "crappy food in Seattle" thing. Sure, there are excellent restaurants here; however, the hit ratio has to be the worst in the country if not the world.

The other problem is that we've been recommended a lot of restaurants in the area. All as "great" places to eat. Only to find that Amy and I won't partake in a more than a couple of bites before asking for the bill. So far only two of the myriad of recommendations we've gotten have panned out.

So when Amy came home a couple months ago saying "the new Italian place in town is supposed to be the best around" I was skeptical at best, ignoring her at worst. But after securing a babysitter for Friday, and not wanting to be out too late, we gave this new place a try.

Gianfranco Ristorante Italiano is an authentic Italian restaurant nestled in a little hole-in-the-wall in downtown Snoqualmie. I don't remember seeing more than six tables in the restaurant, and two of those were two seaters. Fortunately there was a table "in the back" for us when we got there.

The first thing I noticed was that the wine list didn't have a token couple of bottles from Italy - 90% of their wine list (about 80 choices in all) was from Italy, with a generous set of choices from Northern Italy, Tuscany, and Southern Italy. We opted for a lower priced red wine from Tuscany, and even Amy - who isn't a big wine fan - enjoyed it.

I scanned the simple menu and spotted a couple things I wanted to try: their beef tortellini with prosciutto, and some dishes with the chef's "famous gorganzola sauce." I asked the waitress if I could combine the two, and she obliged. Chalk one up for the customer. And what an excellent combination. The gorganzola sauce was outstanding - Amy ended up mopping up most of it as I made the tortellini disappear. And the tortellini was perfectly cooked and stuffed just right.

So finally, Amy and I have a destination for a decent meal that's within 5 minutes of us. And their kids menu is basically any dish they make, half size, half off. Not too shabby.

Gianfranco, welcome to the neighborhood. Looking forward to dropping plenty of duckets there over the coming years.


Happy Birthday Spencer

Now that Spencer has his own email account (and uses it) and is getting internet savvy I have to be careful about my postings. Spencer had three friends over yesterday for a birthday get together, two of them spent the night, and we had a pretty relaxing day today.

Amy made a tank cake that was hella cool. Tasty too. Even at midnight. Theme was basically army, due to Spencer's recent fascination with Civilization Revolution, a turn-based XBox 360 game that Spencer is quite good at. In keeping with the spirit of the game, Spencer had swords, arrows, guns, shields, and set up countries for everyone, but make sure everyone knew they were at peace with each other. Not sure what exactly they were fighting in the backyard but they were at it for a few hours.

Spencer must be at that tweener age where the kids can supervise themselves and create their own fun together, but not at the risk of doing something so stupid that the police end up involved. As such we let the boys hang out in the playroom and watch movies until they fell asleep, while Amy and I snuck off to the backyard to enjoy the nicest evening of the year. By nicest I mean 40 degrees that felt colder than that even with multiple layers of clothes.

Spencer made out well today with loot. Lots of cash from the grandparents, he got a new bike, an awesome Nerf gun (I will be picking up one just like it so I can defend myself from his ambushes), a new Bakugan, and best of all no legos.

After an evening swim at the Pro Club we did some fine dining at Quizno's.


Pics from the Kitsap Penninsula

The family went over to the Kitsap Penninsula (which is on the west side of Puget Sound) a couple weekends ago. Learned some more about the history of the area, which is deeply rooted in naval bases, shipyards, and testing.

We crossed the sound using the country's largest ferry system.

I caught a glimpse of the recently retired USS Kitty Hawk:

Spencer was funny. Every time I took his picture about this destroyer he would take his hat off, showing respect for our military.

A shot of Seattle on our return ferry ride.

And the obligatory Mount Rainier shot.

I still can't get over that blown call

Seriously, I have been racking my brain to remember a worse call in sports. Can't come up with one. What I don't get... they didn't even try to get the call right.

As I read commentary from the league about the call, it's all about the refs discretion to blow the whistle when they lose sight of the puck. No shit sherlock. Of course refs can do that. That shouldn't be the debate. I still haven't seen anyone comment on this fact: the puck was in the net when the whistle blew. Barely, but it was still in the net. Thus, nobody can argue that the whistle affected the play.

Why this didn't go to review upstairs is beyond me. Isn't that the point of having replay in the first place? To get the call right? And why someone didn't say "well, sure, there was a whistle, but the puck was already in the net, so the whistle didn't affect the play, the Wings get the goal."

Hopefully this is the fire lit under the Wings' behinds that they need. Looking forward to tonight's game.