How I spent the first 20 minutes of New Year's Eve

I learned a great many things to kick off New Year's Eve.

  • First, the rock band stage kit is hella kewl. $30 at gamestop for a fog and lightshow for rockband enthusiasts... highly recommended. The lightshow is sync'd with RockBand (1 and 2), and the fog is timed for the solo sections. Well executed novelty.
  • Second, our smoke alarms are sensitive (see aforementioned fog) and wired together so that all 6 in our house go off simultaneously. I like that, although tonight it was a little bit of a pain.
  • Third, our kids can sleep soundly through aforementioned 6 smoke alarms going off. Either that or the sound killed them. Will find out in the morning when I offer them doughnuts for breakfast.
  • Fourth, I can now detach and reattach our smoke alarms from their ceiling-based wiring harnesses with speed that rivals any formula one pit crew.

And nye is only 20 minutes old. Can't wait to see what tonight's party brings.


The end of another year

As I approach 40 these years are really starting to fly by. Not only am I amazed that 2009 has come and gone, but I am amazed that a decade has come and gone. Seems like yesterday I was trying to explain to people why Y2K wasn't an issue, that Purdue was heading to the Rose Bowl, and we were waiting for the schmucks in Florida to figure out how to cast and count votes for a Presidential election. Since then, I took down my shingle and entered the corporate world, Purdue football has gone to the crapper, and our wonderful politicians have collectively put several nails in this country's coffin.

Even before the recent moves that will allow the federal gov't to take over 17% of our economy in the name of (he he) "health care reform" (side note: I just love when the gov't creates a problem then taxes the hell out of us to fix it) I had resigned myself to the fact that our national debt load and forthcoming tanking of our dollar renders everything I knew about financial planning useless. Strangely enough, that's reduced my stress load immensely - there's nothing I can do about our forthcoming implosion, and there's nothing that I can do to hedge against it, so why worry about it?

And thus starts my annual year-in-review post. Yes, early this year, and why not... everything this year so far has been ahead of schedule, now that I have finally figured out this whole work-life balance thing. As I tell people, I'm glad I spent three years at Amazon (best business training in the world), but I'm equally glad I left. Hard to describe, but that sums it up. Microsoft is going very well, even with the current turmoil of me going through three bosses in three weeks a couple months back. I launched cashback on then-Live-Product-Search-now-Bing-Shopping, kept the site available 24x7 during the brand launch and black Friday/cyber Monday, and even managed to see my family in the process. Whodda thunk it.

The big change of the year has been sending Spencer to private school all the way in Bellevue. Actually it's more convenient than it sounds, as in May Microsoft moved me from Redmond to their new building in downtown Bellevue. I was even able to chaperone on their class field trip to the Museum of Flight. We like the school so much, and Spencer has made such tremendous progress, that we are thinking of sending Garrett there for kindergarten next year. And yes, that probably means we will start seriously looking at moving to Bellevue, even if we can't sell our current house in the Snoqualmie Ridge because the wonderful city let the developers build too many houses in the area. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

In sports, I watched the Lions continue their futility, Purdue football underachieve-then-overachieve in the same season, Purdue basketball return to its rightful spot at the top of the Big Ten, the Red Wings choke in the Stanley Cup Finals after being up two games to nil, have been to a dozen-plus Seattle Thunderbirds games to get my fix, and three Seahawks games this year. Highlight was a roadtrip down to Oregon to watch a fantastic football team against one of the nation's top teams. Strangely enough, that was the day Garrett became an Oregon Ducks fan. Because, well, they beat Purdue.

I really upped the bar on myself on hiking, tackling Mount Teneriffe, Mailbox Peak, Mount Washington (in the snow), and Granite Mountain all this year (and yeah, a couple trips up Mount Si too, but that's now just a warm up). I have my eyes set on Mount Adams this year, with a friend at work gracious enough to teach me the basics of mountaineering. Reminds me I need to get off my ass and get to the gym to drop a few pounds before my tests start in March.

Amy and I have probably enjoyed more dates this year than any year since before Spencer was born. Nice to have the kids old enough that we don't worry about them while we are out... in fact we tend to worry more about the babysitters. They're also old enough that their play room has been transformed significantly - gone are the little kids toys, replaced with the start of a game room (MY game room dammit).

Garrett has turned into quite the football afficionado, with a new favorite team almost every week (although he seems to opt for Dallas quite a bit recently). He can tell you which team has white jerseys at home and which ones wear colors at home. He can also tell you the Lions still suck. Oh, wait, that's me.

All in all a good year, I miss our friends who are now in Germany, and the boys continue to grow faster than I can keep up with them. Here's an early Happy New Year to everyone and a prosperous 2010!


Before there was corporate email...

... we used to send humor around by voice mail. I remember this bit actually bringing down our voice mail system because so many people forwarded it. This is still the funniest damn thing I have ever heard. If the entire free world hasn't heard it by now, they should. Rated R for language.

I don't know if we ever found out if it was real or fake (all evidence pointed to real).