Saturday, November 22, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
What the $2.49 for a gallon of 87 octane?
Yes, being able to fill up the same tank for under $35 sure beats the heck out of it costing $50, but it is still sad to be this excited about gas for $2.49 (when I can remember it being as low as $0.85 in Pasco ten years ago). I can still remember when my brother Evan and I could get to and from the community college by rifling through the seat cushions for loose change. I even remember once spending 37 cents on about 1/3 of a gallon of gas just so we could get home. Since Evan was the older brother with the driver license, and I was the younger brother with absolutely no shame, naturally I was the one who had to pump and pay. I never did mind that kind of thing. I guess there is just something about mustering up the nerve to throw down a quarter, a dime and two pennies on the Skoal Chewing Tobacco counter protector and saying "37 on #5 please" to the station attendant (without feeling humiliated) that ended up giving me a sense of self that you can't come by otherwise. Having to take the blank stare followed by the "you're kidding right?" definitely solidified my conviction that I HAD to not care what some people think of me. :)
There was also the time when Evan discovered a pop machine that gave out a Crystal Pepsi for 5 cents a can (to this day we aren't sure if it was faulty or not, maybe just a promotion for the new "special" cola flavor). With the 50 cents we had on hand, we decided to enter into a little business venture together. True to our usual form, Evan acted as the Venture Capitalist (the 50 cents was all his) and I the Salesman (since I had nothing to my name but oblivious confidence, nerve, ambition, a t-shirt and MC Hammer pants). The business plan? Simple: buy for 5 cents, sell for 10 cents. I remember walking up and down the aisles of the Columbia Center Mall saying to people "do you wanna buy a pop for 10 cents?" If my memory serves me correctly, we went home with 17 cans of soda and around 4 bucks. It really was the one of the happiest days of my childhood.
Anyway, I'm glad that writing about cheap (if only relatively so) gas prices gave me the chance to relive some of the memories that shaped who I am today. Hope you enjoyed as well.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Wow! The Microsoft 2008 Company Meeting was definitely an experience to be remembered. Not only was it cool to be just one of the 20,000 cheering Microsofties at Safeco Field, but it was STAR-STUDDED and ACTION-PACKED! Seriously, it was more like a rock concert than a company meeting.
First, it was hosted by the one-and-only Rainn Wilson (he plays Dwight in The Office on NBC). Hilarious as usual, he talked about how he loves Microsoft not just because Seattle is his home town, but because they are a "YES company" and told him YES when he asked to light the stadium on fire, and YES when he asked to drop a thousand beach balls on the crowd, and YES he could cover them with confetti and sparks, and YES we could have every person throw a paper airplane at the same time and set a WORLD RECORD for most paper airplanes in the air at once. His performances consisted of a bunch of skits in between speakers which were basically Dwightish performances doing anything from yoga, to martial arts, to landing on an alien planet with an un-inhabitable atmosphere. Here are some shots:
Second, Microsoft is coming out with a LOT of cool things that will royally kick our hoity-toity competitor's behinds. We're not supposed to talk about them yet, but let's just say the great innovations and features are coming out across our whole range of products from Windows, to Office, to Search, to Windows Mobile, to XBox, to Zune and more! To see what they are, you'll have to wait until after PDC in October. Just watch out Apple and Google, the iPhone and Google Search are not as invincible as you may think!
Third, we have the coolest CEO in the world. Steve Ballmer gave an extremely energetic keynote speech as usual. I don't have the video, but here is a clip from a previous Company Meeting to give you an idea of what he's like:
Yeah, he really is that nuts/crazy. He has been criticized by some for making Microsoft the bully in the playground that is the software industry, but he isn't a bully, he's just relentless. It's not like Microsoft hasn't had their fair share of competition. They have gone head to head with other huge companies like IBM, AOL, Sun, Apple, Google and many more. And in some respects, they're behind their current competitors! Microsoft just doesn't give up. And they never will. They are criticized for being too much of a monopoly. Monopolies are bad because they stifle competition. But Microsoft LIVES to compete and has competed relentlessly for decades, which has brought software to what it is today. So the whole monopoly argument just doesn't hold any water with me.
Another thing that Steve and others talked about is how for too long we have allowed our competitors like Apple mischaracterize our products. You have all seen the PC and Mac commercials. I have always loved them. Even though their message isn't very accurate, they are pretty funny. After seeing Microsoft's new ad campaign, however, they aren't so funny anymore. Here is the new "I'm a PC" commercial to show you what I mean.
After watching that, I guess the Apply commercials just didn't seem so funny anymore. Now they just seem elitist. So I want to take this opportunity to say that I AM A PC. Here are a couple pictures showing my commitment:
And finally, do not adjust your screen, yes, my Mac is a PC as well.
Click here to go to Microsoft's website and learn more on what we are doing to change the world and its perception of us.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this very biased rhetoric about my company. It was fun for me to write, because it's pretty dang fun to be at Microsoft right now at such an exciting time.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
10 Years ago...
I was going to CBC with my brother every day for Running Start and attending multiple hours of seminary. Yeah, we were pretty bored.
5 Things on my list to do today...
1. Make a million dollars
2. Post to my blog
3. Pay off my house with the $1 mill
4. Say prayers
5. Invest the rest
Snacks I enjoy...
Schwan's Brownie Ala Mode, chips and salsa, cold pizza & root beer, cottage cheese
3 Bad Habits...
1. Forgetting to brush my teeth
2. Leaving the milk out (recently acquired)
3. Not locking the front door
5 Places I have Lived...
1. Richland, Washington
2. Laie, Hawaii
3. Taipei, Taiwan
4. Pleasant Grove, Utah
5. Bothell, Washington
5 Jobs I have had...
1. Software Developer - Mundo Communications
2. Software Developer - El TORO Prepaid
3. Software Developer - Coinstar
4. Software Developer - Microsoft
5. Well Roundedness Advisor - Diversity Today
5 Things you don't know about me...
1. When I was 9 I was crushed when I got 2nd place in a 3rd grade spelling contest.
2. I like to talk alot, but the thought of speaking in front of a lot of people makes me sick to my stomach.
3. When I was a kid I used to roll off my bed in the middle of the night. One time I woke up underneath my brother Evan's bed on the other side of the room.
4. I once created a home made landmine with my friend, Austin. We used a shotgun shell, some PVC pipe and a screw. We even tested it with a rock... worked like a charm.
5. When I was a kid I had little pimples on my cheeks and I once tried to rub them off with sandpaper.
If I suddenly had a million dollars...
I would pay off our house and invest the rest. I know... boring.
I am tagging Kyle and Laura.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Well this is not fun at all. We are sad to leave Utah. I have 2 sisters, 1 brother, and a few cousins and friends that I am very sad to leave. Aimee has 1 sister, 2 aunts, and cousins and friends that she is sad to leave behind as well. The good thing is that in Washington we have family and friends too. Our parents and Aimee's sister Diana are in Tri-Cities. Aimee keeps talking about how much she is going to love being closer to her big sister. They are definitely kindred spirits. We also have friends in Seattle.
The actual move itself is going pretty well. We don't have to worry about moving our things because the moving company is going pack and ship not only all of our stuff, but our cars as well. The only stressful thing so far has been trying to sell our house. I am happy to say, however, that we are accepting an offer today, only one week after listing it. YES!!
This all started a few weeks ago when a Microsoft recruiter found my resume on monster.com. When he called me, I really didn't take it seriously because the thought of moving out of state just didn't seem to be within the realm of possibility. I don't know why, I just never saw it happening. Still, I agreed to a phone interview. The interviewer's name was Simon, and throughout the call, I couldn't shake the feeling that he was not impressed. Apparently at least one of the rumors about interviewing with Microsoft is true: they will never let on if you are doing well, so you have to try to pretend that you are so as to not get nervous and give up. A couple hours later, the recruiter called me back, saying they wanted me to fly to Seattle for a day of interviews.
Even though they were flying me to Seattle, I still didn't believe they would actually ever offer me a job. I thought to myself "I mean, tons of people interview with Microsoft so I shouldn't get my hopes up or anything". The day of the interviews came and I interviewed with some really cool people. Even though one of them said "I'm not supposed to give you feedback, but you're doing very well, I hope you join the team.", I still thought that they would probably give me an offer, but that it wouldn't be good enough to make me want move to Seattle.
The first offer came, and I turned it down, not because it was a bad offer, but because I really didn't feel like we would ever move to Seattle. Then the second offer came, with more Salary and more Microsoft stock. Again, I turned it down, assuming that they would not counter offer again. Don't get me wrong, the benefits at Microsoft are awesome: Completely FREE health care (no premiums, co-pays, or deductibles), annual stock award, bonus program, and (my favorite) 4 weeks paid paternity leave if Aimee has a baby. Still though, Seattle seemed very far away. But, when the third, even better offer came, we started planning our new life in Seattle.