Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday at Microsoft

Friday at Microsoft

As my first week of work at Microsoft comes to an end, I'm waiting for a shuttle to take me from the main campus in Redmond to my building in Issaquah (it's where my car is at). Since Issaquah is kind of "down on the farm" compared to the rest of the campus, the shuttles only run every 30 minutes. Unlike the Redmond shuttles that run every 5 to 10 minutes.

In my first week I've learned a few things about the Seattle area, Microsoft, and some of what my job will entail. My commute from Shoreline is about 28 miles. This is pretty easy in the morning as I have been leaving about 6:30 am. The traffic is heavy but keeps moving at the speed limit. The commute home is another matter. All of the traffic going to the west side is funneled onto I-90 or state highway 520. This means that no matter which way I go, I'm sitting in barely moving traffic for over an hour. I was able to take I-90 to the 405 and then take SR522 over the north end of Lake Washington and get back to Shoreline. You may have to pull up Live Maps (gotta plug the Microsoft product) to follow that last thread.

The gist of all of this driving is that it is causing me to look seriously about mass transit options. I mean if the trip uses just 2 gallons of gas, the I've spent about $8.50 going to and from work. And for most of the mass transit options, Microsoft picks up the cost.

I'm too tired to write more so come back later and I'll write about something else.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm at Microsoft now; the family is at Disneyland

My Mom's Married

My Mom got married (for the fifth time) on June 14, 2008. It was also my Grandmother's 86th birthday. I have a good feeling about this marriage. She married her boyfriend of more than 15 years so you can assume they've seen the best and worst of each other already.

Camp Murray

For the week of June 15-20, I joined 60 of the most fabulous people at Lake Murray in Southern Oklahoma for Camp Murray for Youth 2008. An interesting point is that the lake is named after early Oklahoma governor Bill Murray and Camp Murray is named after the father of American Universalism, John Murray. Either way, it's "Murray! Murray! Murray! Oi! Oi! Oi!"

It's hard to describe how inspiring it is to see a group of high-school youth (14-19) form a community and a safe place where real human growth can take place. I could chronicle the events of each day but that still wouldn't describe the transformative experience camp had on many of the youth. It's like being there when the buds of a plant open into flowers. You don't see it very often, but when you do, it's magical.

This may be my last event as a youth advisor with the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City. It's sad but I know they will carry on. They have good support from the Minister, the church, the DRE and a great Youth Coordinator, Ann McDermott.

I'm at Microsoft now; the family is at Disneyland

I didn't quite have the trip from Hell going from Oklahoma City to Seattle, but just barely. My grandmother was in good form; complaining about whatever crossed her mind while taking me to the airport. On the flight to Denver, I was pretty well compressed into my seat. My neighbor overflowing the seat next to mine and then got annoyed at the flight attendant when she "needed" to keep her leg straight invading both the aisle and the attendant station (I was in the first row).

I got to Denver finally and found my gate. Since I had an hour I got some dinner. I had a spicy beef burrito that triggered some kind of mucus attack that left me pretty drained. After returning to the gate I see fire trucks around the plane. It seems some fuel leaked onto the ground and they weren't sure where the spill came from. It took them three more hours to find and fix the problem. Luckily I had a good book with me "Running With Scissors." It's an R-rated book (probably NC-17) but is very well written account of Augusten Burroughs weird childhood.

So I get in to SeaTac about midnight, get my bags, get my rental car (a Suzuki Forenza), and get myself to Elisa's house. I get to bed about 1:30 am (3:30 am Oklahoma Time)

The next day I spend with John, Gina, Diego and Sophia. John & Gina are friends from when we lived in Las Cruces, NM. John now works as a game programer. We did a test drive from Elisa's house to my Microsoft New Employee Orientation building and then went to a Redmond shopping area. Then it was up to Everett, where they could afford to buy a house, where we sat and talked and then ate pizza and played RockBand. I got home, and to bed, too late because I was counting the time wrong and forgot how late it really was to my Oklahoma adjusted body. I would live to regret this.

On Monday I had an upset stomach and was a little dizzy. It stopped before I left the house so I thought I was ok. I was wrong. I left at 6:30am to miss most of the morning rush traffic. Since that's 8:30 Oklahoma time I've been making an effort to keep my sleep schedule "The same as it ever was."

After jumping through the required hoops (temp parking, I-9, badge photo, and electronic info input) we were all herded into a big room for presentations. And this is when the day went to hell.

The closest I can figure is that I had a "perfect storm" of fatigue, mucus drainage into my stomach and some congestion that affected my middle ear (dizzyness, vertigo). The noise, lights, people and way too much coffee (dang that steamed milk) didn't help either. At one point I left and hurled in the bathroom. I felt better but still pretty fragile. I was able to eat a little lunch, but by 2pm I felt I needed to bail on the day. I did make it back to Elisa's where I took meds and went to bed.

Tuesday saw no recurrance and I had a pretty good day. After a half day to finish up Orientation, I was free; my new manager said to come in the next day and they'd be ready for me.

So I drove around Shoreline to help get the lay of the land. I found lots of interesting places including a park with a beach on the Sound and the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church. I'll go into the odd problem of the UU buffet at a later point.

So now it is Wednesday, June 25, 2008 and I find out just what I've gotten myself into.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Moving to Microsoft

I can blog about this now. The long and the short of it is that I applied to Microsoft for a Build Engineer position; they talked with me enough to make me an offer; I accepted the offer and now I'm in the process of getting ready to move to the Seattle, Washington area. My start date is set for June 23, 2008.

Tamara, Duncan, and Calvin will pack up the house and put it on the market. I think (at least I'm hoping) the house will move quickly. I'd like to sell the house for $200K but I know it will go on the market for much less (but not half as much).

I'm trying to work through a list, which keeps getting longer, to help Tamara get ready for the move. I'm also getting ready for my Mom's wedding on June 14, 2008 and Camp Murray, the First Unitarian Church's Summer Youth camp at Lake Murray Group Camp 3 near Ardmore, OK from June 15th to the 20th. After that I should hop on a plane and show up at Microsoft's New Employee Orientation on Monday.

So little time, so much to do.