Sunday, August 01, 2004

It's August Already?!?!?

Wow, it is hard to believe that my 67 day vacation is over. Tomorrow I return to work after taking June and July off for my sabbatical. What a great time I’ve had! I compiled a few statistics about what I did this summer.

  • 2 golf tournaments
  • 4 trips
  • 4 books finished (8 books started)
  • 5 Islands in Hawaii
  • 8 new golf courses played
  • 43 blog entries
  • 524 holes of golf
  • 2317 photos (totaling over 5.9GB)
  • Thousands of email messages deleted automatically

I have lots of great memories as well.

  • The first trip to Las Vegas with Leslie. We saw lots of shows and had a great time gambling and hanging out. This was the trip where I got to watch parts of the US Open from a blackjack table at New York, New York. Very cool!
  • Spending time with family. I saw a lot more of Leslie, Kate and Zach, but I also got to spend a lot of time with my parents and Leslie’s cousins in Hawaii.
  • The second trip to Vegas with the guys. Lots more blackjack and food with a fun bunch of people
  • Watching the entire first season of Alias as a family in June. The second season is scheduled for August. In fact, catching up on TV shows on DVD is really great, even better than on a DVR.
  • Snuba at Molokini. I hadn’t heard of Snuba before but it is like scuba-lite. Once I got the hang of it, I loved it.
  • The helicopter tour of the big island of Hawaii. In fact we got to see the volcanoes from land, sea and air. And the waterfalls hundreds of feet high were simply amazing.
  • Watching a Navy H-3 helicopter hovering only a few feet above our cruise ship during the rescue.
  • The PIX team beach party. OK, I went back to work for one day, but since it was a beach party at Alki Beach, I figured that was OK...
  • Celebrity encounters on Hawaii. Odd how those stick with you. I saw Kevin Bacon so many times at the Grand Wailea, I started to wonder if I just saw everyone there that many times and he was the only one I recognized enough to remember it.
  • C# lessons for Kate and Zach. Ok, we only did this once, but they were so excited by it. I really need to do this more.
  • Contact lenses. Huh. Who knew I could do that? I actually really like them now.
So what did I learn? Here are a few observations from the past 9 weeks in no particular order.
  • You can win in Las Vegas – but only if you are good at rationalization. I went to Vegas twice in June and won money at blackjack both times. If you count flights, hotels, food and shows, though, it is a very different story.
  • Sometimes, a cloudy day is really nice. After more than 3 weeks in sunny Hawaii and another week of hot sunny weather in Seattle upon our return, it was great to play Friday morning under a cloudy sky. Perhaps this is what makes me the right kind of person to live in Seattle.
  • Hard contact lenses are a cruel joke that optometrists play on people. I tried hard contacts for a week. I can’t believe that anyone buys these things on purpose. Corollary: I actually can put my fingers in my eyes. I never thought I would be able to.
  • Service in Hawaii is generally lacking. Same goes for Fry’s. Perhaps they are all just hanging loose, but I was surprised how many times employees seemed absolutely put out when we visited stores and restaurants in Hawaii. I’ve come to expect that from Fry’s where it took me three trips to get a working motherboard.
  • “Golf is not a Game of Perfect” is not just about golf. This book, by Dr. Bob Rotella was recommended to me by a member of the Harvard golf team. It starts out talking about having long term goals in life and goes on to developing the mental attitude to help you achieve those goals. For sure, there is a lot of talk about how this applies to golf but I saw many parallels to work and family life that I plan on working on in the coming months.
  • I still like writing code :). I spent some time during the first couple of weeks writing a photos screensaver that integrated with Windows XP Media Center Edition. It was fun to get a chance to do that again. It got me thinking about when I was still writing and shipping my own code and how I approached it. For example, I didn’t postpone bugs... I fixed them. I fixed everything I knew about before posting a new version for testing. I could separate prototyping for actual product coding. I think we can do this better, even in our big projects.
  • Even with two months off work, I still only got 1/2 way through my projects list. I never got around to fixing my home mp3 system, or getting my GCT working, or tweaking DragStrip. Oh well, there's always the Christmas break.

So it's back to work tomorrow. I am actually really excited because I love what I do and the people I work with. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, and trying to bring a fresh perspective. What a great summer!

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