Encounter with Bill

I had my first encounter of the Bill kind today. I was 4 feet away from him! I think I’m the first intern to see him. Greg works in the same building as him, and the closest he’s come is a run-in with the security team that watches Bill’s parking spot.

This morning, the MSN Search team got pictures taken with Bill. Supposedly it’ll be sent out in a newswire with a press release. When I get a hold of it I’ll post it.

The encounter was kind of comical. They spent 30 minutes arranging our team (about 100 people) around an MSN Search banner, then Bill walked in, waved at us, stood in the middle for a few pictures, and walked out. He didn’t even say a word. Maybe it wasn’t even Bill, but some robot clone they use for menial events. Maybe…

But anyway, I got to see Bill. He kind of looked like Mr. Roger’s, with the blue sweater he was wearing. It’s weird to think how much the man is worth, and yet he still looks like a nerd. 🙂

The other day I was wandering around downtown Seattle with Greg and Jennifer and looking at all the fancy stores and I realized that one day I might be rich (not Bill rich, but Tech jobs pay well enough), but I’ll never be classy enough to spend my money in places like that. Which is fine, there are too many other cool, nerdy things to spend money on, like a pinball machine. I’d love to have a pinball machine. I wonder how many pinball machines Bill has?

Feeling the Rush

I want to make the most of my Microsoft experience. So, this morning I decided to try something quintessentially Seattle. Right now I’m about the third of a way through my first latte. I think the caffeine rush is really hitting me hard. I don’t normally drink coffee or coke. In fact I can’t remember the last time I had something caffeinated. My eyeballs feel very strange and I think my heart is beating too fast – I can feel it in my temples. Is this normal?

2nd Day of Work

OK. I’ll keep it brief this time. I promise (Greg will be here in 5 minutes to pick me up so I have no choice).

My day so far has been a mixed bag. I got toured around and introduced to everyone. I found out what I’m working on – I’m doing work on developing tools for monitoring and simulating events on NewsBot (time to learn C# and .net). I had a good chat with Pat Copeland, the guy who interviewed me in Waterloo – he has big expectations for me. I had some problems setting up my computer – the first one had a bad video card. And yes, sadly I only have one computer ( I think Greg has 3 ), but it is a dual Xeon ( = really, really, fast). I share an office with a delightful chap named Lei. MSN must be a crowded place because a ton of people including my mentor are sharing offices. And I got to party this afternoon because MSN Search went live today. At 2:30 we got to shoot of little firecrackers and streamers into the lobby from the 3rd floor and watch as the team leads were all dunked in the pond outside. And there were complimentary snacks, beer, and wine.

First Day

Since I’m writing this right now, you are correct in assuming I survived my first day. I had just written a comprehensive report about the exciting parts of it, but IE just crashed on me. It’s good to know that even at Microsoft IE still crashes. On the bright side, you know get to read the abridged version of my first day.

So, yesterday was New Employee Orientation (NEO). Supposedly every Monday they have a NEO for about 50 people. That’s 50 new people at Microsoft every day. When I stop and realize there are 27,000 MS employees right here in the Seattle area, that’s not that surprising anymore.

NEO wasn’t that eventful. They threw a lot of info at us, gave us ID badges, and fed us really well. Some interesting tidbits: They don’t like open source software. “Microsoft Married” = my favourite phrase of the day. This place is huge! There are 83 buildings here in the Seattle area with shuttles that run between them.

After NEO we were supposed to get in contact with our managers and setup our offices. I couldn’t get ahold of my manager by phone, so I decided to drive down to my building. I’m working in Redmond West, which is about 10 minutes away from the main campus and is where all the MSN teams are.

My manager wasn’t there, so I wandered around and then headed back to Greg’s building so we could go drop off my rental car and pick up his. He was busy meeting with his team and told me I was on my own. So, I lost my ride back home and Greg lost his ride to the car rental place. But I needed to return the car, so I went off anyway. Luckily Avis has a guy who drives people around and he drove me back home.

Now, I still hadn’t met my manager or anyone on my team, so I was starting to worry. But if I went back to work, I had no way of getting back home. I figured I’d call from home and straighten everything out.

When I got home, I realized I forgot my keys. I tried finding a hidden spare key everywhere, but no dice. I even considered breaking in through the balcony in the back, but there were too many neighbours by their windows. So, I left Greg a note and went shopping. I also called my manager from a payphone – still no answer, so I asked her to call me at home.

When I got back around 6:00, still no Greg. So I wandered around the back again. It was dark now and there were fewer neighbours by their windows. I really didn’t want a run in the with the local police, but I was getting hungry, so I decided to do my best commando routine and scale the wall. I managed to jump up and grab the bottom of the balcony railings and somehow pull myself up and over the railing. Then I quickly opened our balcony door and disappeared inside.

Before I could celebrate my daring entrance, the phone rang. I had been caught…Actually it was my manager. She was sick all day and had just got into work. After talking to her for a bit, I hung up and started to make dinner. Then the phone rang again. Greg this time. So, in the end no police.

OK. That wasn’t that abridged. But I did have to retype it.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

I’m off to the Emerald City tomorrow. Should the beginning of a grand adventure. My flight leaves early tomorrow morning and I arrive in Seattle around noon (30 minutes before Greg). Then we’re driving down to our condo in Redmond. I’m a little nervous about clearing customs and will feel better once I’m settled in our new place. Work starts on Monday morning.

I had a great stay in Winnipeg. It was great seeing everyone and spending time with the family and Roxie, Allison, Erinn, and the whole crew at Lorie’s. Unfortunately it will be close to 6 months until I’m back in the Peg – I’ll miss you all.

I don’t have a laptop or a digital camera yet. Once I get my first paycheck I’m going shopping. So you’ll have to wait until then for some pictures.

New Look

I got my braces off this morning and it feels great!

The new look …
No Braces

You’ll have to excuse the rosy cheeks and glistening nostrils – the picutre is taken after walking from the bus stop in the frigid cold.

I have to go back this afternoon to get my retainer. Joy.

In other news, I haven’t started work yet. Don’t start until the 17th. I’ve been filling my time with an addiction to an online game, Eternal Realms. I now know why people call these games things like EverCrack. It’s fun, but way too addictive.

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