Monday, April 30, 2007

Department of Huh?

We just got a Sharper Image catalog in the mail. Not sure why - we never buy anything from there.

On the front of the catalog, and spanning first few pages there are pictures of Donald Trump and steaks. Very odd, he's selling everything now: Trump Steaks Classic Collection

I mean, really, who wants to buy meat from him?

Yo! Can you Yo-Yo?

Simply amazing. I'm sure if I knew anything about yo-yo tricks I'd be even more amazed. All I can do is around-the world and the rock the cradle.

1st with one yo-yo

1st with two yo-yo's

Sunday, April 29, 2007

iBike WW18 (1)

Today we took a family bike ride to the club for family swim. The sun was out, and we didn't feel like doing any more yardwork, so we hitched up the trailer and biked.

Which means I also got my first bike ride in for the week. Nice and leisurely, about 45 minutes.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

iBike WW17 (1)

Nice ride on the last day of the week. I took Simone out toward Fitton Green, which meant some nice climbing at the end (of the way out).

The ride was 45 minutes, not sure how long.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


A faithful reader of my blog pointed out that my recent posts about the whole job situation make it sound like I'm (we're) only staying because Mary wants to stay.

Let me clarify that. We both love living in Corvallis and would prefer continue living here and want to raise Simone here. Mary does have a good circle of friends and community here, and mine is less developed - but that's mostly because I work from home, and it's only been in the last year that I didn't spend half of the week up in Portland every week.

I love the co-op, the biking, the size (yeah, I didn't think I'd like that), our house, our friends, the local events, the Saturday market, etc. etc. etc.

I don't even know where I'd want to live if we were to move back to Portland. Corvallis is HOME and that's where we want to stay.

We may end up deciding to move (perhaps I get an exciting job at Google, perhaps I decide Intel is the place for me, perhaps something else), but staying is our priority.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Job Update

If you've been following the blog, you'll remember that the wise leaders at work gave me an ultimatum, move or quit. A week and a half ago I had a meeting with my boss's boss's boss (and then my boss's boss the day after). I've not been keeping folks up to date.

Well, the first meeting went pretty well. He was the first boss to immediately realize what moving would do to Mary's practice (translation: she'd start over from nothing), which most people seem to not get. So, I think he got a good impression of me and why I want to remain in Corvallis. However, he definitely made his point that he was sort of stuck in the middle of having to implement a given policy, yet protect his workers.

The second meeting was fine. I asked up front if it would have any bearing on whether I would get an exemption from the rule or not, and it wouldn't, so I relaxed and just chatted about things. I'm a little cheesed that this boss isn't doing more to stand up for me, but it's not personal - he doesn't make waves period.

One unexpected thing came out of the second meeting, he (and my direct boss) were evidentially surprised as to my reaction to the ultimatum. (Hi boss!) I wasn't quite sure how to react to that. But I pointed out that there really was no point in reacting to vague rumors about something that might or might not apply to me.

Still, wouldn't I have moved earlier (say, some time in the past 7 years) if moving back to Portland was something I'd wanted to do? Ahem, sorry, "we'd" wanted to do, after all, it is a decision for both me and Mary. The boss^3 gave the impression he understood the interplay between a husband and wife, and the other boss's do too. Some of the folks I work with just don't get it though. I've a feeling that a number of them don't really care what their wives think about something like this and would expect the wife to uproot and move without thinking.

Anyway, the status is that I don't know any more than I did before. The boss's are going to try for an exception (I believe), but I've not heard 100% sure that's the case. And there's no ETA on when an exception might be granted or denied.

To make matters more complicated, I know of one guy in the department who hasn't been given the ultimatum (similar situation to mine), and I've not received anything in writing.

And, irony of ironies, in a company-wide meeting the CEO was asked if Intel was gonna let people telecommute more and his response was essentially, "yes, and we're ranked #1 in telecommuting companies." I'm still waiting to listen to the meeting (Intel is slow in getting the recording up).

Meanwhile, I've got my resume pretty much done. I chatted with a friend in Corvallis who gave some leads on companies in the area. I looked them up and some sound like they might be interesting. My friend is going to set up some meetings with the CEOs of a couple of them (they're small companies). I've also got a lead on an interesting job at Mentor Graphics working on software similar to what I'm doing right now, and I've got a lead with another CAD software company and expect to have a meeting with a VP there in a week or so.

I'm going to try to get an interview at Google, and we'd consider moving to California for a job there. Neither of us are crazy about living in the area Google is, but it's a dream company.

The #1 goal is to stay in Corvallis - all things being equal. However, if I can't stay here (either through getting an exception to the policy at Intel, getting a job locally, or getting one where I can telecommute), we'll consider moving. That being said, Portland won't be the only place we'll consider moving - all options are open.

Heck, I've even briefly considered teaching - I wanted to be a teacher when I was going into college...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Running With Simone

I went on a run today with Simone. She's pretty quick for someone who can't quite yet get to her feet on her own.

I'm trying to build up my running so that the next triathlon isn't so painful. That means three times a week, building up to 12 miles a week. It's not my favorite thing to do, but I think it's necessary to improve my triathlon times. Plus, if I ever hope to run an Olympic triathlon, I've got to be able to run 6 miles without dying.

Anyway, Mary is out partying with some gal friends, so I thought I'd take Simone out for a jog. It'd been a lazy day for me and her so far, we'd not even left the house (it's raining pretty constantly). I set her up in the Burley with toys and pillows and a blanket and begin to jog. At my turnaround point I checked to see how she was doing, and it turns out she fell fast asleep.

Half-way back I reach up to rub my eye and I poke my contact out of my eye. Gaaah! I lose a contact while running, and it's been raining so the ground is wet. Talk about a needle in a haystack. Plus, I was running (super fast dontcha know) so I don't even know where it fell. Long, not so exciting, story short, I do find it on the path, and after a quick rinse in my mouth, back in it goes. Simone sleeps through the drama of it all, happily asleep.

If only I could feel as peaceful running as she looked sleeping.

iBike WW16 (1)

Took a lovely ride with Simone yesterday, through the covered bridge and Bald Hill, out toward Oak Creek, and over Witham Hill. She fell asleep at the end.

Time: 1 hour, distance: 13.2 miles

Friday, April 20, 2007

First Ever Self-Sleep

Simone fell asleep (for the night) all on her own tonight.

We usually either rock her to sleep or nurse her to sleep (well, I don't do the latter, lacking the necessary parts). But tonight, Mary was at a business networking meeting, and I was trying to cook some dinner, and Simone was dog tired. To keep herself awake, she was using her new-found ability to squeal a very high pitched noise at incredible volume (I'm sure it's nothing compared to a 2-year old, we'll get there).

So I got her all changed into night-time clothes and swaddled up and lay her in bed. I went back to cooking dinner, and not 5 minutes later she was very peaceful, and a couple minutes after that, asleep.

She's growing up so quickly.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virginia Tech

On Monday the crazy guy killed 31 people in a dorm and an engineering building at Virginia Tech. The country has had non-stop news coverage of this for days.

It is truly a horrible thing.

But, for comparison, that same day, some 45 people were killed by drunk drivers (using 2005 statistics). Drunk driving is much more preventable than predicting the behavior of crazy people.

Needless to say, Iraqis die at nearly twice that rate due to suicide bombs and militia violence. But I bet most Americans never make that connection.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sleepy, or not so

Many have asked how the resume and job hunt is coming. So far I don't know if my division leader will grant an exception for me, so my status at Intel is uncertain (we'd have to move to keep the job).

As far as outside of Intel, it's hard to say because I still don't have my resume done. Tonight I was going to take the long, rambling, detailed summary of my career at Intel (spanning 11 years) and condense it into a concise, powerful advertisement for yours truly. However, Mary and I spent the last 4 hours getting Simone to sleep.

Needless to say, nothing got accomplished on the resume.

On the plus side, I did get to listen to Depeche Mode single I hadn't played in a couple of years. I think the dancing finally wore her out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Big Day Tomorrow

I get to meet my boss' boss' boss tomorrow. He's relatively new in the department (heck, all of the management from that level up is new in the past 2 years) and doesn't know me from a hole in the wall.

The question is, will my reasoning win him over to my side. I asked a friend who already talked to this guy, what was his reaction. About the only point the boss-man made that my friend wasn't ready for was that an HP VP recently revoked working from home for their employees (and HP originally backed flex-work and remote working from it's inception in '67). I did a little more looking, and it only applied to the IT folks, not everyone. And the stock may have gone up since then, but there's nothing to indicate it was the VP's decision. It could just as likely be the fact that the CEO spied on board members. Both things happened at the same time.

Also, in 1996, Sun's CEO mandated, "no more powerpoint" and it's stock rose from $3 to a high of $64 in late 2000. Should we ban powerpoint?

Anyway, I'm getting all riled up and have all sorts of facts and points about our department.

This boss-man has 17 teams under his reign. 11 of the 17 teams have either 2 or more people working in different sites, or the manager is in a different site than the majority of the team. That's nearly 2/3!!!! 4 of the 17 have the manager in a different site. How effective is that?

Not to mention that our team has 3 members in Hudson MA. We only overlap their working hours by 2.5 to 3 hours a day. Again, how effective?

I could go on and on, but I've got to keep things on an even keel. It's not personal, it's business. And pissing off the boss-man isn't a good way to keep your job.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

iBike WW15 (1)

Beautiful day today so Simone and I rode around at lunch, returning some library books and videos. The ride was over half an hour, but not very far. Simone still has trouble sitting up in the Burley, but she seems to enjoy herself.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Beaver Freezer 2007 Results

The results are in. Without further ado: I placed 109th out of 242 total road racers, 82nd out of 131 men, and 7th out of 16 men aged 35-39 (road race). I'm about 3 minutes slower than my 2005 time, primarily due to my slower bike time.

Trey's Race
StageTimePace Place in StageCumulative TimeCumulative Place
Swim 8:121:38.4 66 8:12 66
T1 2:22 87 10:34 64
Bike 39:0618.4 112 49:40 86
T2 2:13 136 51:53 90
Run 26:118:26.8 134 1:18:04 109

All in all, I'm happy with the race, though I do wish I would have done better. I was really afraid my run was going to be way slow, so that was a nice bonus.

My goal for next year is 1:12. I think that's very doable. I just need to get my biking back in shape to where I was in 2005, and then take a minute off of each of my events (run/bike/swim). A minute off the swim might be difficult, but the bike and run should be pretty straight-forward. Heck, I'd like to take a good two minutes off my run. For reference, a 1:12 would have placed 53rd this year (and 71st in 2005). Plus, my T2 time is horrible, I guess I need to run faster in that transition.

How did the race play out? Well, as I donned my gear to bike over to the start the skies opened up and rained down. It poured. I got soaked and my stuff got pretty wet when I laid it out. Of course, 15 minutes before race the rain stopped completely and wouldn't start up again until I was biking home. Lesson: bring plastic garbage bags and don't lay your stuff out until the last minute (if it's raining).

I had a huge cheering section this year. Mary and Simone and my folks cheered me during the swim - I did actually hear them. I was in a lane with just two other people and they swam much slower so I had to stall with the breast stroke a couple of times before I was able to pass. The swim ended up feeling really good (other than the frustration) and pretty easy.

I ran out to my bike where the Mattsons and Bouchers rang their cowbells. The transition felt pretty fast and I was able to find everything I needed. On a nice day I might forgo the shirt, but it was cool enough that I was glad to put it on.

The bike started pretty well, though my legs did feel a little tired. I got passed by a number of people about half way out toward the first turnaround. That was the first sign that my bike ride wasn't as good as it was in 2005. I ended up playing leap-frog with a guy and a gal at the end, but sprinted to finish ahead of both of them. I think I could have pushed the bike a little harder. Lesson: do more swim/bike bricks to make the transition easier.

I revved up the RPMs during the last quarter mile of the ride - that's supposed to help your transition to the run. However, I just felt really winded during the transition. My fan club was standing next to my space to help me find my running shoes, but I was a little too (un)focused to find it quickly. Lesson: bring big chalk and mark up the sidewalk (or just look for my fans).

The run started pretty painfully. I tried to keep my steps short and the turnover fast, but I think it was more like short steps and slow turnover. The first mile and a half felt sluggish, real sluggish. Kelly timed my last lap (7:43 or something like that - which is just under a mile) which was when I finally started feeling like I could move. I pushed hard for nearly the whole lap - especially up the hill on the backstretch, and I'm sure I left a trail of smoke and flames turning into the center of the quad where the race finished. Lesson from the run: run more, run more, run more - and practice the bike/run brick more.

The race was a fun one - I made some folks laugh as I passed them (or they passed me) on the run, and everyone who showed up to cheer me on seemed to have fun (Elizabeth even showed up for my last lap). I'll definitely do it again next year.

goal: 1:12

Friday, April 06, 2007

Simone Swims

Here are two photos of Simone swimming under water in her water babies class.


No, I'm not ready to run one yet, just a milestone: my blog has 10000 hits. Which is nothing for a web page, but a milestone for me.

iBike WW14 (1)

I rode the Beaver Freezer bike route on Thursday, just to remind myself what I'll be in for.

I've no idea how long it took - it was at least 30 minutes though b/c it's 12 miles long, and I can't bike 24MPH for half an hour on a flat course, let alone one with hills. I'll do it again tomorrow, after a swim, and before a run. woo-hoo

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Move or Quit

I've been working from home for nearly 7 years now. In 2000 I asked my boss if I could work part-time from Corvallis because Mary was moving there. He agreed, and I've done work ever since.

The mother organization (12000 employees) has made the decision that people working remotely is not to be allowed. I must either move up to Portland (Santa Clara, CA and Hudson, MA are also allowed) or quit.

That's the short version. The long version involves showing how inconsistent the policy is, how it is not being applied to all employees, and it doesn't fit all departments. But I won't go into that now.

Needless to say, Mary and I are looking at all of our opportunities. I may stay at Intel and we may move up to the Portland area. I might find employment elsewhere. And I can always commute every day up to Portland.

According to the rules, we've got until the end of August to make a decision.

I am, of course, hurt/angry/frustrated by this. While some folks are trying to get an exception made for me, it really makes me concerned for the future of the software department that I (for now) work for.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Don't Mess With Our Chocolate

The FDA is considering changing the definition of chocolate, namely to eliminate the need for cocoa butter as an ingredient (and to allow "milk" chocolate to contain only milk substitutes).

If you don't like this idea, then visit to read more and submit a comment to the FDA.

Do it now - it only takes a minute or two, and the deadline for comments is April 25, 2007.

Monday, April 02, 2007

First Tooth

Simone has her first tooth - it's on her lower jaw. It's just barely out, but we're calling it good.

She also now shakes her head back and forth like Stevie Wonder when you do.

The fun never stops at the Jackson household.

Funny, yet depressing

JibJab is back at it again, with a video that's funny and depressing at the same time: