Monthly Archives: July 2008

So…are things *THAT* bad, or was it something else?

Craziest thing happened today.

I’m in a conference call in the central room of the office.  I hear people yelling as if someone spilled something hot in the laps; all at the same time.  One of my co-workers runs to me and says, "DUDE…look out the window!".  I go and look out the window and there is a man, face down, in a pool of blood.  Where did he come from?  It was obvious.  The *ONLY* place he could have come from was from the top of the building.  He jumped 25 stories to his death.


It’s a circus right now.  TV, Police, Paramedics, People….<sigh>


Tragedy.  What was going through his mind that made him decide to jump?  Was it an accident?  Was he pushed?  Was he fired?  Unbelievable.

That was one thing I hope I NEVER see again.


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Former Landlord is a Crook!

I wanted to blog about this for two reasons:

a) Therapeutics

b) Public shame


I moved to the Seattle area a year ago and thought it better to rent for a year until the housing prices went down.  So a fellow Microsoft employee rented one of his homes to me.  Worked out great, at first.  Sure I had to pay for a cleaning service to clean up–and I had to do some cleaning outside from trash, but it was no big deal.  He put in a patio in the back yard which looked OK, except the excess bricks and wooden pallets were left.  Even after emails to have him have the contractors clean up did no good.  I paid for the removal which cost almost $300.  Other than those incidents most things were fine.

When the opportunity came to move I needed to break the lease almost a full year early.  He suggested three options:

1) Find a responsible subtenant to take over the lease.

2) Transfer the responsibility to a good property management company, who would take care of all the nitty-gritty details from marketing to upkeep of the home.

3) reach a settlement to mutually void the reminder of the lease term for a fraction of the remaining total rent. one-third of the remaining rent is what he asked (~$10K)


So I found a tenant, paid for the background check and application fee and the landlord accepted it.  What transpired immediately following was when the truth about his nature came out.

The new tenant wanted to pay less than the rent.  It was an amount that I found comfortable paying for a year, so we wrote up a contract between us that had me paying him the difference every month.  The landlord requested a copy of this contract; for some unknown reason but we gave him a copy out of courtesy.  The new tenant asked for some things to be done to the house which the landlord agreed to do.  The thing was:  he wouldn’t commit to a date to have it done.  His excuse was that he needed to get quotes; but I had already done that for him.  I received FOUR WRITTEN quotes and told both the new tenant and the landlord that they could agree to one of them.

The next issue was that that he now wanted a contract with the new tenant.  The new tenant objected.  Technically the landlord could collect twice having two lease agreements with two separate parties.  The landlord agreed to terminate the lease agreement with me and signed the addendum (with witnesses present).  So now that the lease agreement terminated, according to the contract (AND Washington State Law RCW 59.18.270) he must, within 14 days, return the full deposit OR a letter outlining why a part of it was retained.

After multiple emails and phone calls I send a nasty email to him.  He calls me and says that he couldn’t respond because he was "offsite" so he couldn’t respond.  That sounded like an excuse my kids would give.  Even an email that told me he was offsite would have been sufficient but he chose to totally ignore me and use being offsite as an excuse.  sheesh.

Then he hangs up on me.  He calls back and apologizes for hanging up (I’m thinking someone came into his office and he needed privacy.  I let it go.  As the conversation continues he says that I already received the deposit from the new resident.  He said that I admitted to receiving it from him.  This was totally untrue and I’m wondering what dope he’s smoking.  And even if I *had*, it would have been a deal between the new tenant and myself–something that did not concern *him*.   He calls me a crook.  I ask him why he thinks I am a crook and he hangs up on me.  I haven’t been hung up on since Junior High…ok maybe High School.

I’m thinking about calling his manager and telling him what type of employee he has.  I am really not wanting to go the legal route as I would have to go back to Washington….sigh…what a punk he is.


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Funny how things change…

I have four children.  It was funny when the first was born–how careful I was to make sure everything was quiet, sterilized and comfortable.  When number two came along, it wasn’t as quiet or as sterilized as when the first was born.  By the time the fourth came, he was lucky if I wiped off the nipple of the pacifier if it fell on the ground.  Leaving Microsoft was sort of the same experience for me.

When you come onboard, there are scores of people there fawning over you making sure you have all of the email aliases of everyone and anyone that you might need.  You had a ton of paperwork to read over and an assigned person to work with you to make sure you understood it.  Everything was automatic:  you were automatically enrolled in this or that.  You could opt out, but all you had to do was say "boo" and you were opted out.  It was very much the First Child syndrome.  When you *leave*, however, it is very much the LAST Child Syndrome.  I was given a yellow piece of paper that looked like it came out of the old lithograph machines that said basically–You *used* to have this, but now you don’t.  The HR rep had to even WRITE phone numbers and email addresses on the paper for me to CALL about EVERYTHING.  You want COBRA?  Call this number.  Change of Address?  Send mail here.  Nothing automatic (they *could* make it automatic), nothing easy. 

It all came to light when I tried to pick up a prescription.  Microsoft hadn’t sent the requisite COBRA forms to me and hadn’t even updated my new address–but didn’t hesitate to terminate the benefits.  No biggie, I pay the 20 bucks for the stuff and am told I could get reimbursed, but that I needed to hit up Premera myself.  Good thing the pharmacist said that all I needed to do was show her the COBRA paperwork and she would reimburse me and bill Premera.  Nice customer service; I appreciate that.  I then send mail to the HR alias so I can get my address updated.  Funny how they didn’t even ask me for it in the Exit Interview, ya think?  Last check is probably getting bounced around the State of Washington now…

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TechEd SouthEast Asia (TE SEA)

I was asked to speak at TechEd SEA and I am excited for a couple of reasons:

1) I was asked to speak at TechEd USA but the trip was cancelled for reasons I will not state here; and now I will get to show off some COOL stuff!

2) I have never been to Asia and this trip will be a cultural education for me.


I’d like to talk about my two sessions here:

a) Setting up an Internet facing website using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and Forms-based Authentication

Forms-based authentication is an ASP.NET authentication service that enables applications to provide their own logon UI and do their own credential verification. If you have an anonymous Internet-facing site, you will want to know how to use Forms-based authentication.  In this demo-rich session, I will take you from a base installation of SharePoint, walk through the basic steps of setting up the ASP.NET provider and configuring SharePoint to use FBA.  I like doing demonstrations because it helps the attendee(delegate) see step by step how something is accomplished and sometimes, what to watch out for if the demo fails!

b) SharePoint Lifecycle Management  DemoFest

The Solution Accelerators Team is a crack bunch that create tools to manage the Lifecycle of SharePoint.  SharePoint is a beast that definitely, if not tamed, will eat your admins up if you don’t understand how to manage it from inception to planning to deployment to retirement.  In this session I will demonstrate many tools that are used to accomplish exactly that.

See my technical blog for more information in a couple of weeks.


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Weekend trip to Arizona—UPDATE: MOVE COMPLETED

I was flown to Phoenix to meet my new boss and team.  A great group of professionals who are looking to make a difference and a splash in the market.  I am excited to be working with them.

The weekend was very nice.  I was surprised that the summer was so brutal so early.  I think I’m starting to believe this "global warming" thing afterall.  The weather everywhere seems to be out of whack.  Snowing in Seattle in April, and 110+ degrees (45C) in June in Phoenix.  On Friday it hit 118.  It was a good thing one goes from air conditioned environment to the next; you really don’t feel it unless you are going from a parking lot to a store and then you start to wonder…whoa…how hot *is* it?  I think 118 would make a Washingtonian faint…shoot, just the *mentioning* might do the trick.  I’m on the plane now and the captain said that it was 66 degrees in Seattle.  66 in June..sorry, that seems a bit chilly to me; even for 6pm.  Oh well, to each his own suffering.

This week will be spent doing some spring cleaning to get ready for the packing team and then the movers.  My office is so tore up, it might take me the whole day to get that under control.  Then will come the garage…heaven help me.  Please.

I am really looking forward to starting the new gig and to start blogging about my experiences.  My technical blog at will be getting more current as well.


The move is completed.  The lessons learned were many.  "Tying up loose ends" now takes a more serious meaning to me.  So does the term "preparation". 

I’m waiting for the Cable TV and Internet guy to get here and hook me up so I can post this entry. 

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