Before I start today, a special note: if you haven't done so yet, you might want to read yesterday's entry.  We shipped Office 12 Beta 1 (yea!) and I pulled together a set of articles designed to jumpstart your knowledge of the Ribbon, contextual tabs, galleries, and the rest of the Office 12 user interface.  Get it while it's hot, because I'll be continuing with all-new material next week.

In the meantime, I thought I'd use this week's Friday article to let you know about some upcoming appearances I'll be making over the next month.

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First, Rashmi Sinha from BayCHI has graciously invited me to speak in Palo Alto on December 13.  BayCHI is the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of ACM SIGCHI, the society for professionals in computer-human interaction.  The details of my talk:

Beyond Menus and Toolbars in Microsoft Office

Tuesday, December 13, 7:30 PM
PARC's George E. Pake Auditorium, Palo Alto, California

You can visit the BayCHI site for more information.  I'll be doing an in-depth look at many of the same topics I've been blogging about, along with some pictures and historical images I haven't shown before.  I'll also be including demos of the just-released Office 12 Beta 1.  There will be plenty of time for questions and answers, so if you want to come by and say hi or ask a question in person, this would be a great place to do that.  I look forward to seeing you there!

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As you may know, I'm an active classical musician in the Seattle area, playing bass trombone is several area orchestras.  Since I've already wasted this blog post swimming in "Lake Me" I thought I'd throw in a plug for some upcoming events I'm playing in over the next month.

Feel free to come by and say hi at any of these events if you come!

First, I'm doing a concert with the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra on December 3, featuring an interesting program of music with a bit of something for everyone:

Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra

Ives: Variations on "America"
Violin Concerto
Symphony No. 5

Saturday, December 3, 7:30 PM
Town Hall (Eighth and Seneca), Seattle

Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 is an especially moving piece, written at the height of Soviet artistic oppression.  Outwardly, it appears to be a heroic, conformist nod towards the military might of the Soviet Union.  (At least, that's what the censors thought.)  In reality, Shostakovich fashioned an elaborate and bombastic parody.  It works on both levels and is eminently listenable even if you're a casual listener of classical music.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students, seniors, and children.

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A holiday ritual for many families is attending a performance of Tchaikovsky's Christmas-themed ballet The Nutcracker.  This ballet contains some of the most well-known and loved music in the world.

Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" - December 9-11

A Seattle-area performance that won't break the bank is the Evergreen City Ballet's charming rendition.  I'll be playing in the pit orchestra along with the Rainier Symphony.  This is the only area performance outside of the pricy downtown Seattle rendition to do the Nutcracker as it was intended: with a full ballet company and orchestra.

Tickets ranging from $12 to $25.  There are 5 performances over the weekend of December 9-11.

The Nutcracker

Evergreen City Ballet with the Rainer Symphony

Friday, December 9, 7:30 PM
Saturday, December 10, 1:30 PM
Saturday, December 10, 7:30 PM
Sunday, December 11, 1:30 PM
Sunday, December 11, 5:30 PM

Auburn Performing Arts Center (700 E. Main Street), Auburn

Hope to see you at some or all of these events!