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  • Blog Post: SeaFair in Seattle!

    One last personal post and then I'll get to the work stuff. Last Friday we got off the ship... Saturday was moving the office with Bob... Sunday we went to a SeaFair party!!! I've lived in Seattle for 14 years and never really paid any attention to SeaFair but it was a blast! So, SeaFair is a combination...
  • Blog Post: I Moved into My New Office in Building 35

    So, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am starting in the SQL team this week after the one week vacation. My friend, Bob, came over on Saturday with his pickup truck and we moved everything from building 42 to building 35. The Microsoft moving organization always gets confused when I move myself but there...
  • Blog Post: A Fun Cruise to Alaska with Friends

    I'm starting this blog entry on the bus riding to work on Monday, Aug 4th... it's taken all the bus rides until today, Thursday, to finish. There's NO computer stuff in this post... This is a vacation travelogue! Wow! We had a good time in spite of Lisa being seasick for 1-1/2 days and the weather in...
  • Blog Post: Transferring to the SQL Team

    Since I returned to Microsoft in March of 2007, I've worked in the Developer Division on a project in the area of RIAs( Rich Internet Applications). This is a fascinating space in which lots of fun stuff is happening. I've been privileged to work on a wonderful team developing an upcoming project in...
  • Blog Post: A Weekend at Foo Camp

    Well... I was lucky enough to get invited to Foo Camp (which was last weekend) and I figure "What the heck! Let's do it!". Foo Camp is held at the O'Reilly headquarters in Sebastopol, CA which is 1 to 2 hours (or more depending on traffic) north of San Francisco. It is an invitation only event whose...
  • Blog Post: I Got My Christmas Tree Up at Work...

    My office is a bit unusual... even for Microsoft. Anyway, during the Christmas Season, I like to add my Christmas Palm Tree that Lisa brought when she moved from Florida. I managed to score some motif appropriate ornaments last year. They are flamingos. This would seem VERY out of place were it not for...
  • Blog Post: OK... A Mediterranean Cruise in November Was Not My Smartest Idea...

    In retrospect, we had a good time on our first week of vacation... but we would have had a better time if we'd thought things through. This trip was planned around TechEd EMEA in Barcelona running November 5th-9th. The conference was great and we had a blast ! Our cruise covered Nice and Monaco ,...
  • Blog Post: Friday, November 16th -- A Day at Sea with a Major Storm...

    Oh, my, it was moving!! I used to own a large power boat and have had it in 15 foot seas. Then, I experienced 30-35 degree pitching (forward-backwards motion) and rolling (side to side). I’ve been seasick on smaller boats and this did not bother me. Still, over half the people on the boat were seasick...
  • Blog Post: Thursday, November 15th -- The Bus Tour from Hell and a Lovely Formal Evening

    On Thursday, we had signed up for YET ANOTHER all day cruise… Again, Roger and D’Arcy had wanted to try the “Corleone Village and Wine Tasting” tour but hadn’t purchased tickets as early as we had. So, off we were (without our new friends) onto yet another large bus (but seated in the front). This time...
  • Blog Post: Wednesday, November 14th -- Pompeii, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast, and Motion Sickness...

    Naples! The evening cruise had been quiet and we were back at it with the tour busses. Our new friends had not been able to book with the Royal Caribbean sponsored tour to Pompeii, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast. D'Arcy had gotten on the Internet and found a private tour to these same locations. This...
  • Blog Post: Tuesday, November 13th, 2007 -- Our Second Wedding Anniversary (and NOT in Rome as We Had Planned)

    After months and months of talking about our second anniversary in Rome, we decided not to go after all... We started the day by sleeping in!!! What a joyous relaxation after TechEd and Tour-busses! We slept late, exercised, and had a couples' massage. This was simply two tables and two masseuses in...
  • Blog Post: Monday, November 12th -- Florence, Pisa, and Challenges with the Tour Bus

    We had determined that D'Arcy and Roger had tickets for the same 10 hour excursion to Florence and Pisa as we did... to get on the same bus, we needed to arrive at the theater together and get the same stickers. We met for a very fast (think inhaling) breakfast. We were down at the theater to get on...
  • Blog Post: Sunday, November 11th -- Nice, Eze, and Monaco

    We awoke Sunday morning in the harbor of Villefrance which is close to both Nice and Monaco. By 7:30AM, we were in the theater at the bow of the ship sitting waiting to be called for our excursion and to get on the tenders to ride from the Voyager of the Seas to the dock (the boat was WAAAAY too big...
  • Blog Post: Saturday, November 10th -- Departing Barcelona on Voyager of the Seas

    Warning! There's nothing in this blog post but "what we did on vacation"... no computer stuff. So, back in February when I decided to return to Microsoft, I told my bride, Lisa, she would love it. Before contacting Microsoft, I looked online to see when TechEd EMEA was happening and determined it was...
  • Blog Post: TechEd Barcelona

    Wow! What a fun week from November 4th-9th! I am recounting this on November 25th after two weeks of vacation. Shortly after returning to Microsoft last Spring, I offered to present at TechEd EMEA held this year in Barcelona, Spain. I had proposed three talks: Metropolis: Interchangeability of Operations...
  • Blog Post: TMI -- A Saga of Weight Loss, Exercise, Tummy-Tucks, and Health

    This definitely falls into the category of TMI (Too Much Information) but it seems to be the way of the blogosphere so what the hell... I had been obese basically all my life. I remember being overweight at age 8 and enjoying overeating. I was over 300 pounds since age 30 and it just was a lifestyle...
  • Blog Post: Changes in My Life

    To all my dear friends, As most of you know, last year was very difficult for me with first my mother passing away in May, and then my wife of 29 years, Michelle, passing away in September. Since Michelle died, I have gone through a myriad of changes and it seems that the more I change, the more I need...
  • Blog Post: Hanging in There for the Holidays...

    Just an update on how things are going personally… It’s been more than 3-1/2 months since my wife, Michelle, passed away and things are settling into a new normal. It is very hard to be without her but I am very, very grateful for the wonderful family that I have. I’ve been living with my youngest daughter...
  • Blog Post: A Difficult Year and a Difficult Blog Entry to Write...

    To all of my friends, It has been a very difficult year for me at home and I have been postponing and procrastinating writing this blog entry. Yet, I have had a hard time conceiving of adding to my blog until this is written. First of all, my mother passed away at age 82 last May. That was a difficult...
  • Blog Post: At the Microsoft Global Briefing in Atlanta...

    Again, always busy... I had only 5 days at home and then I was off again, this time to Atlanta for the Microsoft Global Briefing where all the Microsofties from the field gather once a year. Since this event is in Atlanta and my Aunt Peggy lives in the little town of Fayetteville, Tennessee, I...
  • Blog Post: Announcing www.PatHelland.com and a bit about TechEd in Amsterdam

    Howdy, Everyone! I am just back from an 8 day trip to Amsterdam where I gave 6 sessions (and helped with one more). It was an exhausting trip with little sleep and I am happy to say I actually saw a bit of the beautiful city of Amsterdam on Saturday before coming home Sunday morning. More on this...
  • Blog Post: More travel, seeing the grandkids and not seeing the East Coast...

    Well, I’m sitting on a plane from Washington DC to Orlando and it’s Wednesday evening, March 17 th . Had a great weekend! We (Michelle and I) arrived Friday afternoon to see our daughter and grandkids. Saturday was especially fun! I spent about 5 hours with my grandson, Nick,...
  • Blog Post: Family chaos and granddaughter's birthdays this weekend.

    We expect around 20 people to the house for dinner tonight. That's just immediate family. My granddaughter, Adriana, is turning 14 tomorrow and we are going to have the Washington State part of the family over for dinner. The 25 includes only my 3 local kids, significant others, the grandkids, brother...
  • Blog Post: Way cool! Four new PEZs!

    Some of you may know that I have hundreds of PEZ dispensers in my office and a neon sign that says the PEZ man... My office isn't boring! Anyway, last night my wife, Michelle, and I were at QFC (a local supermarket) and I found the new Easter PEZ dispensers. We have a new Easter Bunny, an Easter Egg...
  • Blog Post: My first blog!

    Howdy! My name is Pat Helland and I’ve been around Microsoft for almost 10 years as an architect. I’ve been working on transaction and application execution stuff for 25 years or so and I guess that makes me an old man… at Microsoft, I helped start the Viper team that built MTS...
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