Saturday, September 19, 2009 8:25 PM bart

Extraordinary Non-Technical Activities On Saturday

In this post, I’m going to do something out of the ordinary: write a post on a non-technical matter, in the “Personal” and “Microsoft” (big-bucket general stuff kind-a) categories I’ve left unattended for way too long. So, if you’re looking for interesting technical stuff, go look elsewhere this time around (but I promise to be back soon :-)).

So yes, this has been an interesting non-technical start (ignoring the continuation to follow after this post…) of a Saturday over here in Bellevue. To set the scene: a few months ago Dandy and I have been asked by a Belgian community (in the Microsoft-sense) member to write up something on “The Road to Redmond”. Dandy came up with this idea to create a video highlighting several hot-spots in the area. Finally we got around to take care of this request and shoot the moving pictures today. Lots of things interfered with the planning before: camera defects, Best Buy shopping for a new camera, Dandy’s US Open attendance (to see Kim Clijsters win, little did she know she’d become a recurring theme in the video), other weekend activities (occult and otherwise).

It’s kind of funny I’m pretty natural in front of large audiences, but simple video interviews make me behave differently somehow, especially when the spoken language falls back to Dutch instead of the English lingo my brain is in a steady state for. But anyway, we did some great shoots today starting with Belgian-style food and beverages (the latter not for me, as I’m a teetotaler) in downtown Bellevue where the waitress claimed to speak a little French but couldn’t properly pronounce Duchesse De Bourgogne. At least we got Belgian fries with mayonnaise to go with beef stew.

During a short visit to Best Buy to buy a tri-pod, I got a first question by the cashier on my unusual (way too geeky, I admit) T-shirt meant for shameless self-promotion of this blog, something that became a running theme throughout the day as well. Its front – typing for Curry-style System F-omega (different forms of definition can be found in the literature, but I chose one that fits a medium-sized T-shirt) – and back are shown below:

F B#

People who saw the filming in progress or got somehow around us can testify I really do wear a yellow T-shirt with the above :-).

Next shots were primarily to show off Dandy’s fancy car for the take-off (almost literally, velocity was getting close enough :-)) to the Space Needle. Though I’ve been here about two years now (and so does Dandy), I hadn’t been up there just yet. Too touristy if you will, but for the occasion I had an excuse. So we got there and went up, disregarding the cloudy weather and rather windy meteorological circumstances. I must say, the view is kind of nice but nothing too fancy to write home about. Kind as I am, I even took a picture of two ladies discovering some digital cameras still have a proper mechanical “take picture now” button. Last time I had a fancy digital camera in my hands, I couldn’t even find the power button, so I felt really good about this little victory near a camera this time. Dandy insisted me on showing them my T-shirt but maybe I did it a little too explicit (though I sincerely don’t believe so, notice my fellow colleague was a few Belgian beers in), so after thanking me for taking the picture and some little giggles (IMO mostly due to the presence of my colleague…) they took off. I know the (App) rule looks frightening enough for people to jump down, so I kept things a bit more hidden while being on the outside up there.

Back on the inside, we met this pretty Tacoma girl who works up there to answer tourist questions, all dressed up in a fabulous “I am Seattle” outfit. Can you believe it she even went to Brussels a while ago, totally jetlagged and looking for some old brewery nearby (can’t think of what that would have been, but nearby on the US scale is, euhm, not small). But hey, that’s better than nothing (unlike people thinking Belgium is the capital of Brussels, though in the limit things get close :-)). Anyway, she did a splendid job in our video interviews and we even made here pronounce Kim Clijsters more or less correctly. And contrast to the folks on the deck, she didn’t look too frightened about my T-shirt and even found my binary watch (standard equipment for a geek) cool.

Down again, we did a bit more hanging around in their souvenir shop (I know touristy things all look the same, but I needed some confirmation), where we shot some crazy scenes doing Plop dances in appropriate garments. Put developers together with IT Pros (yes, another cliché) and you get that sort of thing. Oh well, I don’t mind making my self a bit ridiculous from time to time :-).

Last but not least, we headed over to campus for a few shots around the new Studio buildings, where people were playing cricket on the fields and jogging around in Office T-shirts. All of a sudden, attention for my extraordinary clothing started to drop significantly as people over there are kind of used to this sort of weirdness :-). We did some talking on camera about serious matters this time around, covering subjects on life at Microsoft, the Microsoft culture, etc.

So yes, once a year or so (give or take) I can do non-geeky stuff as well. Though I need a little compensation by wearing appropriate clothing and such :-). People who believe they were part of this crazy plot today, feel free to drop a note in the comments section below this post.

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Comments

# re: Extraordinary Non-Technical Activities On Saturday

Sunday, September 20, 2009 8:32 AM by Nathan

Is the Cantillon Brouwerij: http://www.cantillon.be/

I believe it is the only one open for tourists in Brussels. We went there about a month ago actually :-)

# re: Extraordinary Non-Technical Activities On Saturday

Sunday, September 20, 2009 7:16 PM by Dandy

Oh boy ..wait until I edited that video :)

Did you see the weather today though? clear blue sky .... amazing for Seattle