Life News

Paula and I made the WSJ


The Wall Street Journal today had an article about US citizens moving to Ireland and it leads off talking a little about Paula and Me!  It’s really bizarre to see your name in print like that (and amazing to see how fast it gets forwarded around the office here in Dublin). 

If you receive the US edition you can find the article on page B4 of the October 31st issue.  In the European edition it takes up most of page 3.  I encourage you to cut it out, frame it and put it on your wall.

In other news my ego can now be seen from space.



A neat bit of fun


Walking home from work on Wednesday (well… walking home from the train) I noticed a sign: “Dublin City Marathon Course Route, expect delays”.  Huh, what do you know?  The Marathon course runs right in front of our house.

Here we are, right between miles 18 and 19:


It was very cool.  Lots of people lined the streets and cheered every runner as they went by.  Apparently people line the entire course (the Dublin Marathon is internationally known as “the friendly marathon” 🙂 ).

Life Weird

It’s official: Lawyers have now ruined childhood


Not satisfied with taking the fun out of most everything else, lawyers have now turned their attention on that most sacred of childhood pastimes: a good game of tag.  Schools, for fear of being sued by parents, have now started to ban any game in which a child might possibly get hurt.

Lawyers, be forewarned: when I become all-powerful (it’ll happen any day now, I’m sure) I’m going to stick you in a very small room with the guy who invented those wretched plastic clamshell security packages and Corey Feldman.  In that room you will be locked for all time, fed only Oreo cookies (without milk, of course) and forced to listen to a never-ending stream of Celine Dion ballads.

Link to School bans tag, other chase games –

Life Microsoft

How to change jobs… and how not to

While flying home to Dublin from Redmond I was doing a little blog reading (hooray for SAS and airborne broadband) when I came across an interesting post on Dare’s blog regarding the Microsoft policy of needing permission from your manager before you can interview or a different position within MS.  It’s a policy that leads to a certain amount of discomfort for any employ who wants to change jobs.  Going to your manager for permission is tough, but here’s a promise I’ve made to myself which helps me (and works if I’m at Microsoft or not):

I’ve promised myself I won’t ever leave my current role – I will always go to a new role.

Here’s the big issue for me: when I’m fed up with work, my boss, my hours or whatever, any job will look good to me.  As soon as I’m in flight mode, trying to run away from my current position I am super-likely to be simply abandoning the frying pan.  There are always times at work where I’ll be pissed at my boss, annoyed at my coworkers and/or think the product has no chance of succeeding.  When I get to that point I always take a deep breath and try to figure out if a) it’s something I can correct and b) if it’s something I think will last.  It sounds pretty silly advice,  but don’t ever leave a job you hate.

So, what should someone do if they hate their job?  In the ideal world one will have picked a cool group at a cool company working on a cool product.  Chances are there’s something you like about your job, find it and focus on it.  You also have to decide you’re not going to adopt a victim mentality (it’s your bosses fault… your coworkers stole the credit… it will ship if test would find the bugs).  Don’t ever think that you can’t make your situation better because that will sink the ship fast.  Figure out what is broken and what part of it you can fix.  Once everything is sunshine and roses you can move on (sure, I’m an idiot… but I’m an optimist).

I am totally comfortable at any point in time going to my boss and saying “Hey, I came across this internal job listing and it totally sounds like something I’d really like to do.  Things are going great here but I’d really like the opportunity to go do this cool thing.  May I please?”  I may actually be happy in my current role or I may not… but if I actually honor my promise to myself I’m actually highly likely to be in a role I enjoy before I leave for one I’m going to enjoy even more.

So, what does this have to do with the Internal hiring policies?  Here’s the thing: I feel if my manager thinks I am a good employee and honestly excited about going to a new role they will be disappointed to see me go but genuinely interested in helping me succeed.  If I get the job I wanted my manager will be happy because they know I’m going to an exciting opportunity.  If I don’t get the job my manager will be happy because they don’t loose me.

I’ve been at Microsoft for almost ten years and been a manager on and off for roughly half that time.  I’ve applied for internal positions and moved groups.  I’ve also applied for jobs and not been hired.  I’ve had employees request permission and I’ve granted it every time.  Microsoft has policies about when a transfer can be blocked or delayed and are very reasonable.  Always if your manager blocks your move and you think it’s unreasonable you should talk to your HR rep as they can help you to work through it.


Happy Friday the 13th!


Having been born on the thirteenth (of a different month) I’ve always had an affinity for what many feel is an unlucky date.  When the 13th also happens to fall on a Friday… that’s even better.  Hey, it’s the 13 AND it’s the end of the work week.

So, for those of you who are a little anxious today, I’ll distract you with some vocabulary fun:

Triskaidekaphobia – Fear of the number thirteen (not to be confused with Trichopathophobia, the fear of hair)
Paraskavedekatriaphobia – Fear of Friday the Thirteenth

Hmm… I wonder if paraskavedkatriaphilia is a word?


Here’s a killer postal route…

I feel sorry for the US postal worker who has to hike up the hill to this house… in Salzburg Austria.

US Postal service mail box installed in Austria

Photography Travel

Pictures from Salzburg trip are posted

It took a day-and-a-half to upload all of them, so that should probably warn you off… there are a ton (583 to be exact).  I’m not really sure you want to go looking at them, it may suck your will to live.  Yep, I said it, I don’t think you can take this many pictures (but SmugMug sure can… I now have uploaded over twelve thousand images and am closing in on 22 gigabytes… not bad for a couple of Jacksons per year).

I’ll post some of my favorite things shortly… but I’m waiting for Paula to make her massive post detailing the whole trip.  She has it all typed up, she just needs to spell check it.  C’mon Paula, now that I’ve outed you, you have to post!

You may proceed if:
a) You want to prove I’ve underestimated you by plowing through half a grand of pictures with no descriptions
b) Salzburg is your home town and you just want to see 574 crappy pictures with a few good ones mixed in
c) You’re a tweaker

For the rest of you, I present a random picture from the gallery:

Random Salzburg picture


… halfway down the drive …


Steve Davis has been tormenting cold-callers again.  This time he works his magic on a mortgage broker.  Check out the recordings at  I recommend Mortgage House #2, I’m listening to it now and … oop, I’ve wet myself.

Photography Travel

Back from a great vacation

Yeah, I fell silent there… but for good cause: Paula and I were in Salzburg, Austria for Paula’s Birthday.  It was a fantastic vacation and we now have over 600 pictures to filter and geotag.  Salzburg is a beautiful city and there’s much to tell… but we didn’t get home last night until 1am and after a day at work I’m bushed and heading to bead.  I will, however, leave you with the view which welcomed us to Salzburg.

A picture-perfect start to a great trip.