Cookin’ on The Poorman

My wife and I are avid grillers/BBQers/people-who-cook-out. We really have used our Weber Genesis gas grill more than our indoor range since purchasing it about 7 years ago. The relatively mild Seattle climate is ideal for people like us who enjoy grilling year round — now if we can just do something about the rain.

We have temporarily relocated to an apartment building which has a strict “no grills” policy. This has been extremely hard on us. We finally bit the bullet and began investigating George Foreman grills. None of the authentic Foremans met our needs for surface area so we went with a less expensive imitation made by Hamilton Beach — we have affectionately named it “The Poorman”.

The Poorman has served up some delectable substitutes including turkey burgers and chicken breasts. Its olskool “turn-and-tick” knob/timer and boxy design are a bit archaic but has proved to be a sound investment for apartment living.


Digital Photography Workshop (Class #2)

In a previous post I discussed my enrollment in a digital photography workshop and my first impression of the instructor (summary: not good).

He did much better during the second session as he was more in his element discussing creative aspects of photography such as lighting and composition rather than the technical elements. I left the second session feeling more informed and educated which is more than I can say after leaving the first session.

Next week is session 3 and the class will meet for some on-location work at the world famous Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. Our class meets in the evening so we are hoping for some good night shots to capture scenes of the market few people actually see.


My fraternity brother graduated from Harvard then decided to leave behind the stability and comforts of a well-paying jay-oh-bee to pursue his dream of becoming a hip-hop artist. Spitting hot fire under his stage moniker, Lex (also The Boy Lex or Lex the Don), he has created a buzz worldwide touring Europe and Asia.

To entice potential fans, Lex made his first album, College for Dummies, available for free on his website, Be forewarned, his content is worthy of a parental advisory sticker and he makes gratuitous use of words and stereotypes that may make a sensitive, Puritanical listener uncomfortable.

I downloaded College for Dummies and liked it so much I immediately purchased his more recent album entitled I Must Be Crazy. Lex’s flow is impeccable and his material is creative and fresh — I would argue this is because of rather than despite his education and Jewish ancestry which is definitely a unique combination within the rap industry. The production is tight with several songs that could easily be club anthems.

You can also get a peek of Lex in action by watching an MTV segment showing him move the crowd of 20,000 at the Beijing Pop Festival in China. (The track underneath the video is “I’m Famous” from I Must Be Crazy.)

Buy a copy of his album and use it to rock your next party or run that extra five miles on the treadmill.

“Don’t talk it. Live it” — Lex


Chop It Up

In order to revisit a personal barbershop experience I must go back at least 2-2.5 decades to my childhood. My head has been kept clean-shaven since 1992 so when it comes to barbershop recommendations I am the last person anyone should consult.

It seems every few weeks some new person to the area sends email to fellow employees asking for barbershop referrals. The distribution list at work with the highest traffic of this type is by far the one that is composed primarily of Black people (Americans, West Indians, Nigerians, etc.) Apparently, like their female counterparts, the gentlemen on this list are serious about their grooming.

I have seen several establishments recommended but none more often than one named Chop It Up. Every time the inquiry is made I know the Chop It Up referral is not far behind yet I always get a chuckle when it finally arrives.

I have never visited Chop It Up but from the recommendations of its patrons — at least the ones on the distribution list — they must do excellent work. However, if I had hair that I remotely cared about I
doubt I would seriously consider going to a barbershop named Chop It Up.

Maybe I will start a facial boutique and name it “Scrub It Off” or there is always the waxing parlor I could name “The Rip”.


Microsoft Goes Live

Microsoft today announced its new strategy for competing in the world of software as services currently being dominated by Yahoo, Google and Apple. This is a fierce set of competitors and the competition is bound to heat up in the coming months and years which will definitely benefit consumers and third-party software developers in the short- and long-term.

At the center of this strategy are two new products: Windows Live and Office Live. With the Windows and Office product lines serving as linchpins of Microsoft’s historic dominance and financial success, it is fitting those brands are the basis for this new “live era”.

In a nutshell, Windows Live is a set of Internet-based personal services, such as email, calendaring, blogging and instant messaging that is primarily supported by advertising, but separate from the operating system itself. Office Live will have both ad-based and subscription versions that augment the desktop version of the productivity suite.

Shortly after the launch I visited the Windows Live site ( to try things out myself. You can click the image below to see a screenshot of my page configured with a couple RSS feed parts, a weather part and a stock quote part. It was really easy to customize my page and move things around to my liking. It is obvious the site is really “beta” quality since my parts failed to update a couple times and clicking the feedback link caused my machine to hang. :shocked:

My Windows Live Page

So how will Microsoft switch to this ad-based revenue strategy without cannibalizing its paid software? The company plans to have tiered versions with the lowest tiers being free (ad-supported) to users and the higher-end being paid for by the user (presumably ad free).

While the launch event itself was awful — Ray Ozzie did an excellent job confusing everyone and Blake Irving had some serious demo issues — we should separate the message from the messengers. Overall, I believe this change in focus will benefit Microsoft and its shareholders the same way Gates’ legendary The Internet Tidal Wave memo did ten years ago next month. Moreover, it will benefit consumers and that is ultimately the core of Microsoft’s vision.