Keith Commits a Rookie Mistake

TB and I were all packed and ready to head out to Philadelphia for my fraternity brother’s wedding this weekend. As we backed out the driveway and headed toward the expressway, my spidey sense told me something was not quite right. I ran through my mental checklist one more time making sure I had all the important things for the wedding. Suit? Check. Tie? Check. Belt? Check. Camera? Check. Etc. Etc.

We made it to Sea-Tac, parked at MasterPark lot B, took the shuttle to the US Airways stop and made our way up the escalator to check-in. Midway up the escalator, a streak of utter shock jolted through me. My spidey sense was spot on. Something indeed was not right. Without even checking for the forgotten item, I called to TB and told her I needed to return home. I had left my wallet and had no ID.

puppy If you have been following my blog, you know TB has a complete repertoire of looks she gives me based on the situation at hand. By the time we reached the top of the escalator she had hit me with disbelief, dismay, anger, sympathy and solace. I just gave her the puppy dog look since I earned them all. She quickly switched into problem solving mode (one of the things I love about her) and about 30 minutes later she had salvaged our trip and finagled better seats on a later flight. I don’t know how she does it but I’m grateful to have her quarterbacking the home team in such situations.

The trip had been smooth, almost perfect until that moment on the escalator. It was as if we had just ran the kick-off back for a touchdown only to discover a flag on the play. Illegal procedure. Back home we came. Dang rookies.

The sad thing is I have flown over 400,000 miles and have never, ever, ever arrived at the airport without my wallet.

I thought about having TB call in a bomb threat to delay the flight long enough for me to return home but we figured five years in prison and a $250,000 fine was a bit steep. Not only is the Seattle man who tried something similar on Wednesday in police custody, he still ended up missing the flight.

Leela James – A Change is Gonna Come

Leela James It’s been a while since my last music post. I am pleased to say I have been enjoying music much more lately. I have been listening to new content from established and up-and-coming artists spanning neo-soul to underground hip-hop and rediscovering old gems in my existing music collection. (Bluegrass anyone?)

One such rediscovery is Leela James’ first and only album, A Change is Gonna Come. No surprise to anyone recognizing the blatant reference to the Sam Cooke classic (aka, the Civil Rights Movement theme song), Ms. James’ album is positioned as a throwback to the soul era of American music (1960s-1970s). You needn’t look past the first song following the intro, “Music,” to hear Ms. James wear her neo-soul label well, channeling Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin.

Vocally this album is average. Content and style variety is above average. Musical production is excellent. Considering she has the likes of Raphael Saadiq, Wyclef Jean and Kanye West assisting with production on this album, one could safely assume excellent playability and long-term enjoyment whether seeking casual listening or something to help you get it crunk (in the Lil Jon sense).

Using Windows Live Messenger to Send & Receive SMS Text Messages

Sending SMS text messages from a mobile phone (often called ‘text messaging’ or simply ‘texting’) seems to be getting more and more popular each day. Social networking services like Twitter are making texting more commonplace than e-mail and IM combined.

Texting is today’s version of reaching out and touching someone. In fact, I received most of my birthday well-wishes via text message this year. That’s a first. I guess today’s fast-paced world is all about keeping things short (the first ‘s’ in SMS), simple and sweet.

So what if you have a phone that cannot send SMS text messages? (Do they still make those?) What if your mobile plan doesn’t include text messages? Or, what if you want to use the big keyboard and monitor on your computer instead of the tiny keypad and screen on your phone to stay connected with your texting-obsessed friends?

Many people don’t know Microsoft’s Windows Live Messenger can be used to send and receive text messages in addition to IMs. It’s simply a matter of adding mobile phone information to your contacts or creating new entries specifically for texting. Do this step once and you will be able to send text messages to those contacts and receive their responses from your desktop computer, the same way you IM today. The first time you send a text to one of your contacts they will need to authorize using their phones. The best way to see this process for yourself is to send a text to your phone first.

Watch the short (1:20) video below to see how to set things up and start texting from your PC. Click on the video to start/stop playback. You can also double-click the video to switch to full screen mode. Press the ‘ESC’ key to return to normal playback inside the browser.

Note: This video requires installation of Microsoft Silverlight which is one of the products I work on and wrote about previously. Silverlight 1.0 will release later this summer. The one-time installation takes just a few seconds and you just need to click the “Get Silverlight” button below to get started. I will begin using Silverlight more in future posts for video, photo galleries, etc. Don’t worry, it’s safe. 🙂

Video: How To Send SMS Text Messages using Windows Live Messenger

Ghost Riding the Whip

Looking for a way to squeeze further enjoyment from my music collection, I commented to TB we should take up the urban phenomenon known as Ghost Riding. I don’t see many people our age ghostin’ especially in our neighborhood (Kirkland, WA). Further, Couples Ghostin’ could become the new hotness. She, of course, unceremoniously rolled her eyes…her typical reaction when confronted with tomfoolery cum lunacy.

Whether we take out the trusty 626 or her workhorse Altima for our maiden ride is completely up to her. I don’t think she’s down to be a rider either way but maybe I can at least get her to woman the camera so I can join the Ghost Riding ranks on YouTube.

Here is the E-40 video for “Tell Me When to Go” which brought ghost riding mainstream (aka, to the suburbs). The ghostin’ starts with 1:35 remaining in the video.

Considering ghost riding is highly illegal and very dangerous to riders, passers-by and lookers-on, don’t be shocked if you see footage of a thirtysomething Kirkland couple in handcuffs after being apprehended by the police following a ghost riding outing down Central Ave. I can hear the music now: “Ghost ride the whip…Ghost ride the whip…”

All I need is some stunna shades, a dreadlock wig and a platinum grill. Watch out, I am about to get hyphy. “Ghost ride the whip…Ghost ride the whip…”

We need to hurry as local teens are already ghostin’ in Redmond and Bellevue. That article contains the quote of the day:

“The underground beats of Oakland and Stockton are brought to the mean streets of Bellevue.” (emphasis added)

The reporter, Eric Wilkinson, is obviously being sarcastic. Watch the video. Bellevue is nowhere near becoming the hood. Those teens are ghostin’ in a BMW purchased by one of their parents! Going dumb, indeed.

I am starting a stunna shade collection to help TB and me get accessorized for our ghost riding adventure. If you would like to make a donation, please leave a comment. Those who donate will also be invited to participate in the stunna shade selection process. There are many stunna shade styles to choose from so we really need your help.

The following is my rendition of how our first outing will go:

Keith Ghost Riding the Whip

This is history in the making. “Ghost ride the whip…Ghost ride the whip…”

On Vacation after Attending Annual Sales & Marketing Conference

Hi everyone. I wanted to let my faithful readers know I am still around and getting some much-needed and much-deserved rest and relaxation over the next couple weeks. Along with catching up on the many projects and chores that have piled up on my things-to-do list, TB and I are also attending a wedding in Philadelphia and visiting my family in Dayton.

I also have quite a few things to blog about to make up for the silence enveloping my blog these last couple months. Three posts in three months is embarrassing so I will endeavor to write several posts before the end of the month. Let’s start right now…

Last week I was in Orlando for Microsoft’s annual sales conference, MGX. MGX is a massive event with over 16,000 employees from all around the world all congregating to review the last fiscal year and prepare for the upcoming fiscal year. We took over most of the world of Disney spanning the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) to Amway Arena and all the hotels in the vicinity. It was quite an amazing experience witnessing how truly diverse and multi-national the company is, and just how hard sales & marketing folk can party. I attended MGX to present a 75 minute session to our worldwide audience marketing managers about how to increase satisfaction, adoption and revenue of Microsoft’s Web platform & tools.

I stayed at Rosen Centre Hotel which is adjacent to OCCC. The hotel is average but in an excellent location for conferences at OCCC.

Lowlight: The keynotes were definitely blah lasting about 9 hours from start to finish. Exec after exec got on stage and said almost exactly the same things. It was my first time attending this event so I am not sure what, if anything, I can share in this forum. Coincidentally, Microsoft reported 4th quarter and FY07 earnings the same day as the keynotes so a lot of what we heard regarding the state of the business was also reported to financial analysts covering the company that afternoon.

Highlight: I was able to have dinner with one of my first cousins who lives in Orlando and his son. That made the humid, hot & unbearable July weather in Orlando worth the trip.

Air travel is getting tedious and cumbersome with each trip. Security screening is still woefully inefficient even though passengers and TSA agents should know the drill by now. My flights were all delayed. My connections were all too tight. The combination of the last two resulted in me having to run to catch connecting flights in both the Los Angeles and Denver airports. I made my connections but arrived in my seat smelling a bit ripe, I’m sure.

I did experience a first on one of my flights: I got a shout-out (along with 2 other frequent flyers) from the purser on my United Airlines flight from LAX to MCO (Orlando) on my way to MGX. She said each of our names and thanked us for our continued business and loyalty to United after completing the flight safety review. I felt special at least for a moment and it cost the airline nothing to make that simple gesture. Well done.

I attained United Mileage Plus 1K status this year which means I accumulated at least 100,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) in 2006. I just checked and I’m only at ~42,000 EQMs so far in 2007 and it’s almost August! Either I won’t be 1K again come Feb 2008 or I have some serious flying to do in the next 5 months. Talk about a lose-lose. 🙁 I guess returning to my regular old Premier Executive status won’t be too bad. 😉