Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Pics of Petey T!

We once again conned our good friend Nicolvin into taking pictures of our kids in return for food. Actually, this time she cooked for us. So... maybe this time she conned us into having her take pictures of our kids? I'm confused.

Anyway, she's posted some pictures of Pete (and a few of Anne) up on her blog. You can check out the pictures of Pete by clicking here. Please leave Nicolvin a comment telling her how great her work is!

While Betty handled Peter and Nicolvin handled the camera, I took Anne outside to play with Nicolvin's husband Matt and their dog Louie. Anne had a blast, but I think poor Louie got all tired out! Anne would chase him from one side of the yard to the next, then back again. She also thought it was hilarious when I held her and ran across the yard, then called Louie over. She loved watching the dog run around!

I'm still trying to convince Betty to let us get a dog, but she just repeats the mantra that her mom always says: all my pets walk on two legs!

Pete doesn't walk quite yet, but he has started rolling over. He sort of rocks back and forth on his belly, will kick off with one leg, then will slowly start to turn over. Sometimes he'll get stuck halfway through his roll and just look up at us, asking for help. Betty usually dangles a toy over his head so the act of looking for it will propel him forwards or backwards, and I usually stand over him and tell him that he needs to learn to roll over for himself because this unforgiving world will not do it for him.

Hurray for parenting skillz!

Our kids have grown up so much, and it seems like it all happened so fast. And since I'm at work most of the time, I'm missing a lot of it. That's why it's so important to us to keep Nicolvin happy. She's helping us to remember how beautiful and wonderful our children are, before they become teenagers and we forget!

Thank you again, Nicolvin! Your work is truly a gift!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gorge, Blaspheme, Hump

With the success of both the book and movie versions of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love, I've decided to create my own memoir. It's called Gorge, Blaspheme, Hump.

I haven't read or seen Eat, Pray, Love, but here's what I know about it: a woman travels the world for a year after divorcing her husband, whom she was cheating on, and while traveling she eats in Italy, Prays in India, and falls in Love in Indonesia.

In my book, a man (me) gorges himself on food in Lafayette, Blasphemes in New Orleans, and encounters a camel with one massive Hump at the Baton Rouge Zoo.

I know what you're thinking: that must have been a really big hump on that camel to get mentioned in the title of the book. You betcha! Also, it's a euphemism for rubbing one's body sexually against another object, usually (but not limited to) a person of the opposite sex.

I thought of other titles, like "Starve, Believe in Nothing, Like" and "Sample, Question, Lust" but those titles didn't do as well in their marketing tests.

Julia Roberts stars in the movie version of Eat, Pray, Love. She's also been tapped to be in the movie based on my book as well. In the movie, she gets to play the camel. But don't worry, she still plays the love interest.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Thunder from Down Under

I was in the kitchen yesterday when all of a sudden I heard what sounded like a thunderstorm inside my house. The room even shook a little.

I looked outside the window and the sky was blue. There was no rain at all. I doubted it was thunder... and yet, it sounded exactly like it.

Then I heard the sound again, but this time it sounded like it was coming right from under me. So I looked down, and found my son, Peter, laying in his bouncy seat.

With a huge smile on his face.

When babies smile it means one of two things: 1) they are happy, or 2) they have gas.

In Pete's case, he had just cut what must be the largest, longest toot of his life. It sounded so much like thunder that my daughter Annie even came running out of her room, saying, "Power go off! Power go off!" That's what she says now whenever it rains, because our power friggin always goes out.

"No, baby, the power didn't go off," I explained to Annie. "It's just that your brother just blew his bowels out of his butt."

Looking down at my son, I've never been so proud! Mark it on his baby calendar, August 19th, his first rolling thunder butt-splosion!

He may look like his mama, but he gets his rump trumpet from his old man!

Phone Sex

I was away from my wife for a few hours longer than normal, and so in a desperate, lonely bid to feel close to her, I tried to initiate phone sex. But having never had phone sex before, and not knowing what it entails, I had to experiment.

First, how do you have sex with a phone?

And second, I had to find a nice, clean phone to use, because surely I wasn't going to have sex with MY phone. I mean, I have to use that thing on a daily basis! The last thing I want to think of while on a conference call is which end of the phone I rubbed against my inner thigh.

(By the way, just to let you in on the phone sex lingo, if you caress your phone while on a conference call then that is considered an orgy. So drink lots of liquids before dialing your conference line's confirmation number.)

Phones, like women, come in all shapes and sizes. Some have cords and some don't. Some have pointy, perky antennas - some larger than others - and some have antennas that you can't see. Usually those are the phones with the most personality. All cell phones have some sort of plug for an adapter so they can recharge, and some even have adapters for the car.

If you're using a land line then there's still plenty of variety, as there are phones connected to their bases and then there are wireless sets connected to a base. You can even have multiple wireless phones connected to multiple bases around your house, all going to the same line, if you're kinky enough.

And of course, those old rotary phones with the dials on them are what we in the business call "cougars."

I finally settled on a Cisco Unified IP Phone 7940G. I mean, why not? It has large, sexy buttons, an LED screen, and even has a red light that flashes when someone calls you. I call that feature the "Red Light District" of the phone.

But after psyching myself up for some experimental phone sex, I slowly put the receiver back down on the hook. I couldn't do it! I didn't want to use this nice, friendly phone with built-in headset connectivity and a large pixel-based display for my own selfish gain or just to alleviate my own loneliness. I wanted to talk to my wife.

So I picked up the phone and called her. Or I would have, if the receiver didn't feel so damn good against my skin.

Hold all my calls!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


My coworkers and I were talking about taking something - a movie, some historical event, etc - and turning it on its head to make it more modern. What we came up with was the idea of taking the musical Mamma, Mia! and making it into a Jerry Springer episode.

It all started when we were heading off to lunch one day. The guy we conned into driving had the "Mamma, Mia!" soundtrack blaring. And since he refused my request to pull up alongside a couple of gangstas in a car next to us, roll down the window and crank up "Dancing Queen," we thought of the Jerry Springer tie-in as a way to entertain ourselves.

We thought we were geniuses, until I read a link going around Facebook called OMG WWII on FACEBOOK! which is a spoof on WWII with the premise of "What would WWII had been like if it took place on Facebook?" It was originally created by Matthew Leeb and posted on a site called CollegeHumor.

Ever since I first read it, I can't get enough of it. I read this thing at least thrice a day! And every time I look at it, I see something completely new. I love how the dates on all of the posts correspond to the historical dates of the events. And I love how the UK says "Woot woot, just who I wanted!" after taking the "Which iconic leader are you?" quiz and gets the result of "Winston Churchill."

Absolutely brilliant.

I don't know about you, but I'd still like to see a version of Mamma, Mia! where the main characters throw chairs at each other, beat each other senseless, and take verbal abuse from the audience, all while the sleazy host determines which guest he's going to bang next. But having never seen Mamma, Mia! before, I can't say whether or not that would be better than OMG WWII on FACEBOOK!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Tanory Toastmasters

It's official: I now have a whole new family of Bobs! My sister, Rebecca, recently got married to John Robert, aka, John Bobby.

Betty and I have been calling them "The Bobs" for a few years, but I got to drop this nickname on the entire Robert family at my sister's rehearsal dinner. The Bobs seemed to like it... at least, I think they did, as I got a good laugh out of it.

In fact, for the entire wedding weekend, people came up to me to tell me how much they enjoyed my toast. Even people who weren't at the rehearsal made a point to tell me that they had heard that my toast rocked. I was kind of in shock.

I was happy that they enjoyed it, because I really enjoyed giving it. I had been planning it for months. My family has a strong and storied tradition of giving memorable toasts at weddings, and I didn't want to let them down.

The Tanory tradition of giving funny toasts all started at my cousin Jeremy's wedding. My parents and I had flown up to Seattle for the wedding, and although most of my family was there, my uncle Joe couldn't make it. Since he wasn't there, my dad and one of my aunts (I won't name names!) wanted to prank Joe, Jeremy and Tara all in one shot. They bought one of those fish bowls with the fake fish and had it gift wrapped, then they asked me to write a speech as if I were Joe, but to make it overly symbolic and cheesy.

On the day after the wedding, we all gathered around outside at Jeremy's house so Jeremy and Tara could open gifts. Then my dad made an announcement. He said that he had received a letter from his brother Joe, who was sad that he couldn't make it, and that Joe had requested that his letter be read out loud.

And of course, my dad couldn't read it himself, as he knew he'd crack up. So he picked someone else to read it, someone who wasn't involved in the scam: my Aunt Tena.

Tena started to read the letter but eventually had to stop. She didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. Two other people tried to read it and failed. My dad and I laughed through the entire thing.

Here is a copy of Joe's letter, which I wrote, and which was read at Jeremy and Tara's house the day after their wedding. Keep in mind that their gift was fake fish in a plastic bowl.

I want you both to know how proud I am of you and how much I love you both. You are like fish, each from a different school, coming together by the coral reef to teach one another about true love. Your love is a symbiosis; your scales are like the scales to balance a weight, only becoming equal when you exert enough effort in your relationship. The sea you live in is the water of your Baptism, where you will be reborn in love every year. I hope and wish for you both to swim together forever in your sea of love.

Jeremy and Tara didn't know if it was real or not. Nobody other than me, my parents and an unnamed aunt knew that Joe hadn't really written this. So everyone was hesitant to laugh... until they saw me and my dad rolling on the floor laughing. Yes, it's true, my dad and I both really ROFL'd!

And that was the start of the Tanory tradition of funny wedding toasts.

The tradition continued several years later, at my brother's rehearsal dinner. I got up and gave a quick toast. I don't remember most of what I said, but I do remember one thing: I made everyone raise their glasses, and told them something like, "My family is Lebanese, and every time a Tanory man has gotten married over the years, going back tens of generations, this very same toast has been said in Arabic. It was said at my dad's wedding, and said at both my uncles Joe and John's weddings. And I'd like to carry on that tradition here tonight. So if everyone could raise their glass and repeat after me: Tella hass teezee."

My brother's in-laws raised their glasses and shouted with joy, happy to be part of a generations-old tradition: Tella hass teezee!

And my entire family busted out laughing, because "Tella hass teezee" in Arabic means, "Kiss my ass!"

(I'm sure I've butchered the spelling of "Tella hass teezee" but figured that was the easiest way to spell it so people could sound it out. If you know any Arabic, please leave me a comment with the correct way to spell it!)

My little old grandma, who we call Gaga, came up to me after the rehearsal dinner. She's really tiny, like 4' 5". She looked up at me, wagged her finger in front of my nose and said, "You know you shouldn't have done that. But it was very funny!"

My brother bided his time, waiting several years for the perfect time to seek retribution: at mine and Betty's rehearsal dinner. In Todd's toast he said that he knew that Betty would see a lot of "zabada." Betty's family didn't know what to make of it, but my family was howling with laughter.

"Zabada" in Arabic means "wiener."

So when it was time for both Todd and I to give a toast at our sister's rehearsal dinner, we knew that we had to be at the top of our game. We were lucky in that a few of John's brothers got up to talk first. John's brother Buddy had me laughing the entire time. I was embarrassed at how much I was laughing! His toast was hilarious! I won't go into details, but his speech involved a pet gerbil named Nibbles. You can probably figure the rest out for yourself!

After Buddy gave his toast, John's other brother Jimmy got up and spoke. All of the stress that I had about giving my speech started to fade away. These first toasts were helping me to loosen up.

Todd went before me, which was good, as that way I got to check out his material and make mental notes before going up. I started with my joke about the Robert family being the Bobs, and ended with, "John, you're the brother I never had" - all while looking at my actual, biological brother, Todd. I also noted the three things that I love the most about John: The way he treats and loves my sister; his family; and the fact that he always needs a second buy-in to a poker tournament.

Love you, John Bobby!

But with any great toast, it's not about making people laugh - it's about making people realize why we're there in the first place. How many times can we say that we've gotten up in front of a mix of family and strangers and all laughed, all had a great time, and all left with a sense of love and joy? It truly is a joy that my sister has married into such a wonderful family with a great sense of humor. I hope that she and John share many happy years together.

And when they have children, I hope they teach them how to carry on the tradition of the Tanory Toastmasters. All it takes is a parent teaching a child how it's done, just like my dad did with me.

So if we could all raise our glasses - whatever we have in front of us - and all say together:

Rebecca and John, tella hass teezee, see lots of zabada, swim together forever in a sea of love, and never forget that we love you.

Oh, and John, seriously, that's my only sister, so all of the laughs will come to an abrupt and violent end if anything ever happens to her.

Have a great life together!

Pete's Thought of the Day

I recently wanted to show my son, Peter, what his old man has been up to. So I showed him my blog. I told him about how I write about my family and all the funny stuff that happens to us, and how it's good for Daddy to have a creative outlet (as otherwise Mommy would go insane) and it's good for us so we can look back on these memories later in life.

He mainly sucked on his nunu and dropped a load in his diaper, but all in all I think he liked it. At least, he smiled a lot, but it might have just been due to gas pains.

I even showed him how I loved writing about him. I showed him how I compared his diapers to Jackson Pollock paintings, and explained how it was both supposed to be flattering to him - ie, his poop is art - and detrimental to Jackson Pollock. (We got you, Pollock! Suck it!)

I also showed him the one where I said he has a rockin' mullet.

I figured that since he's only two and a half months old that he probably wouldn't find it very interesting. But actually, he did have a rather strong opinion about the whole thing.

This is what Pete had to say about my blog:

[Picture: Pete's thoughts of my blog]

Everyone's a critic!

Monday, August 09, 2010

No More Red Meat, Unless I'm Hungry

I'm trying to eat less red meat. I don't know what the actual health benefits are of doing so, but I know that every doctor in the movies or on TV always instructs the patient to quit eating red meat. And if I've learned anything in my thirty years on Earth, it's that the movies don't lie.

So now burgers, steaks, hooved non-pig livestock... all of these things are off my diet.

I'm trying so hard to stop eating red meat that I even turned down steak this week. Which leads me to believe that not eating red meat might be turning me into a woman. Which, let's face it, might not be too bad if I gain an amazing rack out of the deal.

The one obvious downside to giving up red meat is my constant craving for raw flesh. But then again, I always did enjoy jumping on people's backs and ripping at their jugular veins with my incisors, although that was usually because of the Mad Cow Disease and not because of extreme cravings for flesh.

To stem my hunger I've been trying to find a substitute for red meat. Most seafood in South Louisiana is fried or baked in butter, plus there's a question of how the oil spill is going to affect the seafood supply. So I'm not sure if eating more seafood is really the answer. Instead of beef or fish, I've just been eating a lot of chicken. It's amazing how many ways there are to eat chicken, and doubly amazing that no matter how you cook it, it still tastes like chicken.

Betty's been cooking a lot of pork, too, but she's been making it less now that I always make a very insightful and hilarious joke using pork as a verb whenever she serves it.

Someone suggested that I eat soy, but then I referred them to this semi-scientific paper on how soy makes you gay. Okay, you got me, I referred them to my blog - can't blame a man for trying to generate web traffic, can you?

I could always eat more fruits and veggies. I did start the Veggielution, after all.

Maybe I'll just eat in moderation. Otherwise, who knows, the next time the fat guy from Accounting walks by, he might want to wear a scarf.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Travels with Charley

On my plane trip to Seattle I read a book called Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck. It's Steinbeck's account of driving throughout the continental US in a truck hauling a camper, along with his dog - a French poodle named Charley. Along the way Steinbeck and Charley meet all kinds of people, saw incredible sights and sounds, and made it back home again to write about all of his adventures. The book reads like a blog, which is probably why I liked it so much.

I really associate with this book, as I, like Steinbeck, just traveled from one coast to the next, met all kinds of interesting people, saw some really cool sights, and am now writing about it.

Of course, Steinbeck had a dog along with him, and I had my coworker / manager / friend, Brannon. And Steinbeck drove, whereas I flew. Also, Steinbeck wore a really cool hat the entire trip, and I just wore shirts that were entirely too tight for my fattening and flabby body.

But other than that, we both took similar trips.

My first blog-worthy event occurred in the Baton Rouge airport, where I found both Playboy and Penthouse magazines in the airport's shop. I like to think that Steinbeck took some sort of similar reading materials with him on his trip.

[Picture: The first great image of the trip!]

Steinbeck wrote about traveling to Seattle. He describes it as being much larger than what he remembered it being as a child.

And Seattle definitely is large. It should be, as it's home to some of the world's most recognizable businesses, such as Starbucks, Amazon.com and Expedia.com. Microsoft and Nintendo of America are based in nearby Redmond.

But being in a big city with lots of people doesn't mean that you're never alone. We spent a good portion of our time looking for someone to talk to. At one point Steinbeck writes about being lonely. Honestly, I don't know how he was away from his family for so long. I was away from my family for just shy of a week, and the loneliness was terrible and painful. I teared up every time I thought about my wife and kids. Brannon and I tried to go out and meet people, and although we did meet a few people at our conference, it was more like networking than making friends.

Some of my family lives around Seattle, so we got to spend some time with them. My cousin Zach and his girlfriend Rebecca went to a Mariners game with us. I got to watch someone hit a grand slam, which was really cool, but it would have been cooler had the person hitting the grand slam been on the Mariners.

Steinbeck's book didn't have any pictures, but I tried to take pictures of every notable event. So of course I had to take pictures of me in front of Safeco Field. Zach's girlfriend Rebecca took a picture with me. Here she is rubbing my Buddha-like belly for good luck. It didn't work, as the Mariners lost to the Rangers 11-6, but that won't stop me from asking a lady to rub my belly at the next game I attend.

[Picture: The Safeco Field Buddha]

Zach and I saw a sign that said "Seattle Sausage" so I obviously could not contain myself - I had to get a picture in front of it. I dubbed Zach the "Seattle Sausage" and we tried to whore him out to several passerbys in order to pay for our tickets, but unfortunately for us there is a strip club right next to Safeco Field which stole all our business.

[Picture: The Seattle Sausage himself!]

Speaking of Seattle Sausage, we saw a hot dog inside the stadium that was a large sausage wrapped in a jalapeno pretzel served with nacho cheese. It looked like a heart attack waiting to happen. It was like a hot dog / nacho / pretzel hybrid, and it looked like it would destroy our intestines. But the advertising was so awesome that me, Zach and Brannon all got one.

[Picture: Hot dog / nacho / pretzel hybrid]

Here's a close-up of it:

[Picture: Hot dog / nacho hybrid, in action]

And here's a Zach Attack on it:

[Picture: Zach Attack!]

The last great event to happen at Safeco field was for me to reenact robbing someone of a home run. Here's me jumping over the wall to catch a fly ball. And yes, I really do look this awesome when I pretend to rob someone of a homer:

[Picture: Robbed!]

Here's a quick list of the remaining blog-worthy events.

The sign for Blue C Sushi, which sounds awesome when you say it really fast:

[Picture: BlueCSushi!]

A political sign for a guy whose last name is Shah. Aw, sha!

[Picture: Sha!]

A sign apparently protesting threeways. I knew it was intended for humans and not cars because there's a little sign in the background with a person on it, and the arrow distinctly points at the stop sign.

[Picture: Like I ever started, ass!]

Me winded atop a hill in downtown Seattle, by Pike Street. Us Louisianians are used to flat land!

[Picture: Let me catch my breath!]

Me at the Bank of Washington. This was the first picture taken on my trip. It was to prove that I made it to Washington, as I assume that there are no Banks of Washington outside of Washington. I also assume that this bank, like hundreds of others, will probably fail soon, so this picture may be worth something on eBay soon.

[Picture: Credit approved!]

And finally, my old buddy, Tom Collins! We reunited at the Marriott's bar.

[Picture: My old buddy!]

I think you'll agree with me when I say that both Steinbeck and Charley would be proud.

Using my Apple iPhone on Microsoft's Campus

My first computer was an Apple IIGS, but that's the last Apple computer that I've owned. Since then, it's been mostly HP or Compaq computers running the Windows operating system. I currently have Windows XP at home, and develop software using Microsoft tools at work.

My company sent me to a conference on Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington, so I could learn how to utilize those tools to their full potential. And yet, to just find where we needed to drive, I had to use probably the most helpful computing tool that I own:

My Apple iPhone.

Shuttle buses ran every fifteen minutes between my hotel (the Marriott) to the convention center on Microsoft's campus. Unfortunately, it turned out that none of the bus drivers had ever been to the Microsoft convention center before. On two different occasions our bus driver turned to us for help, at which point several left-brained computer nerds started shouting out instructions read verbatim from their iPhones and Droids. When our bus driver radioed another bus driver for help, it turned out that the other bus driver had been randomly driving around for twenty minutes trying to find the convention center himself. One of the bus drivers even had a GPS device, which totally failed him.

Then there was a shuttle that caught fire on a highway. Luckily I wasn't on that shuttle, although it would have probably made for a great blog post. When that happened, all of the shuttle buses were temporarily shut down, probably because they couldn't get through all the traffic created by the flaming corpse of the burnt out shuttle bus.

When all of that was going on, one of the people at the Marriott who was in charge of herding folks onto the shuttles actually offered to give conference attendees a ride to Microsoft in his personal vehicle. I have to say, that's customer service! The guy made three trips before my buddy Brannon and I decided to just drive there ourselves. The mapping feature of our iPhones definitely helped get us to where we needed to go - which, incidentally, happened to not be the same path that the buses were taking, but ended up being about ten minutes faster.

Our Apple iPhones weren't only useful for actually finding the Microsoft campus - they were also useful on the Microsoft campus. Even though I was at a conference, I was still on call at work and was expected to respond to any urgent requests. I checked my iPhone regularly before and after (and, okay, sometimes during) the sessions. I also used my phone's camera to capture pictures of the presenters.

My hotel was called the Marriott Town Center, because it was right next to the "Town Center" shopping mall in Redmond. And in Redmond's main shopping center, guess what store was there?

You guessed it, the Apple Store.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Tantrum Invades Microsoft!

For the past week or so I've been at a conference in Redmond, Washington, at the Microsoft campus. My conference was called "VS Live!" and it's the first time the conference has been held at Microsoft's campus. Only 700 people were able to go, so I feel very fortunate. In contrast, more than 15,000 people attended Tech Ed 2010 in New Orleans a few months ago.

[Picture: Bob at Microsoft!]

Redmond is about 45 minutes from Seattle. The first thing I noticed about both Redmond and especially Seattle is that everything was extremely clean. There was absolutely no trash on the ground, no Styrofoam cups on the side of the road, no litter anywhere at all. I felt so out of place!

My parents live in Lafayette, where they have the option to recycle. I live out in Prairieville, where we do not. There are no recycle bins here, no separate trash pick-up for recyclables... people even routinely burn their own trash out here. I told that to someone in Seattle and thought their head was about to explode.

In the Seattle area, there are three trash cans for every normal trash can down south. Whereas in Louisiana we have a single trash can for "Trash", Seattle has a regular trash can, a trash can for plastic bottles and cans, and a trash can for compost (cardboard, newspaper, etc). At times I was paralyzed when trying to throw away a simple piece of garbage - I didn't know where to put it! Then there's all kinds of rules... if a plastic bottle is empty then it goes in the recyclable trash bin, but if it has any liquid in it then it's trash. There was a slight pain of guilt every time I threw away a cup with leftover coffee into the trash bin instead of the compost bin.

The Microsoft campus was pretty amazing. "Microsoft" was branded on everything, from the buildings to pens, from cars and shuttles to even the coffee cups.

[Picture: Microsoft cup!]

One thing I was really surprised about is how much Microsoft was willing to poke fun at itself. Each conference session was presented by someone with an incredible amount of experience with software - sometimes it was a Microsoft employee, but usually it was an author of several books, a Harvard professor, or a software evangelist who preaches the good news about some new technology. And in almost every session, Microsoft software was used to show what software techniques were good and which ones were bad.

Not only did Microsoft poke fun of itself during the conference, but the Microsoft Store had some funny stuff. Take the clearance section, which had Microsoft's much maligned Windows Vista on sale for $5. This price was still too much for most people to spend on it.

[Picture: Still not worth it]

The Microsoft store also had a surprisingly large stockpile of loot for the kids. I bought these two shirts for Anne and Peter.

[Picture: Geek Beta]

[Picture: Future CEO]

One of the sessions I attended was called Why Software Sucks by David Platt. It was just the kind of session that I love - less technical and more theory. Here's a short video from the Why Software Sucks session. This three minute clip wasn't recorded at the conference, but it's pretty much verbatim from what was presented.

The Microsoft campus was huge. I don't know how many buildings it actually contains, but it's probably close to 100 or so. Our conference was held in the Convention Center, which not only housed 700 uber-geeks but is also home to a piece of the Berlin Wall. So needless to say, I posed in front of it with a biodegradable plate of pretzels.

[Picture: The Berlin Wall]

I'll write more about my Seattle trip later. But for now, I need to spend some quality with the fam!