Congrats to John and Kathy

It’s turning into Old Home Week here, with lots of updates about Virginia classmates. The latest update is the best, though. I got an email last week from John “G Money” McLaughlin, who preceded me as the secretary of the Virginia Glee Club. He said something interesting about getting engaged.

Yesterday I got the engagement announcement, including a picture of John (who doesn’t look like he’s changed at all in the years since I last saw him) and his lovely fiancée, Kathy. Congrats to the both of you, and looking forward to the big day.

Oh, the ironic part is that John’s lived in Seattle the whole time that we’ve lived here. We just never found out until last week.

One month til the 10th Reunion

We bought our plane tickets last night. The hotel has been booked since last month. We just have to confirm that our dogs can stay with their mom, to line up a rental car, and to find some kind friend in DC or the burbs with whom we can crash on Sunday night prior to our early morning flight out of Dulles. A month from today, I’ll be back in Charlottesville for my ten year college reunion.

As I noted a while back, this will be an interesting one. In addition to catching up with the publishing crowd (Michelle, Fox, Greg, et al: anyone up for a COUP Refugees Happy Hour on Friday night?), I’ll get to ask Kate about the Fox vs. Franken case, listen to Justin, maybe meet Don Webb’s little girl.

Also looking forward to seeing George and Bethany again. The reunion will be the five year anniversary of our meeting Bethany; we bumped into them (almost literally) on the Corner on the Saturday night of reunion weekend back in 1999.

And what will people find in me? Ah, there’s the rub. Though I’ve been to b-school at MIT, lived in Boston and Seattle, and worked at Microsoft since the last reunion, I’m feeling a lot more humble, somewhat less sure of myself, than I did five years ago. Maybe that’s better. I seem to recall being borderline insufferable at the last reunion.

Justin rocks

I got my copies of Justin Rosolino’s new album last night (see this post for background). As I wrote on his discussion board, the album is fantastic. I was prepared to be skeptical of the remake of “Legacy” since that’s one of my favorite tracks from the last album, but I think the new arrangement heightens the building tension that was already in the acoustic version. It’s like hearing Jeff Buckley’s pre-signing acoustic stuff and then listening to Grace—the song is the same but somehow more so.

The album, Wonderlust, is available from

Almost forgot: it looks like I’ll have a chance to give Justin my feedback in person at my UVA reunion. (Wonder how Justin feels about providing “an evening of relaxing, nostalgic entertainment.” Also wonder if he’ll take requests. Yes, I’d like to hear the a cappella version of Prince’s “Kiss,” please.)

Turn on those firewalls: Sasser on the loose

Public service advisory: there’s a new worm out nicknamed “Sasser” that exploits the LSASS vulnerability reported and patched two weeks ago. The worm, like Blaster, spreads directly from machine to machine, so make sure to enable your firewall (it hits on ports 445 and 5554). Details about Sasser here, here, here, here, etc.. Removal tools here, here, here, here. First posting about the worm, from a Microsoft MVP blogger, here.

Filling the outliner gap on Windows

I was recently reminded of the gap on the Windows platform in really good outlining tools. I am a long-time OmniOutliner user on my Mac, and haven’t really found a good, cheap, lightweight tool for managing structured outlines on Windows. According to this thread on, the leading candidates are probably Inspiration and NoteMap. NoteMap knows about hoisting, and Inspiration allows for some unstructured brainstorming in addition to pure outlining. But it’s not apparent that either has one of the elegant simple features I would need: the ability to convert an outline into a structured to-do list (which is desperately needed for our house projects).

Enter OneNote. I’ve had this app installed since I got Office 2003 but hadn’t really played with it until the last few days. It uses a notebook metaphor, automatically saves notes, allows for placement of multiple text and graphics blocks on the page, and has some really good outline features, including quick and intuitive numbering mechanisms and the ability to set to-do checkboxes. No hoisting and no ability to create columns on outline items, but otherwise pretty nice.

Miscellaneous links: Andrew May has a draft MSDN article about new import features in OneNote 1.1; Josh Allen wrote an OPML importer that works with the preview of OneNote 1.1; Omar Shahine writes an RSS to OneNote PowerToy that basically allows you to easily copy items from RSS feeds to an outline for later reading.

Ow. Ow. Ow.

So: this weekend was the weekend of mulch. More specifically, “Pacific Fertile Garden Mulch,” also known (after the sniff test) as an approximately 50-50 mixture of compost and steer manure. More specifically yet, 15 cubic yards of this stuff. In our driveway, delivered Friday afternoon.

Lisa had called a landscape contractor after we realized the state the beds in the front yard were in. They recommended 20 cubic yards of mulch and 30 of topsoil. We decided they were out of line, so we cut back the request for mulch by 5 cubic yards and eliminated the topsoil. Good decision, in retrospect, but not nearly enough.

I knew we were in trouble when by Friday night at 6 (after two hours of work) I had shifted hardly any of the pile and only succeeded in covering a few beds. The next day I mowed the lawn, helped Lisa prime and sand some more paint on the exterior of the old part of the house, then we moved about a third of the remaining pile. I was so sore by 5 pm that I could hardly stand. So we called in reinforcements.

Today our very special friends Ed and Gina gamely showed up with a shovel and a rake and helped us move the rest of the pile. All of it. It ended up in the beds under the trees where the pine needles had built up for twenty years, the beds around the fence, the back beds, a bed against the house, my clothes, Ed’s clothes, Gina’s clothes, Lisa’s clothes, our wheelbarrow, our neighbor’s wheelbarrow, and most of all my driveway, where Lisa was able to wash most of the remaining dust into the gutter.

I don’t hurt too much yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

Ah well. As Lisa said, “Never again will we order 15 cubic yards of anything.