by: Matt Simerson
Sunday 28 Nov 21

June 2000
May 28, 00 - Brutus Destiny
May 26, 00 - Seattle FAQ

December 31, 2000: Per my comments on the 15th about "bunny slopes", well, I stand corrected. Jen and I ventured up to Stevens Pass and did a little skiing. Wow, I think one of the lifts alone was as long as every lift at any one of Michigans's ski resorts combined. I also used to think I knew how to ski. I can stay on my feet down a hill but skiing is something that I need a lot more work on.

France III: In February of 2001 I'll be heading back over to France for a week or two. I'll take as much time as I can steal from work. I'm going over to help out a buddy of mine with his ISP as then spend a few days skiing in either the Alps or the Pyrenees. 'facetious comment' Jen doesn't like skiing much so I really had to twist her arm to convince her to go along with me.'end facetious comment'

Computer Score: Also, an update on the computers I purchased at that auction. Excepting the one I'm keeping for myself, they are all gone. I figured out they were $3000 Intel servers and didn't have a hard time selling them off to a few friends at $500 each. Now that my friends needs are taken care of, maybe I can find another score and make some money off them!

December 19, 2000: With the failures of dot com's becoming more prevalent of late, I've found a new hobby. Yesterday I went to an auction where the court's were auctioning off the assets of Between Jay and I, we left with a flat panel monitor, UPS, 9 2U rackmount Pentium III 600 systems, and some other odds and ends. It was a great score. :-)

December 15, 2000: Upon learning about the nine fresh inches of power on the mountain, a few of us (Jay, Jen, and I) blew out of work early and spent a little time throwing it around the slopes. The slopes were in great shape. I must admit it was a little bit disheartening. The only slopes open were at Summit West which is the smaller of the hills. I had to listen to folks grumbling that there wasn't anything open but this "bunny slope" that we were skiing. Well, sorry to all my friends back home but this "bunny hill" is better (taller, longer, etc..) than any of our slopes in Michigan. :-P

December 2, 2000: I drove out to Snoqualmie pass and got my picture taken for my season pass. With decent weather, it's a 30 minute drive to get to the slopes. There isn't much snow yet but it's nice to get up there where there actually is snow and cold. :-)

November 23, 2000: Ahh, I got some real hunting done today. I came out to my parents house, had breakfast and went out hunting with my Dad and Sam. I only got one "prayer shot" off at a deer running off at about 140 yards out but my Dad got one and Sam got a see a doe close enough that he could have popped her a sleeping pill.

Today I performed an act of grace and wonder that would, had you seen it, caused you to burst apart at the seams laughing. My dad, Sam, and I were out hunting. We drove a section of woods up in the hills where we hunt. After the drive my dad came through and him and I walked up the hill to where we heard Sam take a shot. Sam missed and as we stood there talking I saw a deer (gender unknown) a couple hundred yards away on a dead run away from us. I pulled up the 30-06 I'm hunting with and lobbed a hunk of lead off in the general direction. The deer was running, I had a very narrow alley to shoot down and a split second to bead down and fire. After touching off the shot I decided to get down there and see if, by some wild stroke of luck or divine guidance, the bullet actually connected.

So, I'm standing on top of a hill, the deer was down the hill, across the valley, and just over the ridge on the other side. There's snow up to our knees that we've been trudging through all afternoon and this hill is covered with saplings. I unzipped my jacket, held the 06 above my head and took off down the hill at a dead run. I did pretty darned good, making it most of the way down the hill before my mickey mouse boots found a log beneath the snow that took my legs out from under me. I proceeded down the hill for at least another 10 feet except now, my feet were somewhere behind me rather than beneath. I skiid down a couple more feet on my face filling my coat up with snow, whitewashing myself, and in general, having a pretty darned good time. :-) It took me nearly a minute to get myself turned over and back on my feet. I didn't stop to listen to the laughter of my company and proceeded (at the same rate of speed) the rest of the way down the hill and up the other side without further incident.

Tomorrow is my family's Thanksgiving and we (Martha, Keith, and I) hope to make it up to Crystal Mountain shortly thereafter and get some skiing in. My good buddy Michael Surls and family will be up Saturday and I expect to get some more skiing in then too. Woohooo.

November 22, 2000: Today I finished the upgrade of my cadillac server (, drove up to Lyn's, visited with Brutus for a while, upgraded Lyn's computer with TWO thrity gigabye drives (giving me a mild case of tool envy), finished a shopping cart project we started way back in...uh, March maybe, and spent a little time with Lyn catching up. Despite more than her fair share of rough times, reckless men, and tough hurdles that she's conquered, she remains a beautiful, loving person, and one that I'm honored to call my friend.

November 20, 2000: This morning I put plates and insurance on the SHO, and I'm now legally mobile. :-) Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the woods I go. Look out Bambi and friends. ;-)

It turns out Bambi and friends were pretty safe today. I drove down to Tustin where I hunt and spent a few hours trudging around in snow up to my knees. My first clue that it wasn't going to be a great hunting day was how much trouble I had getting into Marks. Previous years I've had my Bronco II and with 4x4 it was never much trouble. I made a few runs just to make it part of the way up his plowed driveway. The entire time I was walking it was limited visibility because of the nearly whiteout snow conditions. It took me an hour to make it back out to a primary road. The only thing I saw was a great snowstorm. It was a nice welcome. :-)

November 19, 2000: Today I went to my old church that I REALLY like, bought some basic kitchen supplies, a vacuum cleaner, vacuumed the house, had lunch with the Dewey family (my buddy Nathan's family), and then watched Charlies Angels. I'd rate it a B- or maybe C+.

November 18, 2000: Kevin came out and gave me a lift back into Cadillac. The house isn't quite home anymore but it's still here. I spent the day cleaning away all the construction debris and making the place hospitable. I also cleaned the garage, installed the new battery, fired up the SHO, and aired up it's tires. Good SHO. I like that car! :-) I also upgraded my server to FreeBSD 4.2.

November 17, 2000: Jen drove me to SeaTac to catch my 6:45am flight towards Michigan. I landed on time in Minneapolis where there was already snow. Because of the snow in Traverse, they had to carry more fuel and needed to bump six passengers. I took a volundary bump off my 1:20 flight (which would have put me in T.C. at 4:30). Instead of catching the next MSP to TVC flight at 6:20pm, I opted instead to fly to Detroit and catch the T.C. flight out of there and get into T.C. an hour sooner. It was a good plan until our plane broke in Detroit. I ended up landing in TVC about 5 minutes after the MSP plane. I got to my parents house around 11:30pm.

November 4, 2000: Yesterday was a big day for me. As many of you know I have been building a massively scalable mail server designed to support hundreds of thousands of mail users. Over the last couple months the development team (me) has taken a parallel server architecture and scaled it into sizable beast that is working quite nicely. Anyway, it was nearly completion as all the major features work and we were getting it ready to go live on Monday (Nov 6).

Because of some other problems, I strolled into work yesterday and preperations were being made to push it into production that day! So, all the little details that were't quite completed became priorities and I spent the day working with the tech support team and resolving all the issues that we could think of.

Results? So far so good. On Thursday (Nov 2 (my birthday)) we started provisioning test accounts and ironed out the kinks in my provisioning scripts. No problems. Also on Thursday I taught a class for the tech support leads on how my mail server works, how to handle basic problems, etc.. As part of the class I got to learn about some of the features that our existing mail servers supported. Results were good, I got some great feedback from the support leads (John & Kim) and I spent the rest of the day making changes to my scripts to handle the variety of changes that were needed.

As the server went live Friday I got some last minute stuff done like cleaning up the HTML interface, tightening security policies, and fixing all the little problems that the support team was finding. So far everyone likes my server. As I walk through the support department I get comments like "Hey, I just love about your server!" and David, the person I build it for is happy with it too. It's still a work in progress but so far it's a raging success.

October 26, 2000: One of the nice parts about "city life" is that there is plenty of stuff to do. On Mondays I play ultimate frisbee, Tuesdays is volleyball, Wednesdays is soccer, and if I get off my duff I can be riding on Fridays with some local mt. bikers.

October 25, 2000: California was interesting. The climate is basically desert with patches of green where people water it and make useful land. I had a good time and learned quite a bit at BSDCon. On the way home I did a quick tour of the bay area, hitting all the really cool sites (The Golden Gate, Apple Computer, Berkeley (UCB), and a few other major geek hot spots like Frys Electronics.

October 17, 2000: I'll be out of touch for a few days. I'm going to BSDCon in Monterrey California. This will be my time visiting CA so it should be an exciting adventure for me. Of course, finding myself surrounded by folks with bigger geek badges than mine is always something to look forward to.

August 12, 2000: Yup, the sure were right about the rain here. On Monday I wore my raincoat for the very first time while walking to work. It was a fairly heavy drizzle, almost raining. I was told that we actually got some honest rain too but it was too early in the morning for me to verify.

I started playing soccer this week. I played in a game last night and realized just how out of shape I'm getting. I only played 50 minutes or so (of a 90 minute game) but it was work. You just sprint one way up the field, hang around for a second, and then sprint the other way down the field. When the ball is anywhere near you to end up chasing down the person with the ball so it's even more sprinting. It's safe to assume I'll be washing the soccer jersey between games. :-P

Sept 30, 2000: I have a new domain! Actually, a couple of them but only one of interest right now. is my new domain name. You can now email me at "matt at" and I'll pop up on my mail server at home. In contrast, the or domains are routed to my mail server back in Cadillac. I have also registered but it's not yet doing anything useful. It will eventually mirror and work in exactly the same fashion. My web page is also mirrored at which will connect to my computer here in Seattle. All the old addresses still work, they just point to my server in Michigan. Do you want a email account? Just ask me and I'll set it up!

Do you want to see something cool? I mean REALLY cool? Check out this photo of the montana wild fires.

Sept 29, 2000: Even more web page updates! Lyn mailed me her pictures from her visit here and I created a Lyn page to put them on. I'm not exactly a Photoshop expert, I dabble with it and use it to drive my scanner. I plop scans on the scanner, click the "auto scan" button and voila, a picture pops up on my screen. I know how to resize it, rotate it, and save it as a jpeg. That's nearly all I care to know. However, my scans looked so terrible that Lyn rescanned them and demonstrated that even with an old decrepid scanner, her Photoshop skills can put me and my fancy toys in their place. Go Lyn! Oh yeah, and thanks for the scans. :-)

Sept 19, 2000: Two days in a row! It's a record. :-) If you'll click the travel link yet again, you'll find another link to some very nice photos of the Sol Duc valley area of the Olympic mountain range.

Sept. 18, 2000: Matt lives! The old web site has grown a bit stagnet. When I wasn't real busy at work I had friends out visiting or was off exploring this new world I live in. The cool part is, I've got pictures for you, finally. :-) You can check out the travel link and there's a new link there detailing my visits to the Olympic National Forest. It turns out buying an annual pass has been a good thing. :-)

Aug. 21: Wow, it's been a busy couple weeks. Last Friday night I went out and did my bivy on Granite mountain. We met up at the trailhead at 6:30 PM and despite what our leader had said about keeping a moderate pace we hauled butt up the mountain. We ascended 4000 feet over a 4 mile trail. We expected to have light packs but ended up helping out some volunteer rangers and carrying a bunch of window putty and supplies up the mountain to the lookout.

Once we dropped off our beastly burdens and talked with the rangers for an hour we hiked down a couple hundred feet to the snow field we were sleeping next to. We all settled into sleeping spots and did our best to get some sleep. Around 2:00 am I woke up shivering. After getting up, wandering over to the rocks, and doing some jumping jacks I laid back down and looked up at the sky. Now, I have seen the Northern Lights before but at 2:00 am the sky was lit up from the Northern horizon to as far above me as I could see (while laying flat on my back). About 60% of the visible sky was lit up and pulsating. The pulses would vary between white, light pink, and light blue. After oohing and ahh'ing for a couple minutes I decided that it was OK to wake everyone up. It turned out they were all awake anyway so a bunch of eyes and noses started peering out and gazing in awe at the best Northern Light show any of us (including those that had seen them in Alaska) had ever seen.

Now, lest you all think that I'm a terribly lucky person, I have to tell you: wait, there's more! Did I mention the shooting stars? I'll bet there wasn't one 5 minute period where I didn't see at least one shooting star. The average was about one ever minute my eyes were open (I can't vouch for the rest of the time). So, not only was there this incredible once every blue moon Northern Light show but also a meteor show that kept the night sky alive all night long.

And now, for the rest of the story: Did you ever wonder why I might have been awake most of the night to catch this spectacular light show? It might have had something to do with the sub-40 degree temperatures at altitude. Did I mention that our choices for sleeping were: snow (the frozen hardpack stuff), rocks, or nearly frozen tundra. Since we were bivying, we didn't have tents, sleeping bags, or portable fires. We were essentially spending the night with our day packs and none of us were comfortably warm. Shortly after waking up the second time shivering, I led the formation of a puppy pile to share body heat and keep each other warm. Nancy got a coveted middle position and was the only one who stayed tolerably warm all night. We all got to learn a bit about survival and preparation in the mountains.

Aug. 10th:The blackberries are ripe. Mmmmmmmm. That means that I have to leave a couple minutes early so I can stand along the road and munch some berries. Depending on how many I choose to eat, I can easily double the length of my 8 minute walk to work.

Bivouac: It's an outdoor excursion where you go out with normal day hike stuff and spend the night in the woods. I'm going on a bivy Friday evening. The mountaineers will be doing a bivy on Granite mountain. We'll hike up to about 7,000 feet, camp for the night and come back down Saturday morning. The whole idea is to take a little as possible and survive the night without enduring too much discomfort. Right up my alley. :-)

Aug. 8th:Good news: On Friday the movers showed up with all my stuff. The bad news is, their truck wouldn't fit down the little twisty turny road that I live on. So, they showed up and then had to wait around until a little shuttle truck showed up, move all the stuff off the big truck into a little one and make a couple trips. I played traffic cop and directed the 6 movers as they hauled boxes in to all the appropriate rooms. Rather than wait a couple days for the unpackers to come I spent the rest of the day unpacking and have almost everything but the garage unpacked. :-)

On Saturday I drove East through the Cascade mountains and Stevens Pass to a neat little town named Leavenworth. It's a Bavarian village that has carried out the theme so well you feel like you've flown into Southern Germany or Switzerland and got dropped off. On the way back through I stopped and took a look at the ski slopes at Stevens Pass. Their little mountains are not as large as I expected but a LOT bigger than the slopes we have in Northern Michigan.

On Sunday I traveled the other direction towards the Pacific ocean. I drove up into the Olympic National Forest, gazed with wonder and lust at the mountains, did a little hiking in the rain forests up there which are way cool. The trees are the largest I've ever seen, the water is as blue and clear as the lakes in the Killarney mountains, and the waterfall I visited was breathtaking. I can't wait to go back. I took a detour on the way home and stopped by the Pacific Ocean since I hadn't seen it yet. I couldn't see much because if was overcast but it's some serious water. Wow.

Aug. 2nd:I'm back in Seattle now. I spent the last 10 days traveling back to Michigan for my third annual trip to the Killarney mountains to go hiking. It was a log of fun and I'll be updating the Killarney III page soon with all the fun details.

July 11th: I've updated my Travel Cost Page with flight information for Traverse City. If you'd like to visit me, that's the best source of travel information I can think of.

I had an exciting event happen on Saturday. I was out hiking on Cougar mountain and got stalked by a Cougar. :-) It was really neat, I was trying to let him get close enough to me that I could see him but he stayed well concealed in the brush.

July 8th: I like Seattle. Despite it's notable lacking of my loved ones, this place is way cool. A couple days ago I decided that Cougar mountain needed to be explored. I ventured out that way and found that in my back yard (almost literally) is a really big mountain with 33,000 acres of park land on it. It's connected via trails to the trail that runs through the park that I live next to. While driving up and down the mountain I had to fight to contain my glee as me and the little Jetta were zipping through tight S curves and switchbacks while threading our way down the mountain road. Next to racing across the desert at 100+ mph, bopping through the mountains is some of my favorite driving. :-)

As I continue to get out and explore the place I continue to be impressed. I was thinking the other day that the areas I used to have to travel to see are now in my back yard. Killarney, a wonderful trail in it's own right, has nothing over the trails I have in my back yard. I told a fellow in my office today that I was going over to like the Killarneys. He knows the Killarneys and he asked the same thing I had asked myself a few days prior: "Why are you going all the way back there, we've got better ones right here?" If I drive a mere 40 minutes I'm in the Cascade mountains. We're not talking little mountains like the Porky's, these are honest to goodness mountains. I've joined the Mountaineers where I'll learn to climb these beasts. These aren't the mountains you can just run out to on the weekend and climb, you need practice, conditioning, equipment, and a bit of good judgment. Once I get good I'll have photo's here of me climbing Mt. Ranier. It's only a couple hours away.

The Mountaineers is really cool. We own a few lodges at nearby ski resorts and I can stay there for dirt cheap (like $10-$30/night) while out there renewing my sense of perspective.

July 1st: Life is good. Contrary to popular belief, I found a Sam's Club out here. :-) There is actually two of them in the area. I went shopping at Sam's today and bought a blender, bagels, and croissants. It felt really good to exercise my Sam's charge. :-) I also found a really big sporting good store and fought a new pair of Reebok DMX 10 running shoes. I took them out for a couple mile test drive tonight.

Once again, I got to see a big ole doe watch me run by. She was a little further away this time but still not far from the road. I think she was the same one I saw the other night while running. I also noticed quite a few slugs crossing the road. They grow 'em big out here. If eating them were a consideration you'd only need about a tenth as many of these to fill up on. There's also some kind of wild flower that grows and looks very much like hollyhocks. I'm not sure what it is yet.

June 30th: What difference a day makes. I got a good sleep last night and this day went very well. I got a lot of work done, I smiled a lot and had a good day. The sky was overcast, it was about 58 degrees, and in my book, a perfect day. I'm really looking forward to my hiking trip in Canada. It will be good to be surrounded by old friends again.

June 29th: I've decided to write about my first week impressions of Seattle. It's tempting to just pour out a bunch of feelings and say that Seattle sucks but I decided that it's not that it sucks to be here, it's just that it sucks to not be where all my loved ones are. Despite being in a really great place, I'm having to work really not at no hating it. I'll start by saying that I like my job. My boss is a really cool guy that, much like my management style, doesn't act like a boss. He's a leader and a team mate. We're all on the same team and we get to act like it. That's cool, that's something I can be proud to be a part of. My first project is to build a media server that serves 400 simultaneous streams of Real Audio content to users. I collected the definition of needs from one person, discussed it with my boss, and presented it to the General Manager for approval. Just like that I've got a machine being ordered (per my specs), the Real licensing being ordered, and I'm going to have something getting done really soon. :-) That's cool.

People that know me well know that the little things don't bother me. Well, lately they have. I'm sure it's because my mood has been poor because I really miss everyone that I used to be real close with. When you compound loneliness with your milk getting chunky a week before it expires, a full body hurt from playing volleyball too too hard (I'm out of shape!), my expense check not showing up, and just all around fatigue from I don't even know what, it's been a miserable week for me. If I didn't know any better, I'd say I was depressed. The little things are getting to me and I don't have the strength to fight them. A coworker today stopped me in the hall and asked where my smile was. I had to explain it was back in MI where my heart is.

Despite feeling all around depressed, today was a good day. I got my third computer on my desk (a really fast windows workstation), my new cell phone, and while I was out running I ran right up on a deer. She was standing along side the road and I didn't see her until I was about 8 feet away from her. She was standing in the ditch motionless and at first I thought she was a model or statue but she watched me jog by. I was just outside my apartment so it was a little hard to believe. That's the funny part about this place, the city and the wilderness are intertwined. Also, I closed on my house today so now I'm a Washington landlord. On July 19 day I get to kick out the tenants and move into my house. I'm sure that'll do a lot for my state of mind.

I joined the Mountaineers this week. They're a group that does outdoorsy stuff. They're the same group that I played Volleyball with for 4 hours the other night and the reason my body hurts. Well, OK, my body hurts because I've been getting fat and lazy. Anyway, I'm anxious to get involved there and get out and do some serious hikes.

June 22nd: I've got my contact page updated with current phone numbers and addresses for me.

June 19th: I'm in Seattle! On Friday the 16th dad and I pulled out of Williamsburg, MI just before 2:00 PM We arrived in Seattle less than 31 hours later. Unless you've got a car capable of averaging 100 mph for hundreds of miles in a row, don't think you can do it that fast.

I'm getting settled into my new cubicle, I got to build one of my workstations today out of spare parts laying around: A PII 350, 256MB RAM, 2940UW SCSI, Barracuda 9GB SCSI, Maxtor 17GB IDE, a new 19" monitor and BSDI 4.1. Not bad specs for my "toy machine" that I can mess with. My primary workstation is a much faster brand new machine that I'll get in a couple days.

June 12th: My departure date is this Friday the 16th. Dad and I are driving my Jetta out there and he'll fly back. I'll be busy all day Thursday with the packers so if you want to stop by, try to do so on Wednesday or Tuesday.

June 8th: Bon Voyage Party. This Sunday (the 12th) there will be a Bon Voyage party held at my house. It will start around 3:00 and end when the last person leaves.

May 29th: Web Site Updates In case you hadn't noticed, I've gone through my entire web site and updated nearly everything. Please have a look around and let me know of anything that looks goofy or needs updating. If you have any suggestions for improvement, you can also forward them to me. :-)

Want to visit me? I've put together a travel cost page that compares the cost of travel between Michigan and Seattle using planes, trains, buses, and cars.

FAQ (frequently asked questions):

May 28th: What about Brutus? Brutus, my ever faithful, superbly trained, and absolutely wonderful 95 lb. black lab was getting his bags packed. He just got all his shots and his health certificate so that he could fly. I was planning to take him with me when our plans changed. A little background is necessary so I'll fill you in.

I wasn't really wanting a dog but 5 years ago when I got Brutus for a birthday present. He was a pup, smaller than my cat and I raised and trained him myself. He's a great dog and most anyone that's met him will tell you so. Over the years I've had many a person offer to take Brutus home with them and I've never taken any of the offers seriously. I've never trusted anyone else to take care of him the way I have, to keep him disciplined so that all then training isn't wasted, and to love him back half as much as he'll love them.

You have to understand that Brutus loves everyone, but nobody in the world compares to his love for daddy. He pouts when I leave and don't take him, he waits at the window watching for my return, and nothing in the world means more to him than simply being near me. I've learned more about unconditional love than any human could ever teach. During his life there have only been two other people for whom Brutus has displayed the kind of affection towards that he has for me. One of those persons just happens to be someone that I too trust, love, and care very deeply for.

This last week she asked me if I'd consider leaving Brutus with her on her farm. She's got 40 acres of land, a couple horses, goats, chickens, and an sundry of wild critters that frequent the farm. She loves animals more than I do (I think of most animals in terms of what they look like on a platter). I couldn't imagine a better person to entrust Brutus to. For the first time, I took the offer seriously. It didn't help that I had been thinking about Brutus the day before. I was no longer going to be working out of my home so Brutus would be stuck home by himself all day. For such a social animal, that would be pretty tough for him.

When I combined that with knowing that Brutus absolutely loves being at the farm, loves the animals, is free to roam about outside, and will have Lyn around all day, it's a no brainer decision. While I'll really miss my foot warming, toilet drinking, butt sniffing, tail wagging, and loyal friend, I know his quality of life will be better here than in Washington. I know he'll be loved and appreciated and I know too that his impact upon Lyn's life will also be a positive one.

Aren't you going to miss him? Of course I will. You can't live with anyone or anything for that long without becoming attached to them. Brutus is like my shadow, always a step behind. He goes nearly everywhere with me. He carries his own backpack on hiking trips, is never too tired to go out running/biking, and is always happy to see me. Most humans could take some lessons from him, it's fun to be around exuberant folks and I can't think of a better work to describe Brutus.

May 26th: You've heard it through the grapevine, now it's official so you may as well hear it straight from the horses mouth. I'm moving to Bellevue Washington. I plan to be at work out there on June 19th and I get to move into my new house on July 19th.

FAQ (frequently asked questions):

Why are you moving? I wasn't really planning on moving until after the summer but I knew I was going to move somewhere to find a job. There just isn't anything left in Cadillac for me to do that I could find challenging and fun. I had been watching for local stuff that I might find enjoyable but nothing was tickling my fancy. To satisfy my innate curiosity, I posted to a mailing list that I was interested in working as a systems administrator and I got deluged with responses from companies trying to hire me. There is a real shortage of good people in my field and companies are pouncing in anyone they can snarf up. Most of them offered me jobs sight unseen but I took the time to interview each company to find one that has some vision and where we can help each other succeed.

Why Seattle/Bellevue? A good one word summary would be: opportunity. I wanted to move to either the Northeast coast (Appalachians) or Northern Colorado (Rockies) but when Seattle popped up with a promising company I decided to give it a look. Bellevue is actually very near the Cascade mountains, there are tons of ski resorts, the year round temperatures are very mild, and I really liked what I saw in the community of Bellevue. It's a place where I can enjoy the leisure activities that I thrive on and, most importantly, a career where I know the expectations of me will be high enough that I will continue to grow and achieve.

Who are you working for? A company called HostPro. They're a very new company formed by the merging of several national web hosting providers and owned my

They must be paying you very well? You would think so. :-) In actuality, they are paying me a little less than double what I made here in Northern Michigan. While that sounds really good, my housing costs will go up by 700%, my taxes will of course be higher, and the cost of living in general is higher out there. I've already prepared my monthly budget and I expect my standard of living there to be very comparable to life in Northern Michigan on half the wages.

Good benefits? Great benefits! They have a 100% matching 401K plan, 20% off market price for company stock (ESOP), excellent health, dental, and vision, moving expenses, as well as a sign-on package that softens the impact of buying another house and moving across the continent.

What about everyone here? That's the hardest part. It's not too hard to pack up everything I own and fly across the country but saying good-bye to the collection of the most wonderful people a person could know (collectively known as my "friends") is the really difficult task. They all know I've outgrown this little pond we call home but it's pretty hard to feel good about saying good-bye to close friends.