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This has been my IM away message for the past few days. Both of the Microsoft Design Studio teams made the voyage, which is actually just under the distance from Lincoln to Loveland.

We were originally slated to take a bus, but then we decided to drive. We were then going to take two university vans, but we discovered that they have a maximum speed limit of 65 (and are monitored via GPS to enforce it). So, we decided to drive our own cars, but obviously we would need more then two. We ended up taking four cars, as Johnny wanted to depart earlier than everyone else was scheduled to leave. We took my car, Cliff's Prius, Dani's Alero, and Johnny's car as well. Johnny went separately, but everyone else caravaned.

The trip itself was pretty boring, aside from the snowstorm that hit Nebraska/Omaha/South Dakota the night before. Once we got past Sioux Falls, though, we had no trouble at all. We stopped for lunch in Sioux City, and for gas in Sioux Falls. Just south of the North Dakota/South Dakota border, we came upon a very strange sight - the contintental divide! That's right, it's not just in the rockies. In fact, North America has a few divides. Apparently everything north of this one empties into Hudson Bay. When we got to Fargo, the weather was actually much warmer than my previous trip, which was good, though it still wasn't exactly warm. After checking into the hotel room, we went across the street to have dinner at Granite City with some of the Microsoft people. Most of us had alcohol with our meal; I had steak number one, and a stout beer.

The following day at Microsoft was a lot of fun. Aside from the various meetings and reviews, we had a catered lunch, a guided tour of the Fargo facilities, and we even got gift bags from our wonderful client. In the bag was a t-shirt, a nice ledger, and chocolate-covered potato chips (apparently a North Dakota thing). That night, we again went out to dinner with the Microsoft folks, at a restaurant called Old Broadway. Here I had steak number two, which put the previous dinner to shame. To go with the meal, I followed the menu's wine suggestion, and enjoyed an excellent cabernet. I was driving, so I limited myself to the one drink, but were definitely others who had quite a bit more than that. David Kim even ended up making origami at the table, as did Dani. We all had a great time.

The following day, we went in for another early morning at the Microsoft campus, and we left around 2:00 to head back to Lincoln. The trip home was even more uneventful as the trip to Fargo, and we made it to lincoln around 9:30.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 6:06 PM

As you can see, I have finally gotten around to posting all of the photos I took over winter break. The vast majority of them were actually taken on my way home - an ice storm rendered a good chunk of western Nebraska in stunning condition, as ice clung to the trees despite the sunshine and clear blue skies. The sunset in Colorado was also beautiful, as most of the state had just been hit with a good deal of snow. There are also some miscellaneous pictures of my dog and my family, and finally some photos from my visit to a winery in Canon City, not far from Colorado Springs.

I also started classes again today - fun stuff. Only one semester to go! However, I do have quite a bit to look forward to. In June, I will be visiting Australia and New Zealand, for a period of three whole weeks. Then, on the 16th of July, I will be starting work for IBM. Orientation will be held in Washington D.C. Needless to say, I am quite excited for graduation in May.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 11:17 PM

I have started summer school. In a week, I am already a fifth through one of my classes - Finance 867, a class on options and futures.

Anyway, when I am not doing that, I am playing Oblivion. I started that last week, and I am already in for about forty hours. What can I say - it's quite addicting.

Posted by nick.steinbaugh at 11:50 PM