I Passed!

I forgot to tell you: I passed my certification exam, which gets me the new specialty certification MCSE: Security. I know, some of you don’t know what that is and most probably don’t care, but for me, it’s another check mark: something I wanted to accomplish and have. It doesn’t mean I am an expert now, but it does mean that I understand the Microsoft security model a bit better. I think I’ll be implementing some new security standards here at the house…

Road Trip: Glacier National Park

DAY 1: Arrival
Today, we left lovely Spokane, WA and set out on a short weekend trek to Glacier National Park in Montana accross three states: Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Now, having never been to the area, Laura and I chose to drive a more “scenic” route. After a wonderful sushi lunch in Coeur D’Alene [who’da thunk they’d have GREAT sushi in Idaho, eh?] in a restaurant called Bonzai Bistro, we left town and headed north.

The next town on our path was Sandpoint, ID – voted one of the best small towns in the country. I’d have to say I agree. We stopped in to a small wine bar [yes, again: population 2,000 or so and a very trendy wine bar] to have a cappucino. It’s quite a nice town and I would not mind having a summer home there. I think we’ll have to go back one day.

After leaving Sandpoint, we had a run-in with the law: I was not paying attention to my speed and got pulled over and ticketed. Well, at least it’s not much of a fine, but I’m still disappointed that I wasn’t more careful. That puts us $62 over budget for this trip now. I guess I have to skip a couple of meals… 😦

After Sandpoint, we continued north [at this point, I was afraid we’d accidently drive up into Canada, we are so far north] through Bonners Ferry and then finally turned east. This part of the journey was even more beautiful, if that is possible. Northern Idaho is stunning, but it’s not quite up to the Montana standard.

Passing into Montana was uneventful since we could not see much besides the tree-lined road. And what a windey road it was: 70mph speed limit felt a bit too generous. Once we were on the downside of the pass through the mountains, we came close to Kalispell, MT. That’s where the view began to change. The trees faded back and the mountains opened up to a wide valley in which was the city. We didn’t go into the city, but skirted it’s northern edge on our way to the cabins.

Having not been up here before, we made the newbie’s mistake of forgetting about the time zone change. We are now in Mountain time which is an hour later. I had planned to be at the lodge to check in by the 8PM closing time, but since I forgot about the time zone change, it was after 8:30PM before we arrived to check in. The owners were very nice and understanding, however, and let us have our room and a place to sleep.

We’re here now and I’m somewhat astounded that there’s high-speed wireless Internet service at the hotel/lodge. So, I’m using it. We’ll let you know more when we start our day tomorrow as we travel into the park.

Good night, all!

Security Certification Test

One reason I’m taking this class in Spokane is that I want to complete my MCSE:Security certification. I also want a better grasp of how to implement security in a Microsoft environment.

So far, the training is pretty good and filling in some gaps I have in my experience. In fact, I will likely be implementing some security changes in my home lab to increase security and enhance my learning and experience.

Soon, I will be taking the test. Wish me luck!

Spokane Update

This week, I’ve been spending a good amount of time on training in the Windows security area. I have to say that I’m liking the format of the class pretty well. They have it set up so that I can choose my own pace and break whenever I want. This way, I’m much less likely to fall asleep or lose interest. I can just pause the lecture, take a walk, get some coffee, etc. It’s quite nice.

On the non-work side of things, I really like this town even though it’s a bit small. Spokane is in a valley surrounded at a distance by mountains. And it is GREEN here. Lots of evergreens and other beautiful plants. Then, of course, there’s the lovely Pacific Northwest rain… lots of that, too.

There are even some really good restaurants, although it’s not quite a cheap little town – it’s somewhat expensive here.

Well, back to the class now. Just wanted to update you all.

And The Journey Begins…

We’re in the airport now – in Minneapolis. Half-way through, we’re about to go grab some food before our next leg.

The trip is going just fine, but I’m suffering from a swollen finger that I injured this morning in a softball game. It feels like it’s going to explode, it’s so tight. Well, I guess I’ll just have to survive. I can’t do anything about it. My whole finger tip is purple and it hurts to type – but, here I am… typing.

I guess it’s time for dinner now.

Dive Turkey 6 [Now Dive Turkey 2007]

After Dive Turkey 5 [or DTV], we have by remote consensus began using the year name in the description of the Dive Turkey event. So, if it happens this year, it will be called Dive Turkey 2007 Dive Turkey 6, or DTVI, is now in a conceptual planning stage.

For DTVI, we are thinking domestic – Florida: the SCUBA state. DT1 was held there on Islamorada with the founding members of the DT team and much diving and many good times were had by all. That was in November of 1999. Now, eight years later, we’re thinking of a return. There are many reasons but among them are:

  1. Ease of travel
  2. Cost of travel/accomodations [much cheaper than, say, Cayman or Hawaii or somewhere in the South Pacific]
  3. Nearness of neighbors [some of us have friends in Florida that can drop by if not for the whole time, for at least a portion]
  4. Laura has never been to the Keys

What are your thoughts? Like to go?

[UPDATE:] I guess we are sticking with the original naming convention. Shoulda asked first, I suppose…

Some More Pictures


Some of the best things in Vegas aren’t in Vegas. Take for instance the resort at Montelago Village a good distance east of town. We had heard of this place on TV, so we stopped in on our way back from Hoover Dam. I have to say that it is quite nice and were we to have to go back to Vegas, it would be an ideal place to be away from the Strip.

Take a look at the pictures and you’ll find a nice little Italian style village. Of course, it’s not really like a small Italian village, but it’s good enough for what it is: a peaceful oasis away from town.

The Great Outdoors

I’m sitting right now on my outdoor furnitire – the wonderful patio furniture we had shipped from Texas [since everything here was either too cheap or too expensive]. Laura and I [mostly Laura] have just finished up the yard work for the week – cleaning, pruning, cutting, mowing, etc. It all looks so nice now.

I have just finished booking our travel to Spokane and arranging our rooms for the week and weekend we will be there. The company pays for the weekdays, of course, while I get to pay for the cabin in the woods over the weekend.

I’m getting pretty excited about it, actually. It’s been a while since Laura and I just went out to the wilderness. It’s been since we had Thanksgiving at my sister’s in Wyoming since we’ve taken a few days to ourselves and nature like that.