Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trip Log Blog from Rob

My friend Rob started a new blog all about road trips. He wanted me to post. I did.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Company Store

I'm upgrading to Vista.

That Microsoft employee store has some good deals, but don't try to walk
in without that ID badge, or they'll git'cha, like they got me. Good
thing I'm an actual employee, and had the ID in my pocket. That got me

However, to get out, you have to have your employee #. Didn't even know
I had a number. They looked it up, and I don't think there are too many
Austin Craigs interning at MSNBC.com, but they were still a bit

Anyway, long story short, I'm upgrading to Vista. A real blog post when
its up and running.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Catching Up

I would have thought I'd get here to Washington and settle into a delightully boring routine. You know, wake up, go to work, come home, work out, eat something, read a book, go to sleep. Repeat. But it hasn't happened yet.

I had to find an apartment first. Then move it. Then ENTERTAIN GUESTS! Who would have thought I'd have guests this early in the game? Glad they came, it was a ton of fun, including renting canoes, capsizing, trotting around downtown Seattle, Pike's Place, and more. More on all that later. Then I'm left to arrange my room, get the necessities (groceries, furniture, etc.) set up my computer, and try to fix my phone and camera, that were dropped in Lake Washington on Saturday when our canoe tipped over. Things will slow down a bit. Just not yet.

Some pictures to hold you over till the full story of surprise guests comes out. Also, expect a review of the new Indiana Jones movie.

I'll report more, but for now, I have to head to bed. Work tomorrow, you see.

Friday, May 23, 2008



-Sent from Austin's phone.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm Official

I got my I.D. badge today. No more tailing people to get back in the

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Get Lost

By show of hands, who hates driving in Seattle?

Any of you who've ever been behind the wheel here should have both hands
held high.

It's absurd. Next time they're planning on making some roads here, they
should keep in mind they aren't moving cars still on the factory
automated line. These lanes will be occupied by PEOPLE driving, trying
to navigate the labyrinthine mess of merge, diverge, weave, and wind.
The streets are narrow, poorly labeled, heavily populated, and most of
the time rained on. Lets not go into the matter of driving at night, you
can imagine the dream come true THAT is.

It took me over an hour to get home today. It should have taken me ten
minutes, fifteen tops. But it's impossible unless you've memorized these
stupid streets. I might as well be navigating by the trees, everywhere I
go it looks like I'm driving through the forrest. Can't go by the stars,
it's always overcast and a'drizzle. In Utah I had the mountains to give
me a sense of direction. Here I am constantly disoriented. I'm as
disoriented on the roads as I am in my office. The office with no
windows, and no input from the outside world except through a computer

I have to stop blogging when I get home from frustrating commutes.
You'll think I don't like it here, and that's not true. I just HATE
driving around here.

I moved into the one place I've talked about. Looks like it'll be good.
I can take the bus. I'll have a nice roommate. The complex is clean,
gated, relatively new, has a pool and a gym. I'll have my own room, my
own bathroom, a washer and dryer, a good size kitchen and living room.
And I promise, once I don't have to drive to and from work, my posts
will become much more optimistic.

Until then, at least I get to listen to a lot of good radio. Thank
heavens for NPR.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I think I'm done househunting. Ya, two days househunting, really
thorough, right? It's not like I've even looked at a bunch of places,
it's just that I'm done with it. I don't have the patience to run around
town looking at different spots, weighing the pros and cons, trying to
find compatible roommates, or an affordable enough single person
apartment, wasting pricey gas driving all over the greater Seattle to
Redmond areas with a car weighed down by everything I own in tha back

I don't have the time, either. I just got home (to the Morins) and it's
past 11:00. Everybody is asleep, and I literally haven't even seen my
hosts today. I go to work in the morning, then FHE or Institute or
househunting, and then I come back here. I got home tonight and was
starving. Everything closes at 10:00, so I wandered around the rainy
streets of Seattle by myself late at night till I found a grocery store
to buy some food. It sounds worse than it was. But it sounds pretty bad,

I know it's only been two days, a silly short amount of time, but it's
going to be like this every day till I move into my own place closer to
work. I think I'll just move into the one place I've really scoped out.
The apartment seems great, the roommate nice, the rent affordable
enough. It has a private room, large living room and kitchen, washer and
dryer, and a pool for the complex. It's about a 15 minute drive to work,
but that's worlds better than the hour it took me this morning. And if I
can get a bus route to take me to work, that would be so much better
than fighting traffic. I'll let somebody else take the wheel. I'll read,
thank you very much. Or blog.

So. Pros and cons, pluses and minuses of the job:

(+) Microsoft provides free beverages to everybody working on the
campus. Juice, soda, water. It's great, most of what I've consumed over
the past couple days has been liquid.
(-) I have to pee every 10 minutes.
(-) The bathroom is in the hall. You have to use an employee ID card to
get back in the office. I don't have one yet. I get to wait till
somebody happens to be going through the door, so I can grab it before
it closes, and I get back in.
(+) While waiting for somebody to go through the door, I can enjoy a
wide variety of beverages from the coolers adjacent to the hall and
(+) There is hot chocolate on those chill rainy days (like today).
(-) It isn't that good.
(-) It looks like I'm downing some coffee to stay awake.
(+) There is more to my job than the free drinks.

I'm the first intern here for the summer at MSNBC.COM. I've got an
interesting project to work on, but if you want details, ask me. I won't
go into it here.

They've stuck me in a sort of "Intern Closet", at least that's what I'm
calling it. I was cleaning up a little today. There was an open orange
juice that looked like it had been there a couple days, till I realized
something was growing on the surface of it. More than a couple days, it
turns out. In fact, some papers laying around lead me to think that the
Intern Closet hasn't been used this year. Glamorous, right?

Don't get me wrong, I like it here. I just need to clean up a little.
But as soon as I started to today, a guy walked in and said he worked in
there. This right after I'd moved books and notes from the desk that
(apparently) is his. Honest, the place looks abandoned. He wasn't there
yesterday, nobody said anything about sharing the intern closet with
some guy that is a) not an intern and b) not on the same team or
project as I am. How was I supposed to know not to move things from the
desk that looked like it hadn't been used in 8 months?

I'm rambling. The job is actually great (I'm not just saying that) and
it'll get better. Good night.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

If this happened to me...

It would probably kill me. I'm allergic to bees, and the story scared me.

I wrote a report in Jr. High about Killer Bees. One of the only primary sources I could find was an article from National Geographic, circa 1976. It was about how many scientists believed that African "Killer Bees" sould some day make their way to the Americas. I guess we can check that one off the list.

Monday, May 19, 2008

This is Not a Drill: Alarm at Microsoft Bldg. 25

My first day at MSNBC.com, and we have some catastrophy. I don't know
what it is, but the alarm went off and the building was evacuated. Fire
trucks were prompt. I swear, it wasn't the intern.
-Sent from Austin's phone.


Prominent in the intern room: XBox 360 with RockBand. Also, I can get
Microsoft software for virtually nothing. Time to upgrade.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

I'm In

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Househunting: Day 1

Today went well. I woke up early. I'm staying with my friend Justin
Morin's family. Perry Morin made waffles, Darla Morin had made homemade
jam. It was delicious, they are amazing hosts. I see where Justin gets
it from.

Angela met up with a coworker who happened to be in town, and headed out
on the same flight. And I went to church.

I left with plenty of time to get there early, and would have, if the
directions weren't wrong. I'm not sure what happened, user error
probably. But I did have the right address, so I eventually found it (30
minutes late).

Church was good. An old friend of mine, AJ, is in the ward. We served in
the same mission and then were in the same ward post-mission. He
introduced me to some people. I met one guy who said he was looking for
a roommate in Redmond.

There was a potluck after church. I don't do so well with potucks. It's
like dinning roulette. I won't play that game. I'm not starving, I don't
need to eat just to supply calories. If it doesn't look great, I
probably won't put it in my mouth. I wasn't hungry anyway. I just talked
with people. There are a lot of people here for the summer, and a lot of
them from BYU. Glad to see I wasn't the only one.

I went and looked at the apartment previously mentioned. The guy who was
there seems like he'd be a great roommate, but it isn't too close to
work, and it's a bit pricey. I suppose that's just what things cost
here. The apartment was more than adequate, though, really nice place.
If I don't find anything else soon, I'll give him a call.

Brother Morin made steak, potatoes, and sweet corn for dinner. The steak
was thick and rare, the potatoes were rubbed in bacon grease and salted,
and the sweet corn was swimming in butter. So good. I'm not doing great
with my resolution to get in shape while I'm here, but I'm not
complaining either.

More to come. Tomorrow is my first day at work. Wish me luck.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


We're at dinner in Seattle.

Angela - "Are you afraid to go to church tomorrow all by yourself?"
Austin - "No."
Angela - "It's okay, you can tell me."
Austin - "I'm not afraid of anything."
Angela - "Not even a grizzly riding a shark?"

I'm glad Angela came with me.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I want one.

Reminds me of some earlier posts.

Also, it reminds me of Buzz Lightyear.

If anybody out there thinks this is a passing focus of mine, rest assured, I'm not kidding about trying something like this some day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blurry Vision

My vision has been oddly blurry today. I thought it was my contacts, so
I switched to glasses. Still a little blurry. Hope that goes away soon.

This morning on my way to the auto shop, a girl ran in front of my car.
I didn't hit her. I hit the breaks, swerved, and she jumped out of the
way. I don't know what she was thinking, she wasn't a child any more
than I am, and was in the middle of the road.

I'm getting my tires aligned. I'm reading Don't Make Me Think while I
sit in the waiting area. It's about web usability. Good advice in there,
and an issue I've faced as a user and designer.

My friend Josh is here, too, getting new tires on his car. He has his
baby boy with him.

I think BYU anthropology scholar John L. Sorenson is getting his tires
done as well. At least I think that is him. Scholar or not, I suppose we
all need new tires on occasion.

And now I'm passing the time by blogging.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blogging, Journalism, and Ted Hitler

A friend of mine sent me a link to a video she said reminded her of me. I have to think she is recalling a recent thread of comments.

A bit crass, but very funny. And makes a valid point about social information production.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Odd Couple

You've probably heard the song "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. NPR called it the hit song of Summer '06. Everybody everywhere listened to it, it crossed genre and cultural boundaries. Just a great song.

The duo just released their new album, "The Odd Couple". It's okay. I downloaded it, but not from iTunes. They released it for free. That's right, download for nothin'. But the catch is...it's one long file...backwards.

That's okay for somebody who has done audio editing. But it must be enough of a deterent that they don't expect it to hurt record sales too much. Fun gimmick, and it gets me a free album.

I really like the music video for the song Going On. Hope you do too.

P.S. Don't ask me to make any sense of it. I just like the look of the thing. Striking.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I haven't written much lately. My thoughts have been generally on
unpublishable things. If not unpublishable, then more difficult to

Today I was woken by three loud knocks on our door. I didn't really
stir. Three louder knocks followed. I jumped out of bed, began to dress,
and heard three knocks, louder still. I ran to the door, ran out, and
saw a woman talking to our neighbor. She was pointing to our house,
asking if she might try the downstairs basement door.

"Hello?" I questioned.
"Are you Craig?" she questioned back.
She held up a backpack. The backpack I'd lost six months ago, and given
up on shortly thereafter.

"WHAT? You're KIDDING me! I called the lost and found at that place
repeatedly, they insisted they didn't have it."

"There's more than on lost and found. I work there." That would have
been good to know when I called the same lost and found at Thanksgiving
Point every day for over a week, and they were less than useless. I was
disconnected twice, told I would be called back twice (never was), and
generally told I couldn't be helped.

"Wow, thank you sooo Much!" She was already walking to her car,
seemingly in a hurry. As she fled, I asked her name. "Pam."

"Thank you, Pam." She was gone before I could even ask any further
questions, or compliment her on her name. That's my mother's name.

The bag itself is nothing to scream about, and the contents no more
enticing. Half a stick of hair wax. A five year old two megapixel
camera. A paperback of "None Dare Call it Conspiracy" with the D.I.
sticker still on it (50¢). Gum and fruit snacks. I'm guessing she found
me by the Independent Study paperwork with my address on there (no phone
number). Nothing valuable to anybody but me. I'm glad to have it all

I was packing all day today. I made piles, and put things in boxes. A
box for D.I. A box for eBay. A box to throw away. A box to keep and
store and probably not open again for years. A couple boxes to take with
me to Washington.

I'm moving to Washington. Moving always reminds me of when my grandpa
died. We went to his house to clean everything out before selling it.
Moving always feels like I've died a little. It's silly. I've only been
here a year. But going through things, I remember so much. Planners from
my mission, notes my roommates passed me at church, drawings I did in
class to stay awake, pictures of old girlfriends. It reminds me of all
those times, and reminds me of time itself.

I'm not dying. Little parts of me aren't dying, at least not any more
than any other day or time. Time is pretty constant, it doesn't speed up
or slow down when you're looking through the scraps of past years.
Relativity says that if anything, moving fast is supposed to slow down
time, not jumble it, not make it speed up or mix it around. But I guess
Einstein had a different context in mind.

The job looks like it will be great, but I can't shake that moving
feeling, call it motion sickness. I'm driving myself to a place where
I've never been, I don't know anybody, and I don't even have an
apartment yet. I'm sure it'll all come together, but in the meantime,
I'll keep packing, keep making piles and putting things in boxes.

I'll let you know how it all turns out. I'll send a postcard.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Review: Iron Man

I wanted to see Iron Man opening night. I've been looking forward to this one for a long time. It certainly gets my award for best trailer of 2007. For a year I've been revving up for this, ever since reading about everything they showed at Comic Con last year (ya, I'm that dorky). But I ran into a few snags. First, I didn't have the usual entourage to go with me. It's Summer, people are home while school is out. Also, I was heading out of town for Landon's wedding, and just didn't think it would be possible. But lucky me.

After the wedding, we found ourselves with a few hours till the reception, and what-do-you-know, the IMAX theater in Boise, just a couple miles from the temple, is showing an opening day matinee of, you guessed it, Iron Man.

The story is simple enough, and standard fare for a comic book movie (of which this is a shining example). Tony Stark, the billionaire playboy tycoon genius, heir to the Stark Industries fortune, is demonstrating a new missile in war torn Afghanistan. After a stunning show to the top military brass, Stark is kidnapped en route back to his private jet. His captors are, unsurprisingly, Middle Eastern terrorists (the original comic book placed him against the Viet Cong, I guess whoever the present national threat is). Their demand is that he build for them, with stolen Stark Industries hardware, the missile he had just demonstrated. Stark comes up with a better plan. He builds a suit of armor and weapons. He wipes out the terrorists. He finds a new mission in life.

There is more to it than that (including a really great interplay between Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, his personal assistant) but I hope this is enough to get you to the theater.
The casting was purely inspired. Every role was filled perfectly, even though the parts weren't exactly intuitive. Robert Downey Jr. is Tony Stark; cocky, charming, intelligent, and very funny throughout. Jeff Bridges was amazing as Obadiah Stane; only showing you what best suits his needs. Gwyneth Paltrow reaffirmed my long time celebrity crush; as Pepper Potts she was as adorable as anything she's ever been in. Terrence Howard is good in everything I've seen him in. I am especially looking forward to him as Jim Rhodes suiting up in the sequels (count on it). Director Jon Favreau makes an on screen cameo as the limo driver, Hogan. There's even a surprise celebrity appearance at the end (the very end).

It was fast. It was funny. It was everything this kind of movie should be, which is fun. There isn't any science, there isn't any stunning plot. There are a lot of explosions, rocket packs, guns, funny lines, and cool machines and special effects. You'll like it, even if you're not into the whole super hero thing. It's just a lot of good time.

Rumor is all the actors have signed on for two more films. Downey will make a cameo as Stark in the upcoming HULK movie (they take place in the same Marvel universe). Dave and I agreed that we wouldn't mind having access to the wardrobe of Stane and Stark, respectively.

A.O. Scott of the New York Times gave it a favorable review, though I held off reading anything more than the headline till after I saw the movie myself. They also offered a little something extra on the development of the suit.

We were lucky enough to see this on the way out. While I don't think it was really a movie for little kids (Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content), but I just couldn't pass them up.

P.S. Stick around for after the credits, you'll be glad you did.

Friday, May 02, 2008

A Perfect Day

Landon's wedding was this morning. He and Katherine are just perfect
together, and I think I got some good pictures. We'll see.

This is proving to be a great day. When we rolled in last night, I was
very hungry. Really only one place to go at 1:30 am. Denny's. Usually
the Denny's Bottomless Hot Chocolate reaches the bottom when the waiter
tires of refilling. Not last night, he was great, and I had seven Hot
chocolates. I had just enough pancakes to really make me happy.

We just bought tickest for a matinee at the IMAX. Ironman, at the IMAX.
Am I excited? I was reading this morning the New York Times review, A.O.
Scott said it was surprisingly good. So I am. I'm excited.

Then we go to the reception, then drive back. All but the lengthy drive,
this is all turning out pretty well.

-Sent from Austin's phone.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Best Wishes

My dear friend Landon is getting married tomorrow. We've lived together for almost four years, ever since I got back from my mission. He's a top notch kind of guy, one of the most fiercely loyal friends a person could have, and I'll miss him as a roommate.

In our last ward, they had a little tradition called "nice notes". They would pass around a basket, and you had the option to take a piece of paper, write something nice on it for somebody else, and put it back. This is a nice note Landon left for me when I liked a girl with as blond of hair as mine. Absurd, but always encouraging. What a guy.

Thanks for everything, Landon. Glad we could be friends.