Mark\’s Rants, Raves And Other Things ;)

Rants and raves about things that interest me

Archive for August, 2006

Not so much a campus, but a suburb part 2

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 26, 2006

I forgot to mention that Microsoft is currently expanding the campus by adding another 7 buildings and acquiring 7 buildings and building an additional overpass over the SR-520 freeway at a cost of US$1 billion over the next 3 years. The result will be another 3.1 million square feet (or 280,000 square metres for the world outside the US that use metric :P) of office space which is enough for roughly another 12000 people!

So the “suburb” is going to be even bigger….


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Not so much a campus, but a suburb

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 24, 2006

That was the way that Craig described the main Microsoft campus in Redmond (where I will be working) as we walked the dogs through it this afternoon.

Having walked through the campus, it is nothing like I expected. Originally I expected there to be a big fence around the whole campus with tight security. The reality is very far from this. The campus is very open with a lot of tall trees, green lawns, outdoor cafeteria seats, and basketball courts. It also has main roads (which the public use) running right through the middle of it and the general public can readily walk through its paths and gardens. Sizewise it is exceptionally large (hence Craig’s comment about it being like a suburb) and has buildings on both of sides of SR-520, one of the main freeways here in Seattle.

We timed how long it takes to walk from our apartment to Building 43 where I will be working and it takes about 25 minutes which means I should get about 4 hours of exercise walking to work every week.

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Snow nearby

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 21, 2006

It’s a little disconcerting to have a 30°C day here in Seattle yet see mountains nearby with snow on the top. Definitely something you don’t see in Melbourne….  

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No wonder Americans are getting so obese…

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 21, 2006

Today, Craig and I went to Jack In The Box for dinner. Craig ordered a large Bacon Cheeseburger meal and I ordered a medium Chicken Fajita Pita meal.

As I said back in my US Day 1 post, the sizes of drinks here in the US are much bigger than in Australia. In fact, according to the sides of our cups, the medium drink is 32oz or roughly 960ml and the large drink is 42oz or roughly 1.32l. We both had Minute Maid Lemonade, so based on the nutritional facts, the medium drink contains 440 calories and 116g of sugar and large drink has 605 calories and 160g of sugar.

Add these to the fat and sugar content of the main meal and I can see why the waistline of people who regularly eat these meals are getting bigger and bigger….

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Just when I thought I had seen everything

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 19, 2006

Today, Craig and I went shopping at Bellevue Square which is located in Bellevue, which is a relatively large town located very close to Redmond.

While wandering around, we came across a sweet shop and I just had to take a picture of this:







It’s a choose your own M&M colour selector so if you want just purple and orange M&M’s, for example, then you can. As for why one would worry about this, given that all M&M’s taste the same, the mind ponders…*

* OK, I’ve thought of one legitimate use which is for a colour themed party or function. I can’t really think of any other uses…

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Car company pronunciation

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 18, 2006

It’s very funny to hear how the Americans pronounce car company names on TV.

Nissan, which would be pronounced as Ni-sun in Australia, is pronounced as Nee-sun here.

Hyundai, which would be pronounced as Hi-oon-die in Australia, is pronounced here as Hun-day.

The list will increase as I see more ads 😉

Posted in Moving | 4 Comments »

Our first Seattle pizza

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 18, 2006

Last night Craig and I ordered our first pizza from a place called Pagliacci Pizza. I ordered an 11” Chicken Primo (Chicken marinated in balsamic vinaigrette, artichoke hearts, red onion, imported peppers, mozzarella, ricotta and parsley on an olive oil base) and Craig ordered an 11” Grand Salami Primo (Salami, pepperoni, Canadian bacon and Italian sausage over mozzarella, tomato sauce and spices). About half an hour later, our pizzas arrived.

The pizzas were on a crusty thin base and were not overloaded with toppings or cheese. One interesting thing was that both pizzas came with a sachet of chili flakes and some parmesan (or maybe it was Romano) cheese which you could sprinkle on the pizza to add a little more flavour. I sprinkled the chili on mine to give it a little spice and Craig used both. We both agreed that our respective pizzas were very tasty and not too heavy (unlike the awful pizzas we used to get in Bacchus Marsh).

We will definitely be ordering from Pagliacci again….

Posted in Moving | 4 Comments »

The comforting side of globalisation part 2

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 18, 2006

In my previous posting, I mentioned the comfort of having the same brands in the supermarkets over here as we do in Australia. Having had more of a wander around the supermarkets (having been at least once every day so far since we arrived in Seattle), I’ve noticed that sometimes the same products exist just under different brand names. Here is a list of some of the ones I’ve found so far (the list will increase as I find more):

Australian name US name Description
Finish Electrasol Dishwashing powder
SoftWash SoftSoap Hand wash
Rexona Degree Deodorant
Honda Acura Cars
Lynx Axe Deodorant
Preen Spray ‘n Wash Stain remover

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Temporary Housing and Rental Car

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 18, 2006

As part of my relocation benefits, Microsoft provide Craig and I with temporary housing for 60 days. Our apartment is located in a place called “The Trails of Redmond” which is located very close to the main Microsoft campus, which will be handy for when I start work as I can walk to work.

The apartment block is set in a wooded environment which feels more like being away at a camp than being close to town, etc. and is quiet and peaceful. The apartment itself has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, hidden laundry (with full size top loading washing machine and dryer), kitchen (with microwave oven and dishwasher), and a living and meals area (with cable TV). A floorplan can be viewed here (ours is the mirror image of this).

We were also provided a rental car for 30 days which is a red Ford Taurus.

I’ve uploaded some pictures of the temporary housing and rental car to my gallery site at Pictures of the inside are to come…

Here’s a bird’s eye view of our apartment building:

Posted in Moving | 4 Comments »

Liquor stores

Posted by Mark Sztainbok on August 17, 2006

Today, Craig and I made some interesting discoveries about liquor over here:

  1. That even though supermarkets readily sell wine and beer, they do not sell spirits or liqueurs
  2. Spirits and liqueurs are only sold in liquor stores
  3. All liquor stores in Washington are state owned and run by the Washington State Liquor Control Board
  4. Alcohol is exceptionally cheap over here. We bought a 1.75l bottle of Tanqueray Gin for US$45.95, 1.75l bottle of Smirnoff Blue Label Vodka for US$35.95 and 750ml bottle of Frangelico for US$24.95.
  5. Even if you’re over 30, you may be asked for ID. Both Craig and myself had to show ID when purchasing the above alcohol. Apparently, if you look 27 or younger (legal age for alcohol here is 21), it is common to be asked for ID here in Washington state so in a way it’s flattering to be asked
  6. A lot of Australian wines are cheaper over here in the US than they are Australia. Weird but true…

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