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2004 MVP Summit!

The 2004 Most Valuable Professional Summit was held in April at Microsoft in Redmond (Seattle), Washington.

Every year, each summit gets not only bigger and bigger, but better and better. Granted, the intimacy from smaller summits is lost, but the overall efficiency keeps getting better.


Strange shot of Greg on the plane heading to Seattle.
(The sun was shining in the window.)

Beth Melton on the plane, hiding from Dian and that camera!

Fine! I'll take pictures out the window.

And now we also have shots of Beth "pole dancing" in Seattle.
(To add to those of her and her pole from the NY Launch photos.)

The Tram took us to the taxi area, but for the same price as a taxi,
we find a limo waiting for hire...we grab it!

Nice view out the limo windows.

We arrive at the W hotel in Seattle.
Greg gets busy setting up our wireless network in our room
so we can both compute while in the room from our own laptops.

We have a very pleasant view
and can even see the mountains to the far right
(not in this shot).

We arrived on Saturday.
Nothing was scheduled until Sunday night,
so Greg and Jeff Struyk head off to the Museum of Flight...
nothing like pilots near things with wings!

I went to the Flight museum last year with Greg,
so I bow out of this trip to relax and
enjoy a wonderfully leisurely day at the hotel
taking a long bath and doing my nails...
I don't even LOOK at a computer all afternoon. How cool!

(I'll let Greg fill you in on the details below...
cos' they're all "planes" to me!)

Them's some airplanes!!
Left to right, Boeing 707 "Air Force One", Boeing 747
(the first, in fact), Boeing 727 and a former Nasa Boeing 737.

This is what drew us to the museum, though.
On the way in from the airport, I had noticed
this Concorde sitting next to the museum.
So had Jeff. We had to go see it, we just had to!

All that wing and it's so graceful.
The British really took the cranked delta concept and ran with it.
This wing is the culmination of their work.

Entering the rear door and looking forward.

I had always assumed this bird would be tight inside.
It might be marginally smaller than conventional airliners inside,
but they preserved the space well.
These passengers would definitely be more comfortable
than we were in that 757 on the way to Seattle
(hate riding in those things)

Yep, it's a fancy Johnny on the Spot...
and it is as small as what you expect in an airliner.

And those folks are still waiting to have their windows replaced, I'd bet.

I'm glad they call them Olympus engines here.
Outside, everything was labeled Rolls-Royce and SNECMA
(not the kind of flattering consortium name you'd expect)

Numbers like that always amaze me.
Ever try to stretch a piece of metal?
Ever try to shrink it back to its original size?
Yeah, thought it might impress you. <g>

This was a touching thing to see.
Concorde is and was special for a number of reasons.
I hope that everyone who ever worked with the fleet
is aware of just how unique a system it is.

To see that everyone involved with her last flight got to leave
a little of themselves behind (their signatures)
created a bit of an eerie and proud impression on me.

Very impressive office, gentlemen!

Mr. Struyk and the Concorde. Cute couple, eh?

On board Air Force One (retired).
Shuttle Diplomacy didn't exist before this bird went to work!

The Chief Executive's Office away from the Oval Office.

The communications specialists tool kit.

The Chief Advisor's entryway

Jeff Struyk standing by his station (Valet Station)

Hmmm, looks like another nice place to work!

Jeff kinda looks like Ford, stumbling down those steps, eh?

Now what's Dian trying to say here?
I suppose there is a resemblance.

This shot, silly as it is, reminds me of one of my favorite bands;
The Galactic Cowboys!

Later Sunday afternoon,
MVPs meet up to head to the welcoming party.
Dian greets the Front Page MVPs....
Stefan Rusynko waving, Kathleen Anderson and David Berry.
(Sorry, don't recognize the guy in the back.)

Rob Scoble...former MVP who is now a softie.
Gee, can you tell what department he works in?
(Pssst...hint, notice the LONGHORNS!)

For those of you not up on your geekspeak,
Longhorn is the code name of the next version of Windows.

Greg (hat) in the outdoor smoking lounge, chatting with MVPs...
Mark Dormer and Shauna Kelly's back to us.
(Not sure who that is seated?)

We head in to a very well organized registration area.

Now that the summit is more of a true convention,
no more casual registration due to
the large number of attendees.

We literally are in the convention center for the welcome party.

MVP top dog, Sean, presents a fun video about being an MVP.

(Gotta have Sean teach us that "walk.")

Visio MVP, John Marshall, is impressed!

The jury is still out as far as Greg is concerned.

We get a chance to browse the various product booths.

And learn about the cool new computerized watch software.

And meet up with lots of friends...

Strange as they may be...Dave, Janni, "The Reverend,"
Greg, Jeff and part of Linda.

Woof, woof, woof...the geek glands are going strong.

Greg and softie, Mike, who we first met in Chicago at the regional.

And it's very contagious!

Susan Ramlet, sweet and innocent.

How quickly she can turn on us!
Wasn't she crawling over rocks in that
Lord of the Rings trilogy?

Gollum Ramlet?

Beth Melton...refrains from losing it!

But then, it only makes sense, right?

Larry Samuels (blue shirt)

Softie John shows off his way cool tatoo.
We met him in Chicago,
but I didn't have my camera to get a shot of it.

Very cool, intricate details.

Even on the that musta hurt!

Bill Coan and his wife, Lois.

Bill Coan and his wife, Lois, chatting with
Word Lead, Mike, and PPT MVP, Echo Swinford.

VB guru Bryan Stafford (center).

Tom Serface

Greg making the rounds saying hello to old friends...

Suzanne Barnhill, James Curran,
Jamie (Office Lead) and Greg Chapman.

Bill Foley...PPT MVP and recent MOS Master Instructor

(Brat! Just last month he asked Dian about the MOS cert.
We chat and Dian gives him encouragement to go for it.
Next thing she knows, he tells her he aced all the tests in one day!)

Kathy Jacobs

Steve Rindsberg, PPT MVP.
Always HAVE to have one of these photo to photo shots, eh?

Softie, Brian...using his hat to make sure
all his MVPs can easily find him at the party.

Jeff Struyk, Greg Chapman, Carl Prothman,
Thomas Lee and Jimmy Anderssen
(Tommy & Jimmy aka "Bubby and the Swede")

Echo holding court!

Dian, bows to the queen (and then pulls her off her chair!<lol>)

Ya HAD to be at our dinner table in Chicago to understand this one.

From Chicago Summit to Global Summit...
can't take these guys anywhere!

Dian and Mike (softie and band member).

Just a pretty shot outside.
I love the way Seattle covers all their highways
with beautiful greenery.

Dian outside along the walkway at the convention center.

Next morning...up way too early on the buses heading to Microsoft.

Linda, Tablet MVP, let's Dian play with her Tablet PC on the bus
to learn more about them...I WANT ONE!

Olaf Engelke (from Germany...right) and
others getting off the buses at the Executive Center.

We used to all fit in this main room for meetings...
now you can barely fit us in here for breakfast.
MS had to add additional dining tents outside.

Jamie welcomes all his Office MVPs to the summit.

And so it begins...

A beautiful day, many head outside to enjoy lunch.

Nope! That's NOT Bill Gates.
Would you believe we have an MVP who is his look-alike!

(Albert Kallal, Access MVP from Canada)

Susan Ramlet explaining "that's not Bill!"

Word MVP, Bill Coan, gives a wonderful presentation
(including him jumping up and down to express his excitement<lol>
about why XML in Office is the coolest thing since sliced bread!)

The Office MVPs head to the Office Building.
Along the way we check out the launched software plaques
along the Microsoft Software Walk of Fame.

Chris...who heads up the Word team.
Nearly didn't recognize him without his pony tail!

Suzanne Barnhill and Margaret Aldis, Word MVPs.

Suzanne hitting the bottle!<lol>

Later that night, Linda shows us how it's done right!

Dian takes picture of Jeff...

Jeff takes picture of Dian & Greg.
(One of the first "MVP Couples" who met at the 1996 Summit.)

Another day, another pile of sessions at Microsoft.
The Seattle Space Needle in the background.

Cool bridge.

Seems I'm always catching Steve with a face full of food!<lol>

'Nuff said.

Greg chatting with Steve's wife, Helen,
who we finally get to meet in person.

Dian with her "grandson," Thomas Lee...aka Tommy Lee to Granny.

Don't worry...Greg took this picture!

Greg chatting with Jim Pickering...another pilot.

Dave Bartosik swiping Janni's (MVP Queen) crown.

Dave, Janni and Brian "naked" Kvalheim.

Dave, Bobbi and Greg

Impressive...he can fly a plane AND use a digital camera.

Linda, Dian, Bobbi and Jeff.

After we "get down to Linda's level"
we realize how hard it is for us "old folks" to be back up!

Long time bud, Eric Chew...he's a gamer, what more can we say!<g>

I know MVPs can easily get tangled up in too
much technology while at the summit...
but this is ridiculous!

Boy! Don't you feel stupid NOW!<LOL>

Well, if you didn't before...
you will now that your buddy points out the fact that
everyone in the joint was taking pictures of you...
while you were, ahem...showing off your talents!<lol>

Good bud and one of our youngest MVPs, Mickie Stevens.

Mickie's mom...Eilene...a teacher and a riot!
She's got Beth Rosengard in stitches!

Such fun!

Eilene matter-of-factly explains to Greg...
"You need mothering? No problem, I'm a mom...
I can make you crazy...
what type of neuroses would you like, dear?"<rofl>

Janni gives Dian her tiarra for the night...
as Dian celebrates her birthday.

Microsoft had several rooms set up with Themes...
from stand up to karaoke...from rock to Xbox...
something to keep everyone busy and having fun at the party.

How cool...the band was our good bud's band...Mike,
who we had the pleasure of first meeting
at the Chicago regional summit.

Here the band sings happy birthday to Dian!

The REAL band takes a break and gives the stage over to MVPs
who know how to play.
Not bad for a bunch of programmers!

Kathleen Dollard, VB guru, shakin' her groove thing.

Greg and Dave Berry.

Kathleen Dollard

(Who asked Steve Ballmer when he'll be on Saturday Night Live.)

Long time MVPs...Brian Sullivan and Greg Chapman.

The XBox game room at the party.

Getting ready to depart...
Dian and Greg make the rounds kissing our favorite softies goodbye.
Here we're attacking Connie Sullivan...the Queen Mum of the MVPs.
(Connie ruled the roost for many years prior to Janni.)

And Bobbi, a riot, ...who did a great job,
with Janni and Connie, organizing many previous summits for us,
as well as handling dayXday MVP admin.

Rob...Longhorn advocate now enjoying his dream job at Microsoft.

I heard he's wanted in 13 states!

OOOOh...this is just TOO tempting!

Brian Reilly should KNOW BETTER than to stoop like that
when Dian is in the same room
where there is ice easily accessible.

She sneaks up, ice in hand.

She has this move down to a science...Brian is helpless!

What's going on back there????????

Too late!

Dian firmly packs the handful of ice down Brian's shorts!

Giving a little shake to make sure it all gets down "there."

Laughter all around as we watch Brian attempt to,
unsuccessfully, dig the ice out of his shorts!

The thrill of victory!

(Those horns are more diabolical than bovine.)

The agony of defeat!

And speaking of "de feet"...Dian, in her jubilation,
doesn't realize she's now still walking around with her
video camera taping...
so she has about 20 minutes of shoes on parade!

Dian and Greg...still on the attack...hit Jamie.
(There was Iodine at hand.)

Nothing against Greg...but Mike refuses to let another guy kiss him...
so Dian takes over the duties with a solo attack...
and boy did he blush!

Great shoes, Jamie!

Close up. A little Steely Dan music, please?

After a night of partying...MVPs are, ahem,
somewhat boisterous as they load into the buses.

Ahhh...showing us their more intelligent side!

The softies are just glad it's quiet inside now!<g>

Steve Foster amongst the noise makers. Ah, that explains it!

Greg does his best bull impersonation.

While the MVPs are studying, recently retired MVP, Greg Chapman,
spends his days going through float plane training to add that
certification to his pilot's license.

Seattle Seaplanes (
is right on Lake Union...downtown Seattle!

My ride, a 1947 Stinson 108 Voyager

My instructor, Blake Smith

There's an art to this kind of flying.
Perhaps it's all the boating knowledge you have to absorb
coupled with the fact that an airplane has no neutral or reverse.
It's always moving!

The Stinson on the ramp.
Blake insisted it was underpowered and it did linger
on the water a long time, but it was one honest airplane.
In fact, it's the first airplane I've ever flown that actually
required you learn to use the rudder.

Aaron Bertrand (Dian's pool partner last year),
during another EARLY morning breakfast.

One of the first softies Dian ever met (96 summit)...great guy,
Phil, aka "Fly Guy,"
was formerly in charge of Flight Sim...
now heads up much of the Home products.

Chris and Jeff...bright eyed???...after last night's party.

Long time Office softie and MVP advocate, Sloan.

Jamie, currently in charge of the Office gang.
And as you can see, he has the perfect mentality to handle this group!

Tony chatting with Jamie during a break.

The Microsoft Office "Help team" sit down with the MVPs to hear
their comments related to various Help issues and future wishes.

Then we split up to go to meet with the dev teams
for our individual groups...
here all the Word softies gather to hear what the Word MVPs
have to say about the program and requests for the future.

(Sorry 'bout the photo,'s taken from video!)
Chris heads up the Word team as we all
discuss how to make Word even better in the future.

Did someone ask Margaret for her opinion on numbering?

Word MVP, Lisa Wilke-Thissen, from Germany.

Word MVP, Robert Franz, from Switzerland

Softie, Tristian, shows us some cool Word XML (Word ML) demos.

Very cool that they are all here to hear what we have to say!
Thanks guys and gals for taking the time and LISTENING to us!

Hard to read as we zip by...but tons of cool Welcome banners
hang all over campus welcoming the MVPs...
this one hanging on the SQL building.

We head back downtown and
can't miss taking another shot of the Needle.

A float plane lands and I think of how much fun Greg
has been having doing this same thing these last few days.

A beautiful "Windows kinda day" outside our hotel room.

I've been trying to get this shot for two years now!<lol>

A blanket of clouds roll in to close out the summit.

Dian has fun sucking helium and recording "chipmunk" video.

Goodbye Seattle...hope to see ya again next year.

As the mountains float by...the MVPs decide to take a well deserved snooze on the ride home!

Thanks Microsoft and all involved in the summit...
you did a great job!

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