I’ve Got Canned Heat in My Heels Tonight, Baby

When I first saw Napoleon Dynamite, I wasn’t that impressed. Maybe I just didn’t get it, but the movie was more painful to watch than enjoyable — I think I just felt too embarrassed for Napoleon, Pedro, and Deb, who were so painfully awkward and strange. Of course, there were a few saving graces: “Girls like guys who have skills…”, Kip and LaFawnduh, “Pedro offers you his protection.”

But I have enjoyed the movie a lot more in retrospect than I did when I actually saw it. It started because of my brother, who does an amazing Napoleon impression. I can’t get enough of hearing him say, “A freakin’ 12-gauge, what do you think?!”, or “It’s pretty much my favorite animal. It’s like a lion and a tiger mixed… bred for its skills in magic.”

Hearing him recite these lines in his perfect angsty Napoleon voice makes me feel like the movie was actually much funnier than I thought it was the first time. And now I’m totally amused by this Napoleon Dynamite soundboard that Jason found; perhaps in large part because it reminds me of my crazy brother.

And this week, the state of Idaho is also recognizing the film and its writers for its positive impact on the state and the ways that it portrays local rural culture.

Messenger 7 and WinFx Feedback Portals

MSN Messenger 7 has a highly addictive new feature that enables members to play games with each other while chatting. I had fun bugging Kenny to play Checkers with me tonight while he tried to write his post about providing user feedback for Indigo. Which reminded me that in my post about Ladybug from a few days ago, I should have also mentioned the Avalon newsgroup. There is a lot of good discussion going on there; feel free to come join if you just want to learn from some of the experts who post there, or if you have any questions or comments of your own.

Ladybug for Avalon

This seemed to happen without a lot of fanfare, so I want to make sure it gets some attention: you can now report feedback and bugs on Avalon at the MSDN Product Support Center (also fondly known as Ladybug). There are a few good comments on there already, but I’m sure other issues have been found by many others out there who just haven’t been aware of the best way to report them. We know that our CTP release wasn’t perfect, and we want to hear about the issues/missing features/bugs that are blocking your development!

And for the skeptics: yes, yes, yes, we really do read these comments.

Will Life Ever be Sane Again?

I’ve been thinking about starting to blog a bit about my work (now that our project is actually out in the wild, a few of us have started to do that already).

I work on a project which is code named “Avalon” (one of my favorite things about pre-release projects at Microsoft is the sexy code names), and we are building a powerful new application client platform from the ground up. If you want some more background, the MSDN docs can help get you started, and there seems to be a bit of chatter about us on the web already. :)

I am the Application Model Program Manager for Avalon. A lot of people don’t really know what “Application Model” actually means when they first hear the term, so I’ll spend a little time talking about that, and then show you how to build some cool things in Avalon.

I may start by dissecting a very basic Avalon app and explaining what’s actually happening in our framework. If you have any suggestions for other Avalon-related content you’d like to see here, feel free to post a comment or drop me a line. And if you really want to get a head start before I go into much depth, go download our Community Tech Preview and start playing!


Yourself FitnessAs a belated V-Day gift, Kenny got me the most unique XBox game I’ve seen so far – Yourself Fitness. Yes, I agree, the title is lame, but this game is amazing. It’s essentially a digital personal trainer, effectively replacing every other workout tape anyone would ever need (and for some of these reviewers on Amazon, also eliminating the need for a gym membership). Not bad for $35!

Maya, the digital personal trainer, will tailor a workout for you based on the results of a fitness evaluation, your personal preferences, and feedback you provide when she “checks up on you” during a workout. You can choose what kind of music you want in the background while you work out, and you can choose among settings for your workout (the two provided initially are the “Empress’ Dojo” and an urban gym-like setting; you can also unlock others as you progress).

The one mixed blessing of having a digital personal trainer is that she never gets tired: after my second workout with Maya, I had a hard time walking for almost an entire day.