Seattle Central Library Photostroll

image Today the Seattle area was greeted with good weather.  Of course, the local Flickr meetup group had pre-planned a photostroll that, of course, was inside. 🙂 We wandered about the downtown Seattle library for approximately 2 hours, taking pictures of the awesome architecture and colors of the building.  My photos are here.

Also, got the first bike ride of the season under the belt today.  One week until Tour de Lopez!

New Toys at Work!

I won a Call of Duty: World at War tournament yesterday at work that was sponsored by the Microsoft Hardware folks. Yes, we had a CoD tournament at work.  They were demoing all their new Sidewinder products and how they actually played, and I took home a large black box.  Here’s the unboxing video:

Pretty sweet stuff. I setup the keyboard and mouse today and liked them quite a bit.  Even for a productivity setup, the stuff was pretty slick.  I need to see about upgrading to the new Sidewinder X8 mouse, though.. I could use the wireless. :)  The winning feature is the backlighting on the keyboard – a bunch of my coworkers want to buy them now.  I’ll post a video of that tomorrow!

I also hear rumors that there’s a post-victory interview video of me… hopefully my coworkers don’t get their hands on that; I’ll never hear the end of it if so.

San Francisco for a Day

imageHad to run to San Francisco for a one-day work trip this week.  Luckily, my work wrapped up a bit early and I was able to go act like a tourist for a bit.  Took a drive up to the Golden Gate Bridge, drove and hiked around the Marin Headlands, and had dinner with some friends.  SF is a really beautiful and photogenic city.  Pics are online at my Flickr gallery here.

FASB Rules Changes and My Mortgage

So, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today changed the rules on bank accounting practices, specifically related to asset accounting.  Banks can now report asset values that are not in line with current market values – essentially, they can say that your $200k house you bought a year ago that now has a market price of $150k is still $200k on their balance sheet.  From the article:

The FASB issued new guidelines under the so-called mark-to-market accounting rules, which require companies to value assets at prices reflecting current market conditions. The changes, which apply to the second quarter that began this month, will allow the assets to be valued at what the banks project they might sell for in the future, rather than in the current, distressed environment.

I think, on the surface, that this is an OK idea.  Current market rate is probably a little bit different than the over time/prevailing market rate.  However, I’m gonna call my mortgage company tomorrow and ask about a refinance.. if they tell me that they won’t do that because I’m underwater on my house value, I’m going to wonder why it’s OK for the bank to take that view when I can’t argue the same for my own home’s value.