Red Echo

July 1, 2009


It has been a challenging year, and I feel drained. I’m glad to have friends who can support me through rough times, but it’s time I got my life back to a more peaceful state; time for a change in focus.

I moved to a new house last weekend. It’s a pretty, comfortable, welcoming little place, a 1910-era Craftsman on the eastern side of Capitol Hill – not far from where I’ve been living, but closer to shops and friends and activity. Cat moved in a couple of weeks ago, and Sam will be joining us at the end of the month; the house is maybe half the size of the one I’ve been living in, but there’s plenty of room for three.

The upper floor of this house was designed as a master suite; it’s a sprawling big room with two closets and funky ceiling angles. I’m going to cozy off a little nook to use as a bedroom and turn the rest into an art studio. I feel good when I make things, even more so when I can share them with people who will enjoy them, so I want to arrange my living space around that. I imagine a “clean” work table for sewing, a “dirty” workbench for electronics and general fabrication, a desk with computer and electronic music hardware, cabinets full of tools, a whole closet full of materials and stored projects…

I’ve also given notice at Microsoft. This job has been a frustrating, difficult experience from beginning to end; I kept on struggling through, at first because I thought it was just an unusually difficult adaptation period, then because I couldn’t imagine where else my career could go, and ultimately because I simply didn’t want to abandon an unfinished project. The project is almost over now, and I still don’t know exactly what my next career step will be, but I’ve seen enough to be certain that this job will never offer the kind of work I need – nor, it is clear, are my skills or temperament particularly well suited to the group’s needs. I’ll spend the next couple of weeks wrapping up a few last bugs, writing some design documents, and passing on what little there is to know about the feature I’ve been grinding my way through – then I’m out of here, glad to be done with the Eastside and ready to enjoy the summer.

I don’t know what I’ll do next, but there are a handful of options in the air already, and I have a good long while to figure it out. I’d like to find something a bit more low-key – perhaps another telecommuting position – something I can do well without having to pour all of my free time into it. In the meantime I will probably spend a fair bit of time working on the Groovik’s Cube and riding around on my motorcycle, enjoying the sunshine.


  1. I’m proud of you, Mars. See you up on two– and on the playa, of course!

    Comment by Jenna — July 1, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  2. Best of luck to you!

    Comment by Jonathan Johnson — July 1, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  3. Just as an observer from afar, the Microsoft thing never seemed right. I’m glad you’re moving on.

    Comment by Gretta — July 2, 2009 @ 8:07 am

  4. Do you guys still have the Rocket Factory? I wasn’t sure if the “clean” and “dirty” workbenches were in addition to or instead of. Congrats on the new apartment and the decision to move on from a job that made you unhappy from the start.

    Comment by -J — July 5, 2009 @ 10:13 am

  5. Good luck Mars. I know you’ll find something that fits and makes you happy. Can’t wait to hear about your new ventures!

    Comment by Mike Bailey — July 6, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  6. Yes, we still have the Rocket Factory. We may downsize & move closer to Capitol Hill, though.

    Comment by mars — July 15, 2009 @ 11:11 am

  7. Mars – I’m bummed I wasn’t there for your last day. I just got back from vacation tonight and was going through my mail that piled up while I was gone when I saw your mail announcing you were leaving.
    I enjoyed the time you spent on the team and wanted to wish you the best going forward. You are a multi-talented guy. Good luck with the Groovik’s cube at Burning Man!


    Comment by Tyler — July 17, 2009 @ 9:28 pm