Moeís 2006 Holiday Letter

This is a web version of the letter. You can see the referenced pictures at:

Welcome to my second annual year ending letter extravaganza! Itís been a great year out here in Massachusetts. For those of you who read my blog ( some of this will be a review, but bear with me. I promise some good memories and some brand new news. For those who donít use the information superhighway, grab a chair and hang on youíre about to take the thrilling ride called Moeís Life!

Iím never going to live up to that introduction, but letís start off with my first vacation of 2006. This was a trip to Whistler Mountain. I went up there with Eric and Newy to ride the mountains on my snowboard. It was by far the best snowboarding conditions Iíve ever had in my life. We got around a foot of fresh powdery snow every night I was there. A few times while I was trying to drag my body out of the powder I almost thought it was too much powder, but then Iíd start cruising down the mountain again and remember it was the perfect amount. I think it must have been what surfing in the clouds would be like. Everything was so soft. When you tried to turn the board would sink and huge plumes of snow would shoot out from the back of the board. Even falling put a smile on my face since it was like tumbling around in a huge field of chest deep cotton. See photos 0, 1, 2.

Then in March I went to visit my parents at their winter home in Harlingen, Texas. The warm weather down there was a great break from the long New England winter. We spent a day in Mexico, and a day swimming in the gulf around South Padre Island. The other days were spent just traveling around to see other interesting sites in the area. See photos 3, 4, 5, 6.

Towards the end of summer I had a few great trips. The first was to the Seattle area where I spent the first part of the week hiking around Rainier and Olympic National Parks with my friends Emily and Michelle. Those are some great parks and my only regret was that I didnít have more time there. I could easily spend a summer in each of the parks. The rest of this trip was spent with Dan and Christy around Seattle. I think itís a great city. See photos 7, 8, 9, 10.

Next was my cruise in the Caribbean. This was my first cruise ever, and I wasnít sure how much fun I was going to have on a ship for a week. I went on it mainly because a bunch of my good friends were going and I figured that at the very least it would be fun hanging out with them. It turned out to be a terrific vacation. They kept me so busy between things to do on the ship and great shore excursions I hardly had time to remember it was fun. Of all the vacations I went on this year, this is the one I have the most to say about because so many things happened. There is really no way to do it justice without adding at least a few pages for this trip alone. Instead of that Iíll just mention a brief summary of a single day. Early in the morning we took a tender to the Tulum Ruins near Cozumel, Mexico. The Tulum Ruins are an ancient religious city built by the Mayans. Learning about the Mayan culture was fascinating. The city was built right on a cliff overlooking the sea so we ended the day with a refreshing swim on a beautiful beach. See photos 11, 12, 13, 14.

Lastly I want to briefly mention my trip back to Wisconsin over Thanksgiving. It was great to visit my parents, sisters, and Brian. We had a great meal together and then took a walk to find a geocache. It was a great way to burn off some of those extra calories that sneaked into our stomachs during that tasty meal. During that weekend I spent some time working on the Edwardson Christmas tree farm. It is one of those cut-your-own-tree farms, and itís just a wonderful experience to be out there helping families get their perfect trees. Iíve never seen a job where you get to help customers who are so cheerful. If people were that happy all the time the earth would be a more wonderful place. See photos 15, 16.

My job has been going well, but there have been some changes. First I decided to transfer off the OpenGL team to the Applications Research Group (ARG). I really like this new team (for more reasons than itís the sound a pirate makes). I do more researchy type work on this team which keeps my mind thinking and makes work more fun. Iíve been focusing mostly on making tools and demos to help video game developers use a future cell phone graphics processor. The second change at work is that AMD bought my old company of ATI. So I technically no longer work at ATI, but for AMD. This buyout didnít affect my job much, but it did give me some nice new benefits and my stock options got a big boost. Because of this the merger gets my two thumbs up approval.

The big new hobbies I picked up this year were photography and figure skating. Iíve always liked taking a lot of photos, but early this year I started trying to take nice photographs. Iím not to the point where I can take consistently good photos, but I certainly have fun taking the photos. Luckily even the not so nice photos are still fun to take. I started out just taking digital pictures; but then I joined a class where I take pictures with film, develop the negatives, and make prints. While most of the prints you received are digital since I could print many copies of these for all the people Iím sending this letter to, everyone got one unique black and white photo. See photos 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 (these are some of my favorite photos from 2006).

As for figure skating that has only been going on for about a month. I started learning to skate because a buddy at work played hockey and wanted me to learn to play. I decided I should learn to skate before playing hockey and started to do just that. While I was getting the basics of skating down I started watching some talented figure skaters and after a little convincing from the owner of the rink decided to put hockey on the back burner and work on figure skating. Iíve been picking it up pretty quickly and am decent with everything up to the first jumps. I think Iíll start working on those first jumps pretty soon. Itís been a ton of fun getting this far, and I think it should get even better once I start jumping. I can hardly wait!

Now for the odds and ends of my life. I still really enjoy getting out hiking and geocaching whenever I have the time. My softball team did pretty well. We lost too many games early in the season to get into the winners bracket in the tournament, but we got first place in the loser bracket. While Iíll never be a slugger, I did manage to capture the title of best batting average on the team this year with all my singles and doubles. I also got my motorcycle license.

Hopefully you didnít get too bored reading about me, but I since this is the only letter I write most of you each year thereís a lot of stuff I want to tell you. I hope you have a great holiday season. Until next year!


Maurice Ribble