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    <p>If you&rsquo;ve emailed me or posted comments in the last two weeks&hellip; this is why I haven&rsquo;t replied.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll do my best to catch up.</p>
    <p>Two weeks ago, on June 17th, I stated I was off onto a two week vacation.&nbsp; The plan was to hit my wife&rsquo;s family reunion at High Hampton, North Carolina at a little resort&hellip; well the <a href="http://www.highhamptoninn.com/">High Hampton Inn &amp; Country Club</a>, for 3.5 days (Saturday &ndash; Tuesday), where we ate, visited with family, and played some golf.&nbsp; Then, after lunch on Tuesday, we&rsquo;d head up to my family&rsquo;s (not immediate, but grandparents &amp; cousins)&nbsp;property in western North Carolina about 50 minutes away (between Waynesville &amp; Sylvia, NC) for a week and a half.&nbsp; For over a week, it was just Meredith, <a href="http://www.stevenconnell.net/">Steven</a>, the dogs, and I on top of our (no, not the whole thing) mountain with a <a href="http://www.andrewconnell.com/blog/images/100/t_DSCN1493.JPG">spectacular deck and view</a>.&nbsp; The rest of my family joined us the Thursday before July 4th.&nbsp; We (Meredith, Steven, dogs) headed back to Jacksonville on the 4th.</p>
    <p>I&rsquo;d been looking forward to this for a LONG time.&nbsp; After spending quite a bit of time in the office &amp; at home working&hellip; either on my full time job or on the <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/AndrewConnell?m=153">book</a>, I was looking forward to spending time away from it all&hellip; no deadlines, no commitments, no requirement to monitor email or blogs, etc, and just have quiet, quality, family time.&nbsp; I was also looking forward to catching up on some&nbsp;books I&rsquo;ve been meaning to read (both for professional development and pleasure), work on some personal projects, and do some professional soul searching.&nbsp; Oh, I was also looking forward to escaping from the 90+ degree heat in Jacksonville.&nbsp; I think it topped out around 80 on top of the mountain a few days&hellip; lows in the 50&rsquo;s-60&rsquo;s&hellip; just what a Floridian wants in late June/July!</p>
    <p>I got a lot sorted out in my head professionally.&nbsp; I absorbed so much in Orlando at <a href="http://www.msteched.com/">TechEd USA</a> that I needed to sort through&hellip; things I wanted to focus on professionally, etc..&nbsp; Feel pretty good about the plan I had for myself this year, and got a few other things sorted out upstairs.</p>
    <p>I did try to stay in touch&hellip; to a point.&nbsp; Used my backup dialup on my home DSL account&nbsp;(had to call long distance) to download my blog feeds and&nbsp;check my email on occasion (my Treo actually was better with the email&hellip; but it only worked when I was in Asheville, NC or Waynesville, NC&hellip; which we only hit to either get out of the house or visit the grocery store).&nbsp; I&rsquo;m ~NEVER~ going back to dialup&hellip; arg&hellip; that was horrible&hellip; and just another reason to stay disconnected.</p>
    <p>There were five professional books I read that I wanted to mention (one will get it&rsquo;s own post).&nbsp; Listed in the order I read them:</p>
    <ul>
    <li><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0321303636/andrewconnell-20/002-9777899-1818434?%5Fencoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;link%5Fcode=xm2">eXtreme .NET by Dr. Niel Roodyn</a></strong> (Addison Wesley, ISBN 0321303636)&nbsp;: I learned about this book from a TDD Birds of a Feather session I attended at TechEd USA.&nbsp; Dr. Niel was there and after a quick chat with <a href="http://codebetter.com/blogs/darrell.norton/">Darrell Norton</a> afterwards, I figured I needed to open myself up more to Extreme Programming.&nbsp; I&rsquo;m still not &ldquo;sold&rdquo; on paired programming (it wouldn&rsquo;t work in my organisation where my dev team is VERY isolated as many are virtual workers), but the rest of it really intrigued me&hellip; heck I&rsquo;d like to give paired programming a shot just to see what it&rsquo;s like!&nbsp; I plan to give it a shot on a few projects and even discuss it with some co-workers and our manager on my team to see if they&rsquo;d be up for kicking the tires for a month or so.&nbsp; It was a VERY easy and fast read&hellip; great job Dr. Niel!</li>
    <li><strong>Introducing <a title="Microsoft" href="http://www.microsoft.com/" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> Visual Studio 2005 Team System </strong>by Richard Hundhausen (MS Press, not for resale).&nbsp; This was given out for free at TechEd and is basically a book explaining what all the parts of the new VSTS are and how they work together.&nbsp; Easy read to fill in all the holes from the various blog posts and articles I&rsquo;ve read the last few months.&nbsp; Wish it was on the shelves so I could recommend it&hellip; but if you got it at TechEd, it&rsquo;s worth reading.</li>
    <li><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0672325667/andrewconnell-20/002-9777899-1818434?%5Fencoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;link%5Fcode=xm2">Tech Yourself Regular Expressions in 10 Minutes by Ben Forta</a></strong> (SAMS, ISBN 0672325667). I&rsquo;ve been actively using regular expressions for a few months, but never spent the time to dig in an learn about conditionals, forward and back lookups, etc.&nbsp; This cheap ($15&hellip; -25% thanks to a last day buy at TechEd) and short book gave me everything I needed.&nbsp; Highly recommended.</li>
    <li><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1904811167/andrewconnell-20/002-9777899-1818434?%5Fencoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;link%5Fcode=xm2">Building Websites with Microsoft Content Management Server by Stefan Gossner, Joel Ward, and Mei Ying Lim</a></strong>&nbsp;(Packt Publishing, ISBN 1904811167).&nbsp; I&rsquo;ve read it before, but seem to learn something new everytime I read it.&nbsp; Sense the <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/AndrewConnell?m=153">book I&rsquo;m working on</a> builds on this one, I felt it was good to have it fresh in my mind as we move into the final stages of the authoring/publishing process.&nbsp; Are you a <a title="Microsoft Content Management Server" href="http://www.microsoft.com/cmserver/" target="_blank">MCMS</a> developer?&nbsp; This one should be on your desk.&nbsp; Then, you should go buy <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/AndrewConnell?m=153">our book</a>!!!</li>
    <li><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0735619670/andrewconnell-20/002-9777899-1818434?%5Fencoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;link%5Fcode=xm2">Code Complete 2nd Edition by Steve McConnell</a></strong> (MSPress, ISBN 0735619670).&nbsp; WOW&hellip; A MUST for any developer (web/windows/C#/VB.NET/C++/Java&hellip; you name it).&nbsp; Adding this to my &ldquo;recommended reading&rdquo; page ASAP.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll post more about this one in it&rsquo;s own post!</li></ul>
    <p>And the two pleasure books:</p>
    <ul>
    <li><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0891418725/andrewconnell-20/002-9777899-1818434?%5Fencoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;link%5Fcode=xm2">First In: An Insider&rsquo;s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan by Gary C. Schoroen</a></strong> (Ballantine Books, ISBN 0891418725). I&rsquo;m a CIA/military strategy/military history buff.&nbsp; Great read written by the first CIA officer insertted into Afghanistan in the days after September 11, 2001.&nbsp; Couldn&rsquo;t put this one down!</li>
    <li><strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0143034669/andrewconnell-20/002-9777899-1818434?%5Fencoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;link%5Fcode=xm2">Ghost Wars : The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invation to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll</a></strong> (Penguin Books, ISBN 0143034669). There have been quite a few CIA/Special Forces books I&rsquo;ve read in the last few years that keep receiving quotes by Coll.&nbsp; After reading a review, I thought I&rsquo;d like this.&nbsp; Still in the early stages of it (hey, I had a baby to take care of).</li></ul>
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