Day 638 of 1000
Life is good.
Day 638 of 1000
Life is good.
Day 637 of 1000
I go to the airport tomorrow a little after lunch to pick up Lorena. You have no idea what a good deal that is. The kids will stay in California for another week, so Lorena and I will have a great chance to just hang out together. In the meantime, the first phase of th college graduate school visit portion of the the summer tour is officially over. So far, they have visited SDSU, UCLA, Stanford, and UC Davis. Surprisingly, Kelly believes UC Davis has the best campus. Of course, the believe nothing compares to NCSU, but they have had a great time visiting schools. We will see how it goes later this summer at University of Arizona, University of Texas at Dallas, Johns Hopkins University, and University of Washington.
Day 636 of 1000
Well, I thought I was going to have the chance to catch on my post series, it looks like it is not going to happen. I continue to keep the home fires burning while Kelly and Christian continue there Summer of 2013 Graduate School TourTM. Christian meet with the head of the ECE Graduate School at Stanford while Kelly got of tour of Google from a friend who has a summer internship there. Vacation of a lifetime. Tomorrow, it is on to UC Davis. Here they are, walking around the Stanford campus with Lorena.
Day 635 of 1000
Service that would make Chick-fil-A proud, really cool, retro uniforms, and great food is not enough to impress Lorena, but if they can provide chiles with the hamburgers, too, then Lorena is VERY impressed. Now Lorena is a BIG In-N-Out fan just like Christian and Kelly. I became a huge fan myself about a week and a half ago when I found out they have what they call Protein Wrap Burgers–Hamburgers wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun!
Day 634 of 1000
My buddy Warren of the Truth has a chance blog and lived together for several years when he was in college and I was a recent college grad working for a robotics and machine vision company in the mid-1980′s in Corvallis. We lived in a couple of places, but by far the best one was an apartment on Applegate Street in Philomath. It was there that we held the once in a lifetime Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative GatheringTM. That is a blog post for another time. What prompted me to write this post was an impulse purchase decision I made a couple of nights ago that brought on a LOT of good, but nostalgic, almost melancholic thoughts. It was a great time for the both of us. Warren was gathering some of the technical skills that culminated in a high-level computer consulting career and I was just starting my dive into the world of Machine Vision where I joyfully make my living thirty years later.
We lived in a fairly rundown apartment complex next to a working class couple who had two kids named Jimbob and Megan who were both under six years old. We had told them that Warren’s name was Mr. Bone and that my name was Sir. They were very sweet kids. Warren and I loved to talk and play with them. We had lots of visitors in those days. Jimbob and Megan impressed everyone with their politeness. Whenever we came home from school or work, the kids would run out yelling “Sir, Sir, Mr. Bone, Mr. Bone!” I would love to know what happened to them.
At that same time, someone tried to sell Warren a C Melody Sax for $200. He could not afford it at the time so he asked me if I wanted to buy it. On a whim, I said, “Yes”. We both loved to play the thing and took turns trying to figure the thing out. Warren is a lot more musical than I and did much better than I, but I loved it. When we moved out and went on to other things, the Sax disappeared. I never knew where it went, but always regretted not having it. I always told myself I would get another.
I was sitting in my room feeling sorry for myself with Lorena, Kelly, and Christian in California on Thursday evening. For some reason I got to thinking about the old C Melody Sax. I looked around on Amazon and eBay and found an Alto Sax that looked good, was cheap, and had pretty good reviews so I bought it. Eat your heart out Giles.
Day 632 of 1000
A great time was had by all. Activities for the day included graduate school visits at UCLA, a walk down Rodeo Drive, and a Visit to the Beverly Hills Linual Institute. Tomorrow, they are headed to Northern California while Dad keeps the home fires burning.
It does not get much better than this. The 2013 California Graduate School TourTM has proceeded from San Diego to Manhattan Beach, California and Beverly Hills. Tomorrow Kelly has two interviews and Christian has one interview at UCLA. On Friday, they head north to Mountain Ranch, UC Davis, and Stanford for fellowship with friends and graduate school interviews. I am VERY sad I can not be with them, but someone needs to keep the homefires burning.
This is the phase one of summer travels. The 2013 Texas, Arizona, and Washington Graduate School TourTM will commence in early August. We are not sure whether the kids will go alone, but that is our hope. It will be VERY nice to have Lorena with me for awhile rather than driving a rental car around because the kids are still too young to do it on their own.
Actually, these are very exciting times. We are very thankful to our dear pharmacist friends as well as cousins Jim and Karin for their kindness and hospitlality.
Day 631 of 1000
Lorena and the kids are going to stay with a couple of cousins in the LA area over the next couple of days so they can visit and interview some professors about graduate school at UCLA. My cousins (a cousin on my Dad’s side of the family married a very distant cousin on my Mom’s side of the family) own a business called the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute that teaches over 20 languages. It turns out that the language school hosted Giada for the filming of one of her cooking shows. Lorena and Kelly are HUGE Giada fans ever since they met her at Barnes and Noble a while back. They cook from her books whenever they get the chance. They are going to be very envious and want to hear the whole story.
Day 630 of 1000
Yesterday, Kelly went to her first graduate school interview at SDSU. It went great. She talked to two professors, (one Math, one Statistics) and had a great time. The Statistics professor thought she would do great in their program. The thing that both she and Christian noticed when she was on campus is what a gift it is to be Math and Statistics students at NCSU. The quality of the facilities and faculty at NCSU are absolutely first tier. I think the faculty count at NCSU is higher, too. Maybe that has something to do with the supportiveness of SAS toward NCSU. One of the main reasons Kelly and Christian are at NCSU is that is the closest major research university to our house. Still, that we stumbled into something by accident does not diminish the experience one whit.
Day 629 of 1000
My boss and I spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons this past weekend working out a schedule for a critcial delivery for our company. It was quite a challenge that will require much effort–late evenings, some weekends, and plenty of stress. There will be roadblocks, hurdles, people challenges, and high emotion, but we have a legitimate shot at hitting our goals. When I get hired, one of the things I discuss with prospective employers is that I cannot work 14 hours per day, 6 days per week all the time. That does not align with my priorities nor my abilities. On the other hand, if my job does not include 6 to 12 weeks of that kind of work per year, then the job will probably not be that interesting to me. Well, I am now starting into what will be a 9 to 15 week chunk with that level of commitment. I know I am going to be fried be for I come out the other end, but I am invigorated going in.
Day 628 of 1000
I worked yesterday and then came back in this afternoon, so my blog output has not been good. I still have hope to finish up some of my series of posts in the next week or so. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mother’s out there, especially, Grandma Sarah, Grandma Conchita, and Lorena!
Day 626 of 1000
My buddy Eric sent me a link to this article about how the State Department has shut down a website that distributes know-how and designs for printable gun. Is this a first amendment or a second amendment violation?
Day 625 of 1000
Today was the last day of finals for both Kelly (Intermediate Macroeconomics) and Christian (Java). They are now both officially on summer vacation and official Seniors in college! Congratulations to the both of them on a great year. This was probably the most difficult semester Kelly will ever have to face and Christian’s toughest one so far. He will have at least one more really ugly one next year. Everyone will take about a month off then Christian will start work full time on his undergraduate research project for the summer and Kelly will head up to Maryland for her summer internship as a statistician at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
This is the second in a series of three posts about things that have helped me develop and sustain a career I love. The first post is about how to stay in close touch with people with whom you have worked. The second post is about how to give away free work whenever you can. The third is about how to invest significant efforts in helping previous employers, people who can never help you, and “the least of these.”
A few days ago I wrote a post about some of the reasons I have a career for which I am extremely grateful. I think I have a handle on a couple of the things that have helped me move forward in my career. I wrote about the importance of contact with colleagues from companies or division where you worked previously. That has been an immense help in the development of my career, but there is another “thing” I did that I believe was just as instrumental. I do not know whether to call that “thing” a behavior, a tool, or something else. The best way to describe that thing is “giving stuff away.”
What does that mean–giving stguff away? It means exactly what it says. About fifteen years ago, I was working for at the Oregon division of a large, multi-national organization and one of our vendors asked if I was willing to help a large government agency solve a difficult problem related to protecting the environment by measuring the amount of particles and the turbidity of water in streams in the wild. I jokingly told the vendor I was a Republican and really hated clean water, but it was a worthy effort and I signed up. I wrote a sophisticated program for free with the idea that it would be a help. The skills I learned in the development of the software to perform those measurements allowed me to add some things to my resume that won me my next job at a much higher salary in North Carolina.
I earned nothing for the water quality work, but the skills I learned won me the new job and made me a lot more money than I could have made by my paid work experience alone. When I got to North Carolina, I made a new friend at my church who was making a career change from the clergy by returning to college to earn a degree in Civil Engineering. On his way to a Bachelors degree, he decided it might be a good idea to go on to a graduate degree. He worked with a professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering department to perform water measurement work as undergraduate research.
I wanted to help him so I volunteered to write a program to measure water height in streams, lakes, and other water bodies in very remote locations. As a result of that work which I continue to do at the writing of this post, I developed skills with a set of libraries that allowed me to win a position that paid significantly more than the job that brought me to North Carolina. All of this taught me the lesson that anything that I do for free in the support of a noble cause, especially respect to the work associated with my career, helped my career in unexpected ways. So the second set of rules is just one rule: Give your work away in the support of big and small, personal causes. It helps greatly with respect to career advancement and is very gratifying.
In a corollary phenomenon, part of the reason I got the two jobs described above is that, before I went to work for them, I got them talking about some of their most difficult problems. Then I spent a few evenings and weekends to write code that I could give to them for free that solved their problems or at least showed their problems could be solved. When these future employers saw what I could do for them for free, they were eager to get me on board as an employee, both of them for a greater salary than they originally wanted to pay. Actually, they were happy to pay the higher salary when they hired me because of the free work performed for them. Of course, I had to perform after I got there, but the expectations of success were already set and I had excellent stays at both jobs.
Day 624 of 1000
There are plenty of hard classes in Kelly’s Statistics program at NCSU, but everyone believes Mathematical Statistics II is probably the hardest. Kelly has been hammering away at this class since the beginning of the year and did her final in the course on Tuesday. She feels great about her understanding of the material, but tests are tests so she is sitting on pins and needles while she waits for the results. She put the following image of her study notes up on Facebook. I had to write about them here. Someone on Facebook actually said this was frameable artwork. I agree! I think this might be a great thing to have on the wall in my office.
Day 623 of 1000
The crazy weather continues.
Day 622 of 1000
I left the family at home yesterday to make my way to Phoenix last night. The drive up to Prescott up from Phoenix in the morning was absolutely fabulous as usual. It is no fun to be away from the family, but I plan to spend some quality time with this blog when I am not at work. On the drive up this morning, Lorena and I spoke about the way we taught our children to speak two languages. Many believe the best way to give children a solid base in two languages is for one parent to speak one language while that other parent speaks a second language. We did not do it that way. Both kids are fluent enough to translate between languages both directions and pass CLEP tests for both languages. I will try to write one or two posts describing how we got there. In addition, I hope to finish up a series or two so I can start into some new material
Our Happy Happas is a new blog that chronicles the thoughts of a highly educated stay at home mom and her highly educated husband about raising and educating their two little girls as the raise and educate their two little girls. I know them both, have talked to them about what they are doing and how they are doing it. The big cultural influences in the family are Korean and Midwestern (Ohio and Chicago).
The thing I like about the conversations I have had with them is that they are not only very thoughtful, they are balanced. It seems like the parents of high performance children in American society today want to make the children’s education and performance more about the parents than the children. The writers of the Our Happy Happas blog do not have that problem. They seem to work equally hard on the joy of their children as in their education. They have a few good posts up already on the speed at which children learn compared to adults and handmade Korean language flashcards. The flash cards give a good taste about how they approach the education task. I am looking forward to making this a daily blog stop.
Day 622 of 1000
We attend a special meeting of our church today where we will see a special friend of ours visiting from Texas who is here to help with the meeting. The family will drop me off at the airport on the way home so I can fly to Arizona. Everyone in the household plans to study like crazy as the last finals will be over before the end of the week. All of this on the American pseudo-Holiday, Cinco de Mayo.
Christian found this and forwarded it to me. This kind of thing is the reason we homeschooled our children.