And All I Ask is a Tall Ship and a Star to Steer Her By

Sea Fever
By John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again
to the lonely sea and sky
And all I ask is a tall ship
and a star to steer her by
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song
and the white sail’s shaking
And a gray mist on the sea’s face,
and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again
for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call
That may not be denied
And all I ask is a windy day
with the white clouds flying
And the flung spray and the blown spume
and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again
to the vagrant gypsy life
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way
where the wind’s like a whetted knife
And all I ask is a merry yarn
from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream
when the long trick’s over.

One of my favorite things about being back in Seattle are the opportunities to get out on the water. While we do have a speedboat of our own, I don’t think it get’s much better then sailing. At some point in time, I’d really enjoying sailing around the world – or at least part of the world. Although such an adventure will have to wait until I can get a boat of my own and a crew.

In the meantime, I’m fortunate to have a friend, Peter, who has a sailboat. And thus we went sailing on Monday and again on Tuesday (for the bonus round):


Remember all those pictures of your parents that you look at? This picture reminds me of one of those. In fact, I’d call this picture of Staples iconic.

All Images: Copyright 2008 Andrey Marchuk

Alumni Profile: Andrew Ferguson ’04

Over winter break, I had a chance to talk with Michael Fiorito, a faculty member at Seattle Academy (where I went to high school). He asked me to write a “synopsis of [my] scholastic and internship experiences for the alum newsletter.” The profile I wrote was just published in the Summer 2008 edition of After SAAS. The following is the original article I sent to Michael and is slightly different then the version published in After SAAS.

I graduated in June of 2004 and spent the summer having fun (as opposed to working). I started at the Colorado School of Mines in the Fall of 2004 and I’ll be graduating in May of 2009 with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering with a Specialty in Electrical Systems and an Area of Special Interest in Mechanical Systems.

I interned in the IT department at Nordstrom in Downtown Seattle the summer after my freshman year. It was a great experience and a great primer for working in the “real world.” Contrary to popular belief I was not a secretary and did not have to fetch coffee and make copies for the higher ups. My time at Nordstrom was spent helping with the 4th release of the Point-of-Sale system and included everything from helping run tests after the builds were updated (called smoke testing) to creating a database to help coordinate the nationwide training process to creating materials for the training processes.

I went back to school and studied some more. I was also the Chief Engineer for Mines Internet Radio, a new club on campus that was formed to broadcast music and sports games to students, parents, faculty, alumni, et al. We received funding from the school and I spent a large majority of my free time setting up computers, a server, remote broadcast system, website, and all the other things that fell under the per view of the Chief Engineering (which, as it turned out, was a lot). I also applied to, and interviewed with, the CIA; although I did not get in (they rarely accept students who are not juniors or seniors). However, an internship at Boeing ended up finding me. So the summer after my sophomore year, I worked at Boeing at Kent Space Center in Kent, Washington for the Integrated Defense Systems division (side note: the Lunar Rover was built in the building next to where I worked). I was tasked with writing code for a pending upgrade to the United States Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning And Control System) fleet. In a word, the experience was: phenomenal. I had a fantastic mentor, an excellent boss, working at a fantastic job, doing something exciting.

I went back to school again, studied even harder and decided to come back to work for Boeing again (at the end of the previous summer, they had invited to me to come back again and placed me on Educational Leave of Absence). So I came back to the same group (USAF AWACS upgrade). But software programming wasn’t my thing. I had made this known at the end of last summer and on my last day, I asked what my other options were. I sat in on a meeting with the Mission Computing Hardware group and so I made my home there for this summer. My job this was a lot more interactive. I designed, updated, marked up Interface Control Documents (large drawings and documents that show where cables connect to, what type cable it is and what type of connector is needed). I also was tasked with selecting some of the hardware for the AWACS. Again, I had a great time and learned even more.

I’m now a non-graduating senior (4th year) with the end in sight. I left Mines Internet Radio at the end of last year to pursue other endeavors and I’m currently involved with a team on campus that is working on building a rover for a NASA contest to scoop up 150kg of lunar regolith (moon dirt) in under 30 minutes. I’ll be taking a three week field session this summer (a requirement to graduate from Mines) and then heading back to Boeing where I’ll work with the same group, but a different project which is to be determined.

Other things of note:

  • The summer after my freshman year, I spent a weekend (and then some) participating in a 72 hour film competition. I started out as an assistant and ended up editing the film when the other editor left. We won the Audience Award for our entry “No Witnesses”.
  • I’ve entered several photos over several semesters in our schools art shows.
  • I maintain a blog, https://www.andrewferguson.net, where I write several times a week.

Book Clubs

Most book clubs read things like Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and perhaps even Lord of the Rings.

At Boeing†, our book club will be reading The Elements of Aircraft Preliminary Design. Unfortunately, it doesn’t start until later in the year, so I won’t be able to join‡.

True story.

† It’s actually through the Ed Wells Partnership which is a SPEEA§/Boeing joint-venture
‡ No, I probably wouldn’t have actually joined. But it’s a fun to think about.
§ Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace

Something Meaningfull to Convey

Things have been quiet here (my website, that is) for a while. I can’t say that nothing exciting is going on, because lots of exciting things are going on. I just haven’t felt compelled to write really. I do have a couple of posts I’m working on regarding my drive from Colorado to Seattle, but those will have to wait for me to finish getting by pictures uploaded.

My brother left for a 9 week trip to Greece. I think he’ll have a great time and experience lots of growth while he’s there.

Work started last Friday. It’s fun and I love the people I work with. I do not, however, enjoying getting up at 5:30am. Unfortunately, this is not something that is likely to change now or in the future.

I also hate $4.29/gal gas; apparently not as bad as in San Francisco, but still ridiculous none-the-less. To that end, I have decided to VanPool to work. It costs $50 a month to be in the VanPool, which is $150/month savings on gas (and doesn’t include whatever fuel it takes to drive the five minutes to the Greenlake Park and Ride).