Where Am I?

I feel like I haven’t written here in ages. Don’t worry, I’m still alive. Lots of things have been going on recently, some of which I hope to write about in the near future.

However, that brings me to something I’ve been pondering for a while (like, months). What is the purpose of this blog? Why do I write here? Over the last ten years or so, this little space I’ve carved out has morphed significantly. It was first a place to share things I loved in a very static form: LEGO’s, Star Trek, James Bond, etc. I made some pages, and I tweaked them as I saw fit. It wasn’t very dynamic.

Around 2002, I started keeping a log of the changes I made to the site. And although it was mostly technical and administrative in nature, it could be considered the start of my web log. During my senior year of high school, I started to do what many people would consider blogging.

I think a lot of why I started blogging at that point was in preparation for going to college. At that point, I knew I would be going to school out of state (I hadn’t applied to any schools in Washington) and I wanted to remain connected to people back home in Seattle, primary family and friends. Still, it was mostly talking about school.

Blogging for me formally started when I switched to WordPress, I think this was in the fall of my Freshman year of college. I blogged about everything. One of my New Year resolutions in 2005 was to blog every day…and I did it.

At some point however, this has become less of a blog and more of a journal — a journal for me1 but which I share with the world. I don’t do this out of vanity, but because I believe in truth and honesty2.

Of course, journals come with all sorts of rawness. Life isn’t a perfect venture all the time, and journals usually reflect that. It helped that most of what I was focusing on in school was relatively low risk, and hence this blog was pretty easy to write; I just had to get through classes, which while hard, was something that was feasible.

Life after school is something entirely new, it’s a beast. And in many ways, something I wasn’t quite prepared for. I’ve written more private journal entries this year than I have in any other year, even though I’ve been posting less overall.

At points I’ve thought about taking this journal and making it entirely private, or completely passphrase protected. I even thought about shuttering site completely, for real.

But dating someone and then breaking up have made me realize some very important: This is not a me question. This is not a problem I’m facing because of something I did (or didn’t do). The feelings I have, the issues I’m dealing with, the questions I’m asking are things that I believe many people my age are asking — maybe not out loud, but they’re asking.

I believe that many people are wondering who they are, what they’re doing, and where they should go. I believe that many people are wondering why they haven’t found that one person, or that one vocation, or whatever they need in order to feel complete in life. This is not a problem unique to me because I am an engineer or because I am a Christian, although that certainly plays into it.

I also believe that one of the best ways to work on these issues is to talk about them. And for me, that conversation starts here, with my journal. It’s a conversation I have with myself, that I share — or not (not everything is fit for sharing with everyone…which is another thing I’m learning).

Consider this your fair warning: Blogs can be about many things, this one is going to be my journal of sorts3.

And that’s where I am.


  1. It’s an important tool for me to reflect on later 

  2. Even if it doesn’t look good 

  3. This is not to say that there won’t be other things discussed here, just that most of what I write will be journal-ish 

Engineers Explained

In my never ending quest to accurately describe who engineers – and by association, myself – are, I happened to stumble upon this great explanation, attributed to Scott Adams (a.k.a. The guy who writes Dilbert):

From bcn.boulder.co.us:

People who work in the fields of science and technology are not like other people. This can be frustrating to the nontechnical people who have to deal with them. The secret to coping with technology-oriented people is to understand their motivations. This chapter will teach you everything you need to know. I learned their customs and mannerisms by observing them, much the way Jane Goodall learned about the great apes, but without the hassle of grooming.

Engineering is so trendy these days that everybody wants to be one. The word “engineer” is greatly overused. If there’s somebody in your life who you think is trying to pass as an engineer, give him this test to discern the truth.

More after the break…
Continue reading “Engineers Explained”

An Engineer Says What?

Amanda sent me this list of Engineering Speak. Having used most of these phrases at one point or another, I can vouch for their accuracy1.

From humour.200ok.com.au:

Engineer says: A number of different approaches are being tried
Engineer means: We are still grasping at straws

Engineer says: Major technological breakthrough
Engineer means: It works OK, but looks very hi-tech

Engineer says: Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive
Engineer means: The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch

Engineer says: Test results were extremely gratifying
Engineer means: We are so surprised that the stupid thing works

Engineer says: The entire concept will have to be abandoned
Engineer means: The only person who understood the thing quit

Engineer says: It is in process
Engineer means: It is so wrapped up in red tape that the
situation is hopeless

Engineer says: We’ll look into it
Engineer means: Forget it! We have enough problems for now

Engineer says: Please read and initial
Engineer means: Let’s spread the responsibility for the mistake

Engineer says: Years of development
Engineer means: One finally worked

Read the rest at http://humour.200ok.com.au/engineer_speak.html

Found via Amanda Walton(@AmandaWalton / TeslaSaysHi.com)


  1. more or less 

T-Shirts I’d Consider Wearing

Someone in my Advanced Robot Control class was wearing this t-shirt:

Engineer's Motto: If it isn't broken, take it apart and fix it.
Engineer's Motto: If it isn't broken, take it apart and fix it.

I had a really good chuckle because that’s totally me. Curious as to where my fellow engineer purchased the shirt, I did a bit of Googling and found a whole slew tshirts that I thought were entertaining to at least look at. I think realistically, I’d really only wear one or two of the t-shirts listed below. So enjoy some engineering humor while I procrastinate this essay as much as possible.

Scientists Dream. Engineers Do.
Scientists Dream. Engineers Do.
Engineer: The glass is twice the size it needs to be.
Engineer: The glass is twice the size it needs to be.
Never question the engineer's judgement.
Never question the engineer's judgement.
Think outside the box
Think outside the box
Engineer Inside
Engineer Inside

Crisis of Plan

I think there’s a misconception floating around that everyone things I know exactly what I want to do in life. This is a myth, kind of: if right now was 1959, I’d be working for the McDonnell Aircraft Company building the capsules for Project Mercury. I’d later work on Project Gemini, Apollo, and SkyLab programs before helping design the Space Transport System. If I was lucky, I’d even get to ride up into space to do a stint on the International Space Station.

For the longest time, I thought programs like those still existed. Over the years, I’ve found that the “glory day of engineering” jobs don’t really exist anymore and working at Boeing has proven a big eye-opener to that fact. I think I also romanticized the idea of being an engineer working on the space program.

These two issues put me in what I’ll call my crisis of plan. You see, I had the future mapped out. Not in step by step detail, but more or less what type of job I wanted to do. To discover that I was a half-century too late was heartbreaking. I happened to come across something that I think captures my feelings pretty accurately, on the topic of Engineer at Uncyclopedia:
From uncyclopedia.org:

Star Trek is famous for its unrealistic, but very exciting, portrayal of engineers. In fact, nearly 83% of engineering students claim that they chose to pursue their specialty with the assumption that after passing their PE exam, they’d be assigned to a starship (NCC class or higher) and would spend their remaining days reporting warp core status to smooth, attractive captains or having sex with a diverse array of alien life forms. These engineers are incredibly disappointed to learn that their “captains” are mediocre managers who were promoted so the company wouldn’t have to clean up their engineering.

So where does that leave me now? Well, the search is on. I think I’m in a better position now then I was – even a year ago – to understand how engineering is done. I still want to work on space programs and that’s what I’m going to pursue because that’s what I love, even if it’s not the romanticized engineering I dream of.

I’m still holding out hope, though, that there I’ll be able to find my Shangri-La. I’m confident it still exists somewhere, it’s just not where I expected it to be.

Image caption: An engineer at the Instrumentation Laboratory inspects a mockup of the guidance and navigation system that will be used aboard NASA’s Project APOLLO spacecraft. The spacecraft will carry three U.S. astronauts to the moon and back. Instrumentation Laboratory, together with several participating contractors, is designing and developing the guidance and navigation system.
Image credit: MIT Office of Public Relations, undated MIT Photo