Friday, July 31, 2009

Being a follower

I was talking to my boss today and was getting a frustrated, not with him, but with myself. You see, he is the kind of guy (and he said this to me) that loves someone to just tell him to do something broad, like "make this accelerator work, we don't really know much about it, but just make it work." He does not like getting told specific things to do and the like at all. In fact, it seemed to me that he talked down about the kind of people who need that, because they are not motivated enough. "You need to be self motivated," he said afterwards. Now he wasn't reprimanding me, just making a statement. I agree with his assertion, however I am conflicted about his definition of "motivated". It seems to me that he defines "motivated" as "you need to be able and like to have little or no guidance in your job".

Let me digress a bit now. All around us, at graduations, at motivational speeches, in churches (in somewhat a different sense, though), and advertisements we see people pushing us to be leaders. I feel as if wherever I go, people expect me to be a leader, in fact, they expect everyone to be a leader. Being a loyal follower (not a person on a leash, but someone who follows intelligently) is looked down upon; or at least it seems that way. Is it so bad to be a follower? Obviously not everyone can be a leader, or else nothing would get done. Even leaders are rendered moot if they have no one to lead.

Back to my original story. Unlike my boss, I like being told what to do (to an extent). I find the challenge not in trying to solve an incredibly broad problem, but doing it the most efficient way possible while still doing the job better than right. I get my satisfaction by crossing things off a list, and being able to say, "I did that to the best of my ability." There are situations where I will step up and lead, but usually I will step aside if anyone else wants to lead instead, simply because I would rather follow. But I also don't follow blindly. I asses the situation, and if I feel it is not morally or ethically right, I say something.

My boss is a good man, but I don't think he understands where I come from. In a world that constantly strives to push people to be leaders, no one tells their children or those that they mentor that following is o.k., too. In movies the leader always gets the glory, not those who supported him when he was about to die. In politics the main politician gets the glory, not his advisory board that gave him sound advice. At work the team leader gets the glory, not the accountant that churned through who knows how many spreadsheets to find that bloody error. I am not saying the follower should get all the attention, but I think its important to know that, yes, we can be a follower, and still be an intelligent and hard working individual.

When I told my boss, an engineer with a PHD, that I was thinking of just going into construction (I love construction and working with wood), not dropping out, but doing construction after school, he seemed to strongly oppose it. He kept saying that I should start my own business, or be an engineer that makes a ton of money. Those are good things, but not for me. Making money isn't everything, and neither is leading.

I am sorry if this post was not really well written, I just wrote things as they came to mind.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Free steak

I decided to leave work 30 minutes early, and dropped a binder off in the Dungeon. On my way upstairs a secretary asked me if I was busy. Frankly I was terrified because I thought she was going to ask me to do something for her, probably on her computer. BUT NO! She asked if I wanted a free steak dinner. Yeah, you heard me right, FREE STEAK DINNER!!! All I had to do was walk to the D.C. Turns out that a couple of people left a workshop early and there were two free steak dinners. So Rachel and I walked over to the D.C. and ate free steak. But it was also WRAPPED IN BACON!!!! Yeah. Yes it was. It was also cooked exactly the way I like it: medium rare and seeping just the right amount of blood (don't worry its not bad, I just don't know how to describe it). Oh yeah, and we got strawberry shortcake for desert.

Good day.


I have recently been thinking of how there are many people that are disgustingly overweight. Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about someone with more fat than what is healthy, I am talking about people that HAVE to waddle when they walk. They sway back and forth like a palm tree hitting resonant frequency in a hurricane.

I have not always been in a healthy weight, but usually I have been close. I have usually striven (is that even a word?) to burn fat even at my laziest (pretty dang lazy). I DO NOT understand why people don't walk enough that they cannot walk without looking like a duck with two injured legs. It is one thing to be overweight in America, or the western world in general, that is understandable to an extent. But it is a completely other thing to be so sedentary that your body ceases to show any signs of a metabolism (medical reasons not included).

I am usually very happy when I see a heavier individual accepting their weight and being self confident. But when I see people with no will to become healthy when it is VERY obvious that they just need to walk more, it makes me sad. Be confident, but at least try to be healthy. Eat a salad, walk somewhere, don't eat something dripping with chemicals and grease.

In all reality this applies to people who look healthy and are not as well.

(May it be noted that I completely understand medical difficulties that bar some people from being able to do this, and I am ok with that. Its just the people who are blatantly disregarding anything healthy.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Well, I gave my presentation of my research today. It went well for the most part...I think. God gave me fluent enough speech that I was complimented on my "stage presence" by Dr. Bradle!

Hoo Ha Fuzzy Weasels!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Things I did yesterday

Replaced a door knob after the old one fell off, re-hung a towel rack that had fallen off the wall (put drywall sinks in the holes), and tried the 3rd drain un-clogger (the heaviest duty I could find). The first two work great now, but the drain is still clogged...bleah.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

That felt good.

I worked my butt off yesterday, almost literally, (I had to re-tighten the bolts holding in on). I pretty poured concrete into cinderblocks that were over my head hight-wise, and shoveled rocks for 8 hours. Hard work, but for some reason fun. I then rode my bike home. Needless to say I was exhausted, but I stayed up until 10:30 pm before going to bed (don't worry, this is going somewhere).

This morning I woke up at 6:00, got ready for the day, and rode my bike 5 miles to Exit 59 at 7:15 am. I did this because a small group of people from Exit were going to install a wheelchair ramp for a lady in Marion. They were going to meet at 8:00 at Exit, and drive over. Well, 8:00 came and went and no one was to be seen...rain clouds were also coming over and it was getting cold (I was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts, hardly cold-and-rainy gear), and was thinking of going home. God, however had different plans and kept telling me in that still small voice that he has got it all under I waited. At about 8:30 they came, and then it started raining (just in time for me to get out of the rain!).

Turns out that the lady we built the ramp for has cerebral palsy and has been stuck in her house for a year because she couldn't get down the precarious stairs. It felt great, and I felt actually useful...Yay God!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blocking ads

So apparently Ad-Blocker (on safari) only blocks the displaying of ads, not actually loading them. I accidentally clicked on a blank space on my screen and BAM! a popup appeared.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Bear with me as I may go nerd on you.

This week I found out that what we thought (or at least what I thought we one tells me anything) were two computers turned out to be one cable passthrough and one computer. I am speaking, of course, of the...thing...that came with the particle accelerator. The initial plan was to write a program that would replace one of the computers and probe the other one that only "conditions" the signals into readable voltages/forms. HA!

Ok, let me explain further. The particle accelerator/klystron/power cabinet/master oscillator, all of them, output signals to the computer. This computer is made to condition those signals into something that will not overload the delicate circuitry (-10V to +10V is on the outer edge of being acceptable). This is a custom designed/built computer of old (1995). It is so old that its ram is partially connected to the rest of the system through IDE cables...yeah. Without going to in-depth, to hook my program/computer up to this system would be the equivalent of taking two computers running say Windows 3x and Ubuntu, wiring the Ubuntu machine into the Windows machine (probing for signals, and sending signals into places they would overwrite the Windows' machine's signals). Then, run completely different, custom designed software on both machines to do relatively the same thing, just the Ubuntu machine has newer software. Watch everything go to hell.

This is my job. I have no idea how to do it. I have really no idea where to start anymore. BLEAH! Tomorrow I am going to see if I can trace cables and see if it is at all possible to scrap the whole machine and just emulate it. Luckily (I want to kiss the man/woman who did this) for some reason all the memory addresses/bus transfer (I don't know which) for the data/signals are given to me in hex; thank the Lord. So vaguely theoretically, I can pretend my program is the old computer and just accept and decode the signals; but its a stretch.

Please pray.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Things that happened today

Today's happenings:

Found mouse turds in one of the computer cases that came with the particle accelerator from a hospital.

Traced conductor leads on an old circuit board to find cable pinouts.

Accidentally wrote half my documentation in french...don't blame me, the stuff I am checking is written in both french and english, but I understand both...

Once again came to the conclusion that Legal Pads are my best friend.

Ate some delicious left over tilapia.

Found out the computer rack for the accelerator is on rollers to roll it out of its enclosure.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What happened this weekend?

There was a skype party on saturday. These things are incredibly fun, although this one is the first one I made it to. Most of the time we could all hear Jeff's parents talking in the background, almost always bringing hilarity with it.

This is actually next weekend, but a group from my church is putting a wheelchair ramp in for someone. Hopefully I can make it, and get a chance to use my new impact driver!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Just existing

Today I realized that this last couple of weeks I have been simply existing, nothing more. I have not really enjoyed life, nor have I loathed it, I have just sort of been there. The best way I can describe it is thus (ok, so this is NOT the best way...I lied, but it is much more interesting): Its like being a mediocre guy on a blind date with a mediocre girl at the Dining Commons. During this date neither of you talk, you just sit and eat. Eventually friends come along, some for you, and some for the girl, and you go your separate ways; forgetting that you were even on a date. Now, a couple hours later, you can't even remember what she looked like or what her name was. You can however remember that she was the most awesome person you ever met, but now you never have the chance to meet her again.

That was my last couple of weeks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New layout?

Does anyone like this new layout, I can't decide if I do. Extremely tired of the old one, though.

Things I find incredibly irritating

Someone doing a lot of texting with the button tones turned on.

Trying to help someone with their computer, when they don't want to learn, they just want you to do it for them...over and over again.

There is no such thing as "a bluetooth"...bluetooth is a wireless standard used to transmit data short distances, not the thing in your ear. Saying "I bought a bluetooth today" is the equivalent of buying a book and saying "I bought an english."

People claiming that I can't pronounce my last name, just because I don't want to say it. I have been asked how to pronounce my name at least 3 times by every person I have ever met, it just gets old after 15 years, ya know? Plus: its my last name, why wouldn't I learn how to say it?

Note: This is not a rant (except for the first one) simply a list of things that irritate me and the reason why.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Something witty

I would love to put something wry and witty here, but honestly nothing is coming to mind. Lately I have been playing Halo 3 online. And I have nothing else to say.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bad Habits #2

I have discovered today that if I get really excited and then try to type in a password, I add "!" to the end...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Growing a beard

Ok, so this has nothing to do with growing a beard, its just something I have always wanted to do.

I watched "Speed Racer: The Movie" with Laura the other day whilst making sarcastic comments over aim. Hopefully this year we can all watch horrible movies together during an episode of "Terrible Movies With Tony". Its gonna be a blast!!

Monday, July 6, 2009


I think Labview is foaming at the mouth...*tells Labview that he is going to make everything better, grabs his shotgun, leads Labview to behind the shed out back*...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

Today I realized that living on your own has more more disadvantages than I thought, mainly holidays are lonely. I spent today alone (Caleb was awake and here for only a little while before leaving to hang with friends). To top it off, the sky was grey and it was drizzling all day, so bike riding was out of the question (it is very dangerous to ride on a slick country road, much more so than a slick city going 55 mph and all). To celebrate the holiday I cooked ate 2 hamburgers, hardly anything for someone who missed a massive family get-together today at home.

But it is not all doom and gloom, God still has me cradled in his arms. First of all, Brian called today just to chat, for which I am incredibly grateful. Second, at 10 o'clock, just as the air raid siren (placed conveniently close to my apartment) was going off, I went outside to see if I could see fireworks. This was pretty much a no-go even though I can here them all around me. The only ones I could see were miles away to the east, so far in fact that I had to get on the Upland bridge and peer through a small hole in the trees in the distance (all the rest were behind trees, and without transportation...), but even then I could only see the ones REALLY high up. But there, standing on the bridge in the light rain, I realized that this wasn't all bad.

Back before most, if not all of you knew me (you would have had to know me around my freshman year of high school at least), I was an angry child. Not wholly so, it was more of a reaction to the extreme lostness, loneliness, and hurt I felt. That feeling of feeling abandoned was far worse than what I felt today...and I felt it all the time. Yeah, a holiday by yourself with no one to share it with sucks, but a life without God is worse. I was a christian more by words than actions. So, against all common sense (if I have learned anything from my walk with God, its that His perfect plan doesn't always, if ever, match up with my "common sense") I thank God for today. I feel like junk today, but He took me out of feeling like junk everyday. Through this He also taught me even more the importance of family. But most of all, I know that no matter what, God's got my back.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I believe I went insane today, but in a good way. It is a beautiful day today in the great Upland area, and I couldn't stand sitting inside all day doing I decided to ride my Wal*mart. All in all I rode about 30 miles today and I feel GREAT! As of right now, I have only eaten a bowl of oatmeal, a protein bar, and a yogurt smoothie (cooking dinner as I type). The crazy part? I wasn't winded when I got to Wal*mart or my apartment. Don't get me wrong, my muscles are tired, but I was not winded...I think the end of the world is coming...I am relatively healthy.....oh dear.

Also: this beats my previous record of distance ridden at one time by 3 miles.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Extremely funny comic...and true

Yeah so I found this at Dinosaur Comics.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I feel like having another picture on my here is one of Mr. B, my cat ("B" stands for Buenegin, it was supposed to be Bugenhagen, the old dude in Cosmo Canyon in Final Fantasy VII, but I forgot his name at the vets...)


Right now I am drained, and I don't know why. Ok, maybe I do...the last couple of days I have been slipping in my walk with God, just not really trying to be close to him. Frankly it sucks. You know what? I am going to stop that right now and go do something like read the Bible.