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Four Things
Friday, 2006 February 10 - 1:21 am
I feel like I'm finally SOMEBODY.

Okay, I've been tagged for this meme from MonoCerdo. I've only had to wait as I've watched every other blogger on the planet get tagged with this, so I finally feel like I'm part of the club.

So here goes.

Four Jobs I've Had (Not Including the Blow Kind)

1. Back when I was a fledgling geek, I honed my computer programming chops writing stuff on my Commodore 64. Just to be clear as to how long ago this was: a Commodore 64 ran at a blazing 1 MHz, which is 2000 times slower than my current computer. It had 64 kilobytes of RAM, which is 24,000 times less memory than my current computer. Each 5.25" floppy disk it used held 170 KB, so I could fit data from 1 MILLION floppy disks on my current hard drive.

Anyway, on this powerhouse computer, I wrote a simple program for my dad that would add up the frequency of words that occurred in a document. The thing was, all his documents were just photocopies of articles in magazines; he didn't have any electronic versions. So my job was to TYPE those documents into the Commodore 64, so that it could count up the words and print out various statistics. I think I got a dollar for each document I typed, making me about as well paid as any respectable Guatemalan data entry clerk.

2. While in college, a friend hooked me up with his dad's company, the Motor Vehicle Manufacturer's Association of the United States of America, otherwise known as We Got Last Place in the Corporate Naming Contest of the United States of America. Among other things, the MVMA was responsible for getting air quality data from the EPA, and spinning the data so it looked like car emissions were going down. So my job was to log into the EPA computers, pull off the data, and make various graphs and charts.

While I was there, I ate at Burger King just about every day, because it was the only place to eat nearby. And I remember there was a janitor there who always asked me if I knew kung-fu.

3. Also while in college, I had a summer job at the University of Michigan hospital, in the Positron Emission Topology research lab. It sounds pretty glamorous, but really, my main job was simply to sit and watch various chemical experiments and record the results. Sometimes I got to build little electronic gizmos, which was cool. I remember I built this one thing, and an old guy yelled at me for using his power screwdriver to put it together. A few weeks later I discovered he had a bunch of nudie playing cards in his desk drawer, so I stole them.

Some of the experiments I had to watch were really slow, and so I'd just sit in a little room listening to the radio (WIQB) while it progressed. I carefully arranged myself so that if I fell asleep and I heard someone walk in, I could gather myself in time for him not to notice I'd been sleeping.

Eventually they got another intern, a nice girl named Denise. I thought about asking her out, but I didn't get up the nerve. And a couple weeks after she started there, the fall semester started, so I quit. I never saw Denise again.

4. After college, I worked at Nortel Networks. At the time, Nortel Networks was called Northern Telecom, and the R&D arm was called BNR. BNR supposedly stood for Bell Northern Research, but we all knew it actually meant Big Nerd Ranch.

At the time, a lot of new college graduates were starting work there, so it was a fun place to be. There were lots of parties and social opportunities. However, we also had a male-to-female ratio of about 5 to 1. If a new pretty girl started working there, all the guys would flock to her and shower her with attention.That led us to coin the phrase "Flavor of the Month". My friend Ellen held this title for longer than anyone else.

I spent many years at Nortel, and I built a lot of friendships there. Eventually I got tired of big-company politics and bureaucracy, and the stress of layoffs and project cancellations. When I left there, it felt like the last day of school.

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over (That Aren't Porn)

1. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". Last month it was on one movie channel or another ALL the time, and I watched it a LOT.

2. "The Blues Brothers". I used to have a videotape with this and "Ghostbusters" on it. In high school, Steve and I watched that tape almost daily for a whole summer.

3. "Office Space". A movie for all of us geeks.

4. "The Hunt for Red October". There's just something compelling about a Russian with a Scottish accent.

Four Places I Have Lived

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan. I grew up there. I lived on the east side, near Ypsilanti, in a modest neighborhood (i.e. not the fancy-pants rich part of town).

2. Yokohama, Japan. For one year when I was little, I lived and went to school in Japan. I remember two things distinctly about that: (a) my teacher teased me because I wrote my own name wrong once; and (b) there was a little class graduation ceremony at the end of the year, but for some reason I participated with the older kids instead of the kids in my own class, and I can't remember why.

3. Middlebury, Vermont. My parents used to teach at Middlebury College in the summer. Middlebury was a small town, and my sister and I were frequently starved for entertainment. We went to the library twice a week, and got six books at a time. There was one movie theater in town, and over the course of the summer they'd run one or two movies. We saw "Ishtar" there and were the only people in the theater. We rejoiced when they finally opened a McDonald's there. We rode our bikes there and ordered food, only to find we were about 50 cents short of having enough money. A nice man behind us in line gave us some money to help us out.

4. Raleigh, North Carolina. It's unquestionably a nice place to live, if not always exciting or glamorous.

Four TV Shows I Love

1. "Lost". Of course.
2. "My Name Is Earl".
3. "Boston Legal".
4. "American Idol". I have to admit it.

Four Places I've Vacationed

1. Kauai, Hawaii. Perhaps my favorite place in the world.
2. The Caribbean. On various cruise ships.
3. Las Vegas.
4. Costa Rica. Just recently.

Four of my Favorite Dishes

1. Buffalo chicken wings. Not so much a "dish" as a "trough", the way I eat them.
2. Filet mignon. Moo-cow rare.
3. Curry rice. Made the way my mom made it, using the Japanese-style instant sauce mix, and chunks of beef and vegetables.
4. Sushi. Pretty much all kinds.

Four Sites I Visit Daily
(How do I pick four out of the hundreds?)

1. Assbaggery.
2. Monocerdo.
3. Dooce .
4. Macsurfer.

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

1. Anywhere with Amy.
2. On a warm beach with a cold beer and an Italian sub.
3. Behind the desk of the Oval Office, putting this country back on the right track.
4. At the Olympics, as a member of the U.S. Curling team.

Four People I Am Tagging
(Who hasn't done this already?)

1. BakeTown.
2. Elizabeth. Where on earth have you been?
3. Tim, who needs to be prodded into writing.
4. Donna.
Permalink  6 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: bloggerslife

Comments

Comment #1 from Jenn (Guest)
2006 Feb 10 - 9:34 am : #
You know what's funny, I was finally tagged for the first time a couple weeks ago and I thought that all the 'cool kids' didn't do memes, and now all of the sudden everyone on earth is doing them.

I did mine a few weeks ago, because I'm not a cool kid. ;)
Comment #2 from MonoCerdo (Guest)
2006 Feb 10 - 11:22 am : #
Job #1? Oh. My. God! Sadly, I don't think the conditions of the data entry specialist have improved much over the years. And I had no idea your parents taught at Middlebury. I wonder if they have a Burger King now.
Comment #3 from Bake Town (Guest)
2006 Feb 10 - 2:17 pm : #
I finally got tagged for something! Yee haw!
Comment #4 from Bake Town (Guest)
2006 Feb 10 - 2:18 pm : #
btw I've done this already.
Comment #5 from Ken (realkato)
2006 Feb 10 - 2:32 pm : #
Oh, so you have!

Dang, you know, I was worried I would tag someone who's already done this (because let's face it, this meme has been around for months, and I'm one of the last to get tagged with it), and that would make it look like I wasn't reading their blog. BakeTown, please know that I do keep up with your blog obsessively; I'm just not keeping track of who's done this meme already and who hasn't, and I neglected to double-check.
Comment #6 from MonoCerdo (Guest)
2006 Feb 10 - 5:04 pm : #
Ditto for me and Jenn. Now I'll have to go back to find the entry when you did this!

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