Who are you?
First, you need to know that I'm an idiot, and we can start from there.
Who the hell are you?
OK, now that that's out of the way. I was born a poor black child...
What? No, waitaminnit... Wrong story.
Dammit, Who the hell are you?
I'm just this guy, ya know?
Dammit, I've asked you three times, now... Who the hell are you?
I am an Electrical (Electronics) Engineer/Systems Engineer with a company in Maryland. On the off chance you feel like paying me an exorbitant amount of money to do very little, here is my resume (undergrad & grad transcripts, as well).
I came out here, originally to follow work. Turns out in my field, most of the work is in big, metropolitan areas (ick). Someday, I'll move to somewhere a little quieter.
Anyway, the company paid for me get a second Masters' degree in Systems Engineering. I finished all my coursework and officially graduated in Spring of 2006. (My coursework was completed in Spring of 2005)
I left the original company in 2011, and have been working at a second Maryland company for a while, now. In truth, while I don't find the work to be quite as interesting, the atmosphere is MUCH better. I am much happier here.
On top of that, I am happily divorced (I'm much happier for that, too!), have four kids - Hope, Leah, Adam, and Calliope "Callie."
Is that all? You sound kind of boring...
Well, that's mostly true. Here's some more details, if you're really interested:
I was born in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, back in 1968. We lived in a trailer at Cherry Street Estates until I was in about 8th grade or so, when we moved into town. After High School, I went into the USAF for about 6 years as an Electronic Warfare Systems Technician. I was in the first Persian Gulf War (PGI, as I call it) for ten months - Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and part of Provide Comfort. I have some war stories and other random thoughts I share with people from time to time.
Anyways, I got out of the Air Force in 1992, and went back to school. I spent one year at Wabash Valley Junior College (In Mt. Carmel, IL), then went on to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, IL, (I lived in Murphysboro) where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (minor in Computer Science, minor in Math). I stayed with SIU for another two years, until I earned my Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. My thesis is available here.
From there, I went to work in Linthicum, Marlyand. I have moved around internal to the company location-wise, but am still in the same group with which I started.
You said you were in the Air Force. Did you fly?
Ha! No, unfortunately. You have to have a college degree (4 yrs) to be a pilot in the USAF, and I certainly didn't have that. As I said earlier, I was an EW technician. I went to basic training in May of 1987 at Lackland AFB, TX. After that, I went to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS for about ten months to learn the basics of my job. My first "real" base was Seymour-Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, NC.
At SJ (aka "shady-J"), I worked primarily on F-4E fighters. There was trivial work on other aircraft, as required, and Shady-J was the first base to accept the (then new) F-15E "Beagle" (for bombing Eagle). Those were nifty aircraft, but there were only about five of them there when I left in mid- to late 1989.
From SJ, I went on to Spangdahlem AB, in Spangdahlem, Germany. Spangdahlem is kind of out of the way, about a two hour drive from Luxembourg city. At Spangdahlem, I worked on F-4G (Advanced Wild Weasels) - "Cave Putorium!" (Beware the untamed weasel!) I also worked on F-16's at Spang, as we had mixed squadrons (hunter-killer teams) with a primary mission of SEAD. When I first arrived in Germany, I thought how great it was to finally have a chance to learn German, something I'd always wanted to do. Little did I know how wrong I was. My unit was a rapid-reaction force type of unit (as was my old unit in SJ). To keep our edge, we had many temprary duties (TDYs). Four times a year, we went on thirty-day TDY's to Saragossa, Spain. We also did periodic TDYs to the US for various practice missions (e.g. "Green Flag"). And, of course, as I mentioned above, I spent another ten months in the Persian Gulf (in Bahrain). So, out of three years stationed in Germany, I was out of country for twenty-five months (including leave - 3 of which were terminal).
I made lots of friends in the military, a couple of whom I still keep in touch with today. There are others that I wish I could find, but to date have had no luck in that department.
Terminal Leave? What's that?
In the military, you can carry over leave to the next year. At the end of the fiscal year (Oct first), you lose whatever leave you have accrued over sixty days (unless you have a waiver). Leave accrues at a rate of two and one-half days each month, to a total of thirty for the year. Since I got out in early August, I had almost three months of "Terminal Leave." I just did all of my out processing at the beginning of that time, and took leave for my last eighty-some-odd days. I bought a Eurail Youth Pass, and spent the first thirty of those days to travel Europe. I visited many countries (I will not go into them here), and saw many things. Some were more memorable than others. I would recommend that everybody should visit the following: Legoland (Denmark), La Tour Eiffel (Paris), Rome - especially Vatican City (Italy), and Auschwitz (Poland).
So, how was school, then?
Thank goodness for the GI Bill, and the Illinois Veteran's Grant! GI Bill (at the time) paid me about $400 each month while I was in school. This was not enough to cover housing, dorms, and so on. Fortunately, I was a "non-traditional" student, and was able to live off-campus. The Illinois Veteran's Grant works on a points basis, but essentially allowed me to get four years of study at a state university free of charge. Tied to this was a MAP (Monetary Award Program) grant that paid all fees for any classes. Basically, my honorable discharge paid for my school, so I could focus on studies & whatnot. Still, money was very tight, so I took on a job with the College of Engineering. I was basically one of the network administrators/help desk operators for the College of Engineering. We ran a computer lab containing about thirty PCs, a Pr1me minicomputer, and a host of SUN servers and workstations. This job paid for my utilities and the occasional movie/McDonalds.
When I graduated, Sara had gone on to Nursing School (a series of unfortunate events derailed her original plans), and she still had a year left. Rather than split up across the country, I talked to her a bit and decided to continue on towards my Masters Degree. So, when she finished her nursing degree, I still had one more year to go to graduate. I continued to work for the computer lab, only this time I was under a contract that paid my tuition plus another $2000 per semester (if I recall correctly). Times were still tight, so I took on another job as a teaching assistant (TA) for the electronics class.
We originally lived in a basement apartment in Wides Village (Murphysboro, IL), but when I took Conrad in, we had to move (no pets allowed). We moved to Tan Tara Mobile Home Park (Still in Murphysboro). They allowed pets, and the rent was a bit cheaper, but we were still poor as dirt - especially since the trailer was pretty drafty, and ate our lunch in utility bills - in the summer, I couldn't sleep in the bedroom, as it was too hot. I would sleep on the couch, directly in front of the AC.
So, what do you do in your spare time?
Umm, full-time job, 4 kids, what spare time? Seriously, I do manage to carve out an hour or two here and there. I like to ride my motorcycle to work (and more often if I can find the opportunity). I play video games. I read webcomics, visit Red Vs. Blue, tinker with electronics, Scuba Dive, and shoot (firearms). I also have some friends (I have friends!?) with whom I get together every so often to play Dungeons & Dragons (or whatever). Other than that, that's me in a nutshell.
I also have a long-term project truck.