--- BLOG ---

October 2005

October 29, 2005 S #

This whole month almost blazed by without a post. I still don't have internet at my new place. It's ridiculous how far off appointments are with any kind of service provider. Moving in hasn't been so bad though. Granted, I'm still moving in, but progress is being made every day. It takes a while to find out where everything belongs.


Trevor came down for one of these weekends. It was pretty much just a climbing trip. Climbing all day Friday, all day Saturday. Sunday my Dad also happened to be in town on a layover, so we did dinner. That was fun.


I ran another  resume workshop for the engineering students at BYU over one of the weekends. Not sure how long ago that was... it seems like two months ago... but it wasn't. This one was very productive. They actually advertised it to the ME, MET, and EE departments, so the turnout was huge. Within 3 hours I already had 9 people sign up. In total, I did the presentation, and worked with at least 36 engineers. 6 to midnight Thursday. 9am to 10pm Friday. Saturday was intended to be running through the mountains with Rachel, but that got canceled, so I ended up filling the time from 9 until 5 working with more people who couldn't fit in Thursday or Friday. About 60  at the presentation, and half of those I worked with individually couldn't make it to the presentation. It was fun... again.

BYU has some sharp people. It's amazing how many different places these engineers find opportunities to actually be engineers.  Some get formally assigned engineering internships, but the majority of them make the most of an opportunity to engineer a project at a summer job, or to create a small business around something.  Ambitious engineers, and they position themselves well.

The problem with working with people like this is that you give them advice, or your impression about their best recruiting strategy, and then later you think "That wasn't optimal. They could do this, and it would work out great." So goes it. They're smart, so even if I lead them astray, I'm confident they'll figure things out.


I haven't given an update on my book for a while. Hired Minds was all done, and I was contacting publishers. Well, that got put on hold by a very fortunate circumstance. The Site Director where I work called me in for an award they wanted to give me for my performance. I wasn't expecting much, so I prepared to use the opportunity to pitch the next book I want to write on the history of the companies that have become Northrop Grumman, and the acquisition strategy in bringing them together. I had spoken with a few other people, who connected me to our corporate communications lady. My plan was to pitch the book to her after this meeting with my Site Director.

The meeting with my Site Director went well. The award was far better than I had imagined, he really liked the NG book idea, but was more stoked about Hired Minds. He asked to review it, and had it back within four days, with many highly valuable comments. That guy is fast!!! So I integrated his comments, and now our head of Recruiting and Employment for the Western Region is reviewing the book. Other good stuff there, but that's enough for now.

There's more good stuff happening at work, but that's work stuff. The NG Heritage book ended up getting shot down by our corporate communications lady. I was disappointed, but it might be for the best. I was a little scared about the schedule I'd be running in order to  get that researched, written, and published in eight months. Doable, but it would have hurt. Some things I try can fail. I think that's ok.


I moved into my new place, and I really like it.


My new morning run has a hill with 101 stairs. That makes for a good morning wake up. It's a little colder than down by the ocean, but still good. I like running through the trees and hills much more than running by the ocean. The beach run was good... but the trees and hills are better.


A little bit ago, I got the opportunity to have dinner with the guy who used to be the President of the company I work at, before they were acquired by Northrop Grumman. Dinner went from 7:30 until well past 10. Loads of background. Listening to him chat about his personal experience with the company, the contracts they won, the fights to win the contracts, the teams of engineers he gathered or failed to gather,  the competition dynamics with the larger companies like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed, etc. Trying to pull the deal with Ball Aerospace, then that falling through and NG taking the opportunity. The changes in the way the place was run then, vs how it's run now. It was pretty cool knowing the people whose names he was rattling off, the lead engineers still working on various projects. The executives whose names and backgrounds I've read and met a few. There's so much more. I left that evening feeling like the the clouds had been blown away from the whole middle section of a mountain, and I could finally see some definition instead of it just being a big undefined area between the base and the summit. There is so much involved in successfully running a highly technical company.


I don't have internet at my house yet, but I found this cyber cafe near my house where I can study for the GMAT, and finally post a blog  entry. It's a pretty cool little place. But for some strange reason, it won't let me send email. So if I haven't answered email, it's not because I'm ignoring you. I'll answer soon.

Hanging off the fridge to plug in our microwave... and then climbing back out.


Did I ever mention that it's cool having brothers? Well, I'll mention it now. It's fun talking with them. Justin is having a blast in Pilot Training. He's totally in his element over there. Greg is rotating through the different hospital sections. It never occurred to me that he's a 3rd year med student. When he started med school, I just logged his life away as perpetually in school and never getting out. He's actually going to graduate?!?! He'll actually be a doctor at some definable point in time. That never occurred to me. Brandon has been in Mexico for well over a year. He's in his element down there. He writes each week, but I've found there's always a lot on his mind. He doesn't write like I do, but whenever we talk, I get the impression that he thinks more than I do. And Trevor gets to run around with us in whatever state we happen to be living. Sometimes people ask if he feels pressured to live up to the rest of his brothers. The cool thing is, I don't sense any pressure in him at all. Somehow, all on his own, he figured out that whatever he does will be what he does, he's his own person, and that's that. He's a fun kid to run around with.


Here's a blurb from one of Brandon's recent emails:

At the end of the week we went up to Bonilla to go see the family. We had planned to see them on Saturday but when we got there they had gone out to their field to work. I have wanted to go out with the people there and work an afternoon with the people, not just the family but the whole town. In the day in these pueblitos everybody is in the field So the people see you and recognize who you are....  Anyways, so we went out to the field to go help the family. We got there and they were planting cucumbers. I won't go into detail of how you plant cucumbers but it is really muddy. So we took of our shoes and ties, rolled up our pants and worked with the family for a good hour and half before we had to go. It was an awesome experience. They hadn't seen anything so white as my legs. Anyways, It is really beautiful out there it is just the coolest place on earth. And to watch the people work with horses to plow the fields instead of machines. I really felt like It was a National Geographic magazine.

The funny thing is, Brandon is so accustomed to living in those conditions that he doesn't realize that way of life really is what National Geographic prints in their magazines.


All pictures today have been edited courtesy of the GIMP, an Open Source version of Photoshop. I used a trial edition of Photoshop last month. I wanted to learn it to make the cover for Hired Minds. When the 30 days was up, I wasn't impressed enough to spend $60 on the software (let alone the $549 they want to charge for it). So I downloaded the GIMP. Maybe Photoshop helped with some of the learning curve, but being as objective as I can, I think the GIMP is superior in intuitive usability. The Help files on the GIMP are more rudimentary, but much easier to understand and navigate to your question. Furthermore, the Photoshop zip files took about 30 minutes to download. They're huge!!! Installation took just as long. The GIMP files were only a few Mb's. They downloaded and installed in under five minutes. The GIMP interface is also very easy to customize.
The verdict... don't even waste your time with Photoshop. Download the GIMP.


Today was the first weekend in almost three months that I've been in town, and I didn't go climbing. My roommate found a bike trail a mile from our house, so we rode that.


I got a new phone. My old phone didn't have anything smart enough to transfer my phone numbers, so I'm manually doing the data transfer. But... if any of my friends happen to have a moment, and call me to say hi, then I won't have to manually transfer their number!!! So I think it would be a great time to call your good friend Bryan and say hi for a bit.



October 2005