Description by music
Here are a few songs that I identify with either literally or philosophically, either in part or in whole.
I was born and raised in Reykjavik, Iceland. I have two sisters, and I’m the middle child.
My dad retired a while back after spending 50 years working on fishing boats in one capacity or another. Most of his career he was an engineer, working his way to chief engineer in the later years of his career. The boats he was on fish in the North Atlantic Ocean which made for more of a challenging condition than what you see on the TV show “The Deadliest Catch”.
My Mom spent her career as an anesthesiology nurse. She was the first certified in that nursing specialty in the entire country of Iceland. She has been retired for a while now, enjoying being a grandma.
Both my sisters and my parents still reside in Iceland.
My parents tell me that from a very early age I was always interested in technology. They tell stories about how they didn’t have to worry about their nick nags when I was a toddler as all I would touch were their radio and the electrical outlets. Growing up in the ’60s there were no such things as childproofing the outlets. I guess I gave my parents quite the scare on more than one occasions playing with various metal objects near an outlet. One thing to note is that the standard electrical currency in the outlets in Iceland (as in most of Europe) is 220v AC 50 Hz single phase, twice the voltage as here in the US. So getting shocked gave you twice the jolt. Growing up with my geeky habits I got shocked on more than one occasion. It was quite the electrifying experience one I recommend you avoid.
Along with my technology interest comes interest all sorts of gadgets and a very inquisitive mind. Always inspecting everything, I guess that is what I was doing when I was playing with the radio and electrical outlets. I guess you could call me inspector gadget.
One story my mom loves to tell about my inquisitive nature is from my childhood when I was in grade school. I do not recall what grade but it could not have been more than 2 grade. One of the required school supplies that year was one of those child safe scissors. You know the plastic ones with dull edges and round tip. The supply list said to bring a pair of dull scissors, referring to the dull point and dull edges. I thought that meant the scissors themselves were dull and could not cut very well. So I decided on a little experiment, just had to find a suitable object to cut to best test just how well or poorly they cut. I decided on the hand towel in the bathroom next to my bedroom. My experiment was a resounding success and found out that the scissors cut very well, and I had successfully totally cut up the towel. I was very pleased with the result of my little experiment. My mom, on the other hand, was not very pleased to see that I had cut up one of her towels.
Growing up I was more of a nerd than a geek as my social skills were severely lacking for the longest time. My nerdiness manifested itself in multiple ways. I would spend hours every night on my school homework, was the “teacher’s pet”, teased by the bullies, etc. All the stereotypical nerd stuff. If I went to a school dance I was the wallflower, possibly helping set up, helping with concessions, etc. In gym class, I remember frequently hiding in the equipment room. It was a mutual unspoken agreement I wasn’t getting in the way of the jocks with my un-coordination and didn’t suffer the embarrassment of the same. In seventh grade, I got involved with the computer club and the electronics club. In the electronics club, I started building my own electronics out of stuff like the Heath kits. For those that weren’t exposed to geeks or nerds of the 70s Heath-kits were these do it yourself electronic kits. The kit would contain a pre-printed and pre-drilled out circuit board, all the components, and a case. So all you had to do was to follow the instructions and assemble it all, including soldering the components onto the circuit board. This eventually led to designing and building my own electronics including the printed circuit board. This meant designing the layout of the board, imprinting a blank board, etching it with acid (Ferric chloride that eats away exposed copper and other metals), and then drilling it, all in my bedroom.
In the computer club, I got my first taste of programming and I dove into that. This was in the era when Tandy TRS-80, Commodore64, and Atari were the big names in “personal computing”, productivity software suites hadn’t been invented and Basic was a popular programming language (complete with line numbers and goto statements). IBM was making inroads with their PC and Apple was also making waves with the Apple II. I was probably in the 8th grade when I got my first computer, an Apple IIe with two 5.25″ floppy drives and 128K of memory (these were awesome specs in the late 70’s early 80’s). The first time I even saw a hard drive was an external 10MB hard drive on an Apple Lisa (a product that completely flopped, but led the way for the Mac) in the early ’80s and probably had a price tag of close to what I paid for my computer if not more. After I got my own computer I started to spend more time on it and the electronics kind of faded out.
The only non-nerd/geek hobby I had as a teen was horseback riding. As a young teen, my parents would arrange for me to spend the summer working at a farm, just as general help. One year the farmer gave me a newborn foal as a bonus (Icelandic Pony bread). I would take it home and put it a stable not far from my neighborhood. I would go there daily to feed and groom it. While I had no idea what I was doing and had very limited horseback riding experience, I got the wild idea that I would train it on my own. While I did eventually succeed, it was not without some trials, falls, etc. I think this was one occasion where my extreme stubbornness came in very handy. My training basically involved being more stubborn than the horse. Once the horse got used to carrying me around, having a saddle, bridle, etc., grown tired of bucking and trying to toss me off (usually successfully) training was over and we just went on rides. Eventually, the nerd/geek part of my life overtook everything else and I ended up selling the horse.
After graduating from high school I went to a vocational technical school to study electronics. After graduation, I spent a couple of years working as a technician in the shop for a local electronics dealer. Back then electronics were actually repaired when they broke down and every decent electronics store had a service center where you could take your electronics to get them fixed.
After working in that field for a year or so I realized that electronics just wasn’t going to fulfill me long-term and decided to pursue a career in computers. For this, I decided I needed a computer degree. In August of 1990, I arrive at SeaTac airport in Washington State to begin my studies at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. I graduated in May of 1994 with a BS degree in Computer Engineering after which I started working for various companies in the Seattle Metro area doing various IT functions. 26 years later I am still here, still doing IT type stuff, Network Engineering specifically for most of that, and recently switched to cybersecurity.
I eventually managed to gain some social skills and graduated from a nerd to a geek, then to a super geek. I think it was after I graduated from the technical school and joined the workforce that I decided I needed to gain some social skills. It was very challenging and often very uncomfortable but with a lot of work over many years it gradually became easier and less uncomfortable until I started actually enjoying social gatherings.
I still maintain my geekiness. My place is filled with gadgets and gizmo’s aplenty, multiple computers with multi-monitors, soldering station, power supplies, multimeters, etc.
In my spare time, when I’m not partaking in social activity, I spend my time working on various coding projects and learning about new technologies to name a couple of my geeky activities. Lately, I have been getting back into electronics through Amateur Radio, Arduino, and Rasberry Pi type platforms.
Other hobbies (in order) include dancing, theater, and cuddling (see https://cuddlegeek.com for more on that)