Thoughts on Three Mile Island Memories

Like most tech junkies I read Bob Cringely’s work with much fervor and am just about finished with 1996 book  Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date which has held up well to me.

Life and a some weasel hacker who must be unemployed, incredibly bored and gets his kicks from taking over little read blogs like mine has kept me from blogging for a while. I’m starting to catch up by going through the blog drafts I had saved from before the lame attack.

I, Cringely » Blog Archive » Three Mile Island Memories – Cringely on technology.

Bob’s blog made me wonder if I would have been a switch operator had I done the Navy Nuclear Propulsion deal back in the day. Back in the day was when I was nearing the completion of my chemistry undergrad degree and not yet diving into computer science full steam. My chemistry major coupled with my good grades were enough to solicit the Navy form letter informing me of the opportunity to enter the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program after graduation. The offer did tempt me on a few levels and I gave it some thought. First, as a normal mid-western boy growing up I had wanted to do my part and felt the weight of the cultural view (to a young boy) that serving your country was the expectation. And of course my love for all hero action films during the Sly Stallone era pushed that. Also, it had been brought to my attention that a local Minnesotan serving on the Navy in some nuclear fashion had stopped by my dad’s drinking establishment to be shown off by his father AND he was escorted by two Naval guards. So I could serve my country, get the Naval benefits, be pumped up with the super secret knowledge that required escorts! How sweet would that be?  Had the form letter included a briefcase to handcuff to my wrist I may have signed on then.

But I waited, life continued and I had the good fortune of interning at a Fortune 100 manufacturer in the Twin Cities in one of their R&D chemistry labs that have produced sticky things. My two years there taught me that the life of the chemicals and mixing them wasn’t for me, I dove into computer science as a second major, came up with other excuses such as: girlfriend, chain of command, cramped submarine quarters and here we are.

The bug bit again a few years back in 2004 as I was completing my tour of winemaking jobs I did for a year after I burned out of tech in 2003. I decided that graduate school in enology wasn’t for me and that the hemisphere traveling life of a young winemaker wouldn’t be the right fit for me and I wanted back into to tech. So I started looking into NSA and CSA jobs; something shook me again and I don’t have a closet full of bad ties to prove it!