Everybody has a bucket list. Whether you actually write it down or not, we all have those things we want to accomplish or places we want to visit before we die. Well I have a new concept for you, a list of experiences I’d rather not have before I kick the bucket, and if I somehow fail to avoid every single one of these dreaded items I’m afraid I might actually drop dead prematurely. Let’s go to the list, which is in order of least to most devastating to my will to live if I relent or are subjected to the listed experience. Continue Reading
As I’ve hinted at many times before in past posts, your favorite blogger is about as single as they come. A life that’s full of fast food, sports gambling, reality TV marathons, and of course, blogging. Sure, like anyone else my age, I’ll venture to the local watering hole to interact with the fairer sex most weekends, but actually settling down for a life of honey-do lists, rom-coms, trips to the farmer’s market and all the other lame couples nonsense seems about as far off as a Viking’s Super Bowl at this point. I’m sure the time will come, like it does for most men, but right now I’ll relish the days of endless golf Saturdays and never having to make my bed. However, the single life apparently isn’t what some of the ladies out there are all about. Which brings me to why we’re here. A reader of mine has pointed out a blog that offers a fascinating look into the mind of an aging single woman who hears her biological clock ticking like the Tell Tale Heart, but only with a scarier ending: menopause! Read her piece, so you know what I’m responding to. Or don’t, I’m not going to twist your arm, because hey, nobody likes a nag, amiright?
I’m trying to blog more again for whatever reason and I’m starting a new feature on the blog I’m calling Pete Magete: Advertising Critic. You’ll get to read about all of the rants I make on a regular basis in which I yell at the TV like a crazy person who thinks the marketing professionals who make these ads can hear me on the other end. Let’s go to the tape for the first edition of this new concept.
Taco Bell hit the nail on the head with this one. If you’re a guy and can’t relate to this ad then either you’ve never had a girlfriend or your “type” is anorexic chicks. Nothing more infuriating than asking a girl if she wants anything, and she insists she doesn’t, but as soon as you’re digging in she’s asking for a bite. Her comeback will always be something like “well I’m not hungry enough for my own” or “I just want to try it”. Hey, sweetheart, I’m not poor. I can afford to buy you your own. If you only wanted a bite, bite your own and throw it away for all I care. Hell, I’ll probably eat your leftovers. But I know what they’re thinking, they don’t have the self control to stop at just a bite if I bought them their own. Ahh, the joys of being in a relationship. Alright, back to watching the All Star game and not sharing any of my food, because if you haven’t guessed it yet by now, I’m flying solo right now. Free and clear. Living the dream. Stripped to the waist, eating a brick of cheese the size of a car battery.
Life is good.
To continue capitalizing on my most popular post “Life as an Electrical Engineer”, I thought I’d give a bit more insight on what my career entails. And yes, I’m after more page views. I may consider myself the JR Smith of electrical engineers, but I’m still the Ricky Davis of blogging. Here goes nothing!
1. All your friends and family will think you’re an electrician…or some sort of electronics engineer
Every time there’s a power outage, or a TV stops working, or a car’s battery is dead, etc. someone will inevitably say, “Hey, you’re the electrical engineer! Why don’t you fix the (generic thing that runs on electricity)?” Listen folks, just because something runs on electricity, doesn’t mean that I know how to fix it. And also, I’ve never wired a house before. I can tell you what the code says you should be using for the correct wire sizes and how many receptacles should be powered by that one circuit, but I don’t have the tools or expertise to invent a generator when our utility power gets knocked out. I design circuits for pumps and fans all day, okay?
2. You use what you learned in English class far more than what you learned in math and science
Don’t get me wrong, you’ll take more than your fill of math and science courses throughout your education if you want the engineering degree. But day to day, I’m composing/reading emails from clients and fellow consultants, reading and editing specifications, and talking on the phone far more than I’m actually crunching numbers on my calculator. You need strong written and verbal skills in most jobs these days, and engineering is no exception. Honestly, algebra is the highest form of math I’ve ever used on the job, and I don’t think I’ll ever touch calculus. I’ve seen the integrals they use to calculate arc flash incident energies, and I’m thankful for the software that does those for me.
3. Everyone makes fun of Civil engineers
What exactly do they do anyhow? I learned at my first job that mechanicals and electricals like to rag on each other, but they both enjoy ganging up on the civils. I think it’s because so many of our clients were civils who thought they knew stuff about our fields and really didn’t have a clue. Now I work for a company crawling with civils. I better watch my back.
4. …But not as much as the architects
But even the civils get to join in and make fun of the architects. Unfortunately for them, we engineers don’t hold architects in as high regard as George Costanza. After all, aren’t they just art school dropouts with tilted desks and big rulers?
5. You’re the last to know
Perhaps all this teasing is rooted in something deeper than who thinks who had the toughest classes to get through back in college, but rather it’s because there is a pecking order in consulting, and unfortunately for us, electricals are at the low end of the totem pole. It goes as follows:
Architects plan the layout of the building
Civils do site work or whatever it is about the process that they design within the building (these first two may vary in order depending on the project)
Mechanicals size the pumps/fans/other stuff that carry out the process and lay them out in the building
Electricals get whatever space is left to place our panelboards/MCC’s/transformers and then design the circuits that power everything.
As you can see, each step is reliant upon the step before it, so oftentimes we’re stuck twiddling our thumbs waiting on everyone else so we can begin our design. But the architectural firms are often driving these projects as lead consultants and don’t care about details like that, they just want their deadlines met. Also, when you ask them to move a door or window so you can have some wall/floor space to place your panelboard, you can practically hear them rolling their eyes as they let out a sigh and agree to “help you out”.
6. You’ll get to travel, but you won’t be planning your next vacation to the locations
You’re going to have to make some site visits every now and then to either gather information pre design, or to inspect the implementation of your design after it’s been built. If you’re in my field, you’ll find that these plants/facilities aren’t put in glamorous locations, because let’s face it, nobody wants to live next door to the wastewater treatment plant. Even the coolest trips I’ve gone on (Fairbanks and False Pass) were neat experiences, but I wouldn’t go back on my free time.
7. It’s a rollercoaster
Construction is seasonal, at least in the climates I’ve worked in (Alaska and Minnesota), so therefore design work tends to be seasonal as well. There’s usually enough work to get you through lean times, but sometimes firms face big hiring sprees and then layoffs if the work fluctuates too much. It’s the nature of the beast, so you have to find other ways to bring in business for your company if the design jobs aren’t materializing. I personally find power studies/arc flash hazard analysis work and hazardous location studies for some of our clients to fill in the gaps.
8. You’ll begin to notice…everything
My very first day on the job, my boss took me for a walk down the street near our office. He pointed out the cabinet that contained the controller for the traffic lights. He showed me the junction boxes in the sidewalk that contained the power cabling for the street lights. Suddenly, I wanted to know where everything got its power from. I wanted to know how everything was controlled. It was as if my eyes were opened, and I could go on seeing the world in a far more vigilant way. I’ll give you an example: At my first job, I got to design airport runway and taxiway light configurations. Now every time I fly I look out the window to pay attention to the patterns of the taxiway and runway lights, comparing them to what I remembered when I had to learn the FAA’s codes and standards for airport design. It’s pretty cool…in a nerdy, engineering kind of way.
Well, there you have it. I hope you learned something.
Tired of not having enough money in your wallet? Is your bank account in need of a stimulus package of its own? Are you sick and tired of having to eek your way through life? Then allow Pete Magete Blog to provide you the map for the road to riches! Well not really. I’m no expert in high finance or playing the stock market, but I am pretty well versed at penny-pinching. Here are 9 of my tricks to save a dollar here and there.
1. Don’t drink. Don’t smoke.
This may sound preposterous to a lot of you, and you may have a hard time imagining your life without altering your mind with the use of a substance, but look at all the money to be saved. Nothing is taxed more mercilessly than booze and tobacco, so they’re guaranteed to be expensive. If you buy drinks at a bar or restaurant, the prices are jacked up even more. Then you have study after study shows that heavy drinking and use of tobacco are hazardous to your health over time, which costs a lot of money in health care costs. And finally, alcohol can lead to all kinds of trouble with the law, which always costs a lot of money. This one seems like a no-brainer, but if you really think that you have to drink for certain occasions, just go with the cheap route of “pre-gaming” before going out.
2. Don’t drink coffee.
As a non-coffee drinker, I don’t understand the appeal of coffee at all. I’ve given it at least 3 or 4 honest tries, and each time it disappoints. Since so many tell me it’s “an aquired taste” I guess this advice will be most easily taken by those who haven’t started drinking coffee yet. Don’t start! Why acquire a taste that will only leave you addicted to a substance that requires you to start every day with it, otherwise face a lethargic day? Not to mention just how expensive these joints like Starbucks are. If you think you need coffee, well, you’re kidding yourself. And if you can afford it, more power to you, but if you can’t understand why your checking account is always so dangerously low, and yet you buy a $4 (insert coffee type drink name here) 5 times a week, you should probably consider kicking the habit.
3. Drink water when eating out.
Sticking with this drinks theme thus far, this one is really simple: If you’re paying $10 for a burger and fries at your favorite greasy spoon, why pay another $2.50 for a fountain soda that cost the restaurant 8 cents? Plus they always load these things with ice, so you get even less soda, which brings me to another one of my tricks: asking for no ice. Anyhow, water is always complimentary, so I’ll keep my $2.50 and spend it on adding a second patty to my cheeseburger.
4. Avoid paying for parking if you can help it.
I think George Costanza says it best: “Parking at a garage is like going to a prostitute. Why pay for it if you can apply yourself and then maybe you can get it for free”. George may go a little far with that analogy, but I can’t help but feel dirty and ashamed after paying for parking. Sometimes you really have no choice, but you’d be surprised what you can find if you try hard enough. You just have to leave a little sooner to hunt for a spot, and be prepared for a bit of a walk.
5. Don’t pay for haircuts.
Buy a set of clippers instead. Even the best of quality clippers will pay for themselves within 2 or 3 cuts. This works much better for men, but some girls trust each other if they’re handy with a pair of scissors.
6. Change your own oil, wash your own car
If you have to pay for these services, you’re either lazy, or a woman…or possibly a lazy woman.
7. Bring your own lunch to work/school.
You’d think this one would be pretty obvious, but it amazes me how much money some people throw away by eating out everyday for lunch. Even fast food adds up pretty quick. I take it to the extreme: 2 PB&J’s a day. That’s it. According to my estimates, it only costs me about 85 cents a day. I defy you to come up with a more satisfying lunch for under a dollar.
8. Make going to the movies a special occasion
Let’s face it, Hollywood is basically a crappy movie making machine these days. 95% of what they produce I have zero interest in ever seeing, and of the rest of those movies, I realize that the experience of watching them in the theater isn’t going to add that much. So waiting for a DVD release for me to rent it, or even better yet, waiting for it to show up on cable in a year and a half isn’t that hard to swallow. If I’m really excited for that one or two movies each year, then going to the movies has become more fun, instead of something I take for granted, and that’s a lot of $12 movie tickets I don’t miss paying for.
9. Don’t spend more than you have
This one can help you more than the other 8 combined if you’re not following it. It sounds simple enough, but I’m amazed by how many Americans love the idea of getting something now, and paying for it later, whether that’s with putting too much on their credit card and only making minimum payments, or financing a car that they can barely afford, instead of buying a reasonable ride straight up. There’s a reason why there are so many credit card companies that are willing to give you ridiculous rewards for all the money you spend with them: because they’re getting rich off of you if you don’t pay off your balance each month.
Well, there you have it. Now that you’ve got a couple extra dollars lying around, you can give it to your favorite charity or somebody who needs it more than you.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – Luke 6:38
Well I’ve been blogging for a little over 6 months now, and I recently passed the 1000 mark for number of visitors to my blog. What better way to celebrate than to touch on a variety of different subjects in one my sampler platter posts?
1. Crossover Tour 2010: Serbia & Romania
In case you haven’t heard, I’m going on a mission trip to the countries of Serbia and Romania to put on youth basketball camps and play exhibition games against local pro teams. This will be my second year going on this trip, but my first time in Serbia. (Last year I went to Romania and the Czech Republic) I’m really looking forward to the fun and good work we’re going to do over there. If you want to find out more about Crossover, click here, and plus I’m linking to their website at all times under the “Ministries” category. I would appreciate any prayers for my team and me as I’m gone from July 24th to August 14th, and if you would like to get updates from me on my trip, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Crossover mailing list” in the subject line.
2. BP Oil Spill: It’s about damn time
Well, I don’t follow the news too much outside of ESPN, but I heard about the oil well being plugged, at least temporarily, and I thought that was wonderful news. I hope that situation remains under control from now on and so the clean up can continue and eventually restore the Gulf of Mexico to its previous state. This had been going on for so long, that I had become quite numb to hearing that more oil was spilling, and to finally hear that it’s over is more surreal than a relief. However, it’s nice to know that it is over, and since these things are pretty tough to contain, let’s hope they learned a lot from this so we can be more careful and not let another one happen.
3. Gopher Football 2010: I got a bad feeling
My favorite college football team’s season is just around the corner, and I think it’s going to be yet another down year for the maroon and gold. This will now be Tim Brewster’s 4th season as head coach, and so he has no excuse if his team doesn’t succeed. He’s supposedly a great recruiter, but despite good recruiting classes early on, Brewster has failed to develop any of that talent and translate their progress into marks in the win column. As a Gopher fan, I’m tired of waiting through year after year of rebuilding, but it appears that I’ll have no choice but to endure yet another. Our average-at-best defense from last year lost a lot of key guys, and Adam Weber appears to be getting worse each season, which probably will continue now that Eric Decker is gone. I would like to see the prized MarQueise Gray get a legitimate chance to start at quarterback since Weber has never developed and hasn’t exactly led us to the Rose Bowl. I’m so pessimistic about the Brewster era due to what I’ve seen so far, that I would not be surprised if we went 0-8 this year in conference play. All 4 of our home games are tough opponents, and winning on the road in the Big Ten is not easy. Since I think that result is far more likely than the team going 6-2 or 5-3, my prediction is that this will be Tim Brewster’s final season as our head coach. I don’t think that’s a good thing for our program, but I do think that that is the reality.
4. “The Boss”: R.I.P.
You may have noticed that the one sport I never seem to write on is baseball. But after the death of George Steinbrenner, I was noticing something kind of disturbing in the reactions, and I felt obligated to comment. Some fans of smaller market teams, such as the Twins, despised Steinbrenner so much out of envy and jealousy, that they actually said stupid things like that he deserved to die and that they were happy that he was dead. Not only is this completely insensitive, and taking sports too far, but it’s also completely misguided, in my opinion. All George Steinbrenner did was care enough about winning (over making money) to actually spend the money he made with his team to improve his team, and played by the rules that Major League Baseball had in place. He was a nut, and a jerk sometimes, but ultimately he brought 7 titles to his team, and if he was your owner, you wouldn’t be complaining. I don’t like the Yankees, and I think the system is screwed up that they have their advantages, but that is all the fault of the League. Plus, how could you not love this man?
5. The Gallon Challenge
Did you ever think you could drink a gallon of milk in an hour? Well it’s not that easy. Back in the summer of 2006, I made a “mockumentary” type film about trying to complete the “Gallon Challenge” with some friends at Bible camp. I don’t know how I forgot about it for so long, but I rewatched it the other day, and so now I’m posting a link to it on here under “YouTube Videos”, even though it’s actually on Google Video. If you’re bored and have 23 minutes to spare, you may want to check it out. There are a couple good puke shots at least.