What a Difference a Year Makes!

One year ago:  Nate dressed up for school in celebration of my first day on the job.

One year ago: Nate dressed up for school in celebration of my first day on the job.

Yesterday was my one-year anniversary of employment with the federal government. (Yes, of the United States.)   I guess I must be doing OK because they’ve not yet asked me to go home and leave the parking pass behind.

This job has been an unexpectedly pleasant surprise. After nearly two years of being unemployed, you’d think that any job would come as an unexpected surprise and this one was no exception at the time. That it’s remained unexpectedly pleasant for a year is really quite amazing.

The day I was hired, before driving out here to the research center where I work, I in-processed downtown at the DC offices near the Navy Yard. Without exception, everyone I encountered there told me how fortunate I was to have landed a job out here at the research center. Once I arrived on site, everyone here made me feel welcome and necessary to everything that was going on out here. It’s remarkable that such an attitude persists for very long at all but the truth is that everyone here still makes me feel that way. The real beauty of it? It seems that everyone out here gets the same treatment.

This place is overloaded with Ph.D.’s and engineers and smart people the likes of which I’ve not seen outside of academia. I am totally outclassed by pretty much everyone with whom I interact but no one has even once made me feel less than important even though I am less accomplished academically.

Sciency stuff:  The RABIT bridge deck assessment tool collects comprehensive data on surface and subsurface conditions automatically and simultaneously.

Sciency stuff: The RABIT bridge deck assessment tool collects comprehensive data on surface and subsurface conditions automatically and simultaneously.

I experienced a lot this past year. I got to photograph and briefly meet the President of the United States. I observed a small robot inspect an entire bridge structure. I watched a bunch of engineers and scientists break a bridge structure with over 300,000 lbs. of force. And a couple of spectacular car crashes NOT involving my Prius.

Anyway, why am I telling you all this? I’m grateful for having survived a year as a federal government employee. But more importantly, no one should ever disparage the entire federal workforce. There’s some serious — and I mean serious talent out here at Turner-Fairbank just as there was among my civilian colleagues within the Department of Defense.

But probably the most important and lasting thing that I’ve learned is because of my colleagues: dedicated service to your nation doesn’t have to come with a uniform.

Thanks for a great year!

“They’re All Quacks.”

I see this phrase online with alarming frequency and it really bugs the hell out of me.

Are there lousy physicians out there?  Yes. Yes, there are.  Are there lousy voiceover actors, lawyers, baristas, contractors, graphic artists and dogs out there?  Also yes. That doesn’t make them ALL bad. That’s a sweeping generalization and it really…

screen-shot-2013-08-19-at-4-27-57-pm… well, you know.

Seriously, knock that shit off. And get off my lawn while you’re at it.

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my general practitioner was extraordinarily aggressive with my treatment. And he got me off the heavy duty medications including injectable insulin within six months. He’s definitely NOT a quack. In fact, he’s one of the best doctors and diagnosticians I’ve ever worked with.

You’re in charge of your health care. If you think your doctor is a quack, for chrissakes, get another damned doctor. Besides, if you think your doctor is a quack, he probably thinks you’re an idiot. And he’s probably right.

It’s not rocket science. And speaking of science, if the American populace gave a damn about science education, less people would think that “they’re all quacks.” Less people would also be freaked out about vaccines and the Ebola outbreaks and more concerned about the flu, climate change and zombies.

Zombies are real. I’m not joking. They’re coming.

Inform yourself. Arm yourself with REAL science from REAL sources in your information gathering. Never rely solely on information from someone who’s trying to sell you something.  And above all, think critically. Remember arsenic and mercury are both deadly AND natural, therefore “natural” isn’t always better.

It’s a collaboration and you have to do your part, too.


Knock off the Hitler Comparisons

Ok, I’ve had about enough of this kind of rhetorical bullshit to last me the rest of my miserable lifetime. Cut it out. Knock it off. Right effin’ now. I mean it.

There are no American politicians who are bad enough to make any comparison with Adolph Hitler even remotely approach validity.

It’s really this simple:

Hitler Any US Politician

Killed 6,000,000 Jews


Conducted Human Medical Experiments



You get the idea.

Now talk about something meaningful or shut the hell up.


One last note…

I always see Fred Quillen’s name in the credits of the big live shows like tonight’s Emmys and the Oscars.  He runs the recording/playback devices that play the prerecorded clips for these shows.  I had the privilege of working with Fred many moons ago, though I doubt he’d even remember me.  He helped train me on how to be a serious videotape operator when I worked for ABC and Vin DiBona Productions on “America’s Funniest Videos” and a couple of other shows.  Always good to see his name in the closing credits.  Well done, Fred, as always!