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I Enjoy Being a Nerd

Someday, in the tradition of Weird Al, I should write this song. However, that is not why I am here tonight. I was thinking about three of the movies that have inspired me the most, and I realized they all dealt with engineering, science, and careers. In order of inspiration:

1. Apollo 13. Where to start? Ah, yes. The scene where Gene Kranz (played by Ed Harris) throws all those materials onto the table and challenges the engineers to make a new CO2 filter. And they do it! It symbolizes the contributions that engineers at their best can make to society. Every time I see it, I almost want to be an engineer again. And it’s a true story.
2. October Sky. Another true story about rocket science. Boy gets out of poverty-stricken mining town by creating a...Science Project. No athletic shoes required. Added bonus: things blow up, but no one gets hurt.
3. Office Space. OK, this one is not literally true. And it’s a goofy comedy. However, it expresses the feelings I had in my little cubicle better than words can say. At the end, our hero is doing hands-on work that actually makes a difference, instead of being bored witless in a cube with no sense of contribution. I can’t say that everyone who works in a cubicle has no sense of contribution. I only know that I personally need concrete evidence that I make a difference. Added bonus: evil fax machine is destroyed.

So if you are reading this, what movies have inspired you? Or what has inspired you instead of a movie?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 20th, 2003 08:00 pm (UTC)
Remember that crap when we were in school about me and medical school - well I wasn't being honest with myself. Since age 11, I had wanted to be a rocket scientist. Needless to say, those first two movies are favorites of mine.

That job in Sunnyvale, CA: rocket scientist baby! It was fun. Too bad the cost of living drove me to give it up.

I'm a natural born nerd too. Now, I revel in it. Now I make fun of those insurance salemen/realtor guys who have all the money now - I give them a hard time about being so dumb when it comes to there VCRs and computers. I offer to come fix everything in there homes for money. Sometimes I actually do it but I don't charge money. They are appropriately deferential to me now. Ha!

I love being master of the technology that defines our society now. And guess what?

My job now involves designing an image processing computer. Nerd city! Damn - it's good to be smart isn't it?
Jul. 20th, 2003 09:34 pm (UTC)
I am so thrilled that someone I know is a rocket scientist! It was one of my girlhood dreams. However, I think I am more aptly suited to my present career. We've always been so proud of you!
Jul. 22nd, 2003 11:19 am (UTC)
I *heart* Office Space!! I have had the deadly cubicle job (working as basically a paper-shoving accounting monkey for a phone company.. yeah right that job needed an engineer.. pshaw), then worked for a week on a short contract putting together rackmount servers. I enjoyed the serverbuilding MUCH more. Now, I do work in a cube, but I also get to do hands-on stuff and can see a concrete result of much of my work. It helps to work in a department that is "product-driven". Basically we come up with as many "products" (training classes, safety programs, etc.) as we can to justify our existence and show that we AREN'T just overhead, like so many companies think their Safety depts. are.

Oh, and on the rocket scientist thing.. I met a woman at a Society of Women Engineers conference who was on the team that originated the space shuttle. THAT was a good story. :)
Jul. 22nd, 2003 11:46 am (UTC)
This is the icon I made for when I am feeling Office Spacey.

You met a woman who worked on the Space Shuttle?--of course, you do live in Houston :)
Jul. 22nd, 2003 12:48 pm (UTC)
Hehehe, cute icon! :)

I met her at a conference in Austin.. she actually used to work for JPL in CA, and the project was pitched on April Fool's day. She received a memo to go to a floor that "didn't exist." She met up with some other people there and they all thought it was a joke, and then the project leader came in and told them that they were going to make a craft that would take off like a rocket, land like a plane, and would be reusable. They STILL thought it was a joke. I thought it was a good story, and of course she told it much better!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )