Sunday, December 26, 2010

Don't Call It a Comeback

Well after a very long and boring absence from the blog, I have been itching to find something good to write about to try to revive the action. There were a few decent topics that might have stoked some interest, but honestly I just didn't prioritize writing a blog high enough on my "free-time" list. But with all the free time pondering that comes with the holidays/Jessi being out of town, I've decided that I am going to try to start posting more often to help inspire everyone else to bring back the glory days. Hopefully my posts will have some sustenance, but I'm sure some of the posts will be boring and will likely fetch some stupid comments from Prime.

My Current Career Debate

After working full time for a little over 2.5 years now, my career is getting close to shifting from being a peon to actually getting into developmental/leadership type positions. I am currently in my second position with the company (basically same exact role as my first job, just in a different part of the plant). These lateral moves are almost always the norm just to get young engineers a broader experience before making the next step. Typically the 3rd/4th position that an employee gets into (in the 3.5-5 year time frame) is the first step in developing them into their given career path. For my company, as I might have discussed with any of you at some given time, there are two dominant career "paths." Those paths are "management" and "technical."

The best way to describe these paths on a high level is: technical is everything that involves actual engineering/research/technical work; management is everything else (supervisors, HQ positions, managers, etc.). Almost every position in the company is filled by an engineer, so the qualifications (if you will) for a given path have nothing to do with degree. The only thing that is actually beneficial is to have an advanced degree if you go into a research-oriented technical role.

My current dilemma is which path I want to take.

The difference of the two paths is probably exactly what you can imagine. The "technical" path tends to be more laid back/low stress work which is more behind the scenes. Said path uses their degree and engineering knowledge everyday and their performance is directly related to the results of the work they produce. With that being said, you have to be able to persuade people to actually listen to you as the technical employee, because frankly it is going to be someone else's ass on the line.

The "managerial" path is responsible for making the tough decisions, developing employees, being PC, making good impressions, etc. With these things, the jobs tend to be more stressful. It is worth noting that the "business" positions in the company tend to be filled my the management path people. These employees will use their technical background (school and entry level positions) to sort through any BS that people try to throw at them, but that is about all it is utilized for. These positions tend to be less about what you actually do (results) and more about how you do them (appearance). That doesn't mean you can get by with never making the company money; it just isn't as black and white as technical (which still has its own gray areas).

Hopefully that is just enough information to illustrate my dilemma. If you know me as well as you all do, you should know my strengths/weaknesses as my personality is quite similar at work as it is outside of it. I would say that I am extremely strong technically, specifically around problem solving. I enjoy figuring things out and using my degree in everyday work. All of these things would point to technical. On the flip side, I really enjoy making decisions and hate to have someone make a decision that I don't agree with. I like being a high value employee and enjoy making the biggest impact on an organization as possible. There is also a part of my ego that grab holds and wants me to be the biggest and the best around. This was actually the thing in the past that drove me mostly towards management.

BUTTTT, that part of my personality has been fading lately. I still tend to be competitive, but I am less tolerant of going through some of the BS at work (that is a part of ANY company) than I used to be. There are many days where I think that I would want nothing more than to be out of the spotlight, working a nice 7-5 work day with a steady schedule and low stress. There are very important and influential positions in the "technical" path that I could still get to, but they are few and far between and take an entire career to get to. The other part of the decision is salary. Obviously, the management path has a higher $$ potential (and faster growth). But honestly, I am pretty comfortable now and could be more comfortable in the future if I ever get married.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that it is possible to switch ladders after you have selected (and advanced up) one of the ladders. It is much more difficult to switch from technical to management then the opposite. Also, the salary you have when you switch ladders usually with you, which means there are advantages to staying management until you are sure of what you want.

Just curious as to what you all think. This was more of a dump of text (TLDR) to get me back into the habit of blogging versus something to actual get a lot of comments from. There could be some decent discussion from this, but we will see. For now I'm just glad to be back.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy B-Day Pex

From the entire Team Initial family <3

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Whos ready to go back???? (not this guy)

Monday, September 13, 2010

DJ Shadow Free Songs, next ~13hrs

Got an email from the DJ Shadow e-mailing list. Apparently has 2 new songs from an album to be released next year free on his website for 24hrs (from when I got the email). Likely to still be up from 13hr (?) from now.

I doubt anyone checks this regularly enough to catch it in time. Additionally, I have no idea if these songs are good or not as I have not heard them. All you have to do is enter your email to DL. It has to be a legit (or checkable) email because they send the link to it. They will automatically add you to the email list, which you can unsubscribe too after the DL is complete.

Anyway, enough dilly dally.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So Boon

not sure if anyone even checks the blog anymore but has Boon heard anything on wob's bachelor party? i talked with him briefly in NC but it did not seem like he was too sure on what was up. he pretty much went i think we're going to do vegas and maybe sometime in sept. I'm guessing it would be more of matt planning it but did you hear anything? the early i know the earlier i can request those days off and start shopping around for tickets/rooms. where the hell are we gonna stay? etc. whats boon say?

Friday, June 11, 2010

world cup question

ok so this question pertains to game 1 - mexico vs south africa. i was watching on dvr and mexico had a corner kick. the kick went to about the pk mark and the goalie came out to punch it away. instead, a mexican guy headed it before the keeper could get to it. the ball then went directly to another mexican guy who just tapped it in. however, the goal didn't count b/c they called him offsides. the commentator was saying that it was a horrible call b/c there was a south african defender on the goal line, which there was.

my question: wasn't that the right call? isn't offsides defined as the last TWO defenders? not one? People always forget about the goalie. but since the goalie ran to punch the ball away, there was only 1 defender behind the mexican who scored. this means he was offsides, right? or did i play soccer for 20 years and not know the most common rule?

Friday, June 4, 2010

World Cup Picks

IDK about you guys, but all of these injuries truly have me sweating my WC picks. I've ended up with some really risky calls that will prove to be all or nothing.

btw, I'll be coming home for an extended period over July 4th holiday and BP oil spill pt.2 is in the works

Friday, May 21, 2010

does anyone still watch lost?

I am PUMPED for the finale.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Life and Times of an Intellectual

So I've been pretty busy with rotations...even though I haven't made posts or comments, I of course have been reading the blog. I was working in the ER for the past month working from 11 AM to 11 PM, which needless to say sucked because all I did was work and sleep. Being the small town that it is, I didnt see anything too interesting, although there was a little bit of excitement. Got to stitch plenty of people up which is kinda fun, other than that there was one code which was also kinda fun. Basically an 86 year old lady was brought into the ER feeling weak. We put her on a bed and while asking her questions she went unconscious. She stopped breathing and had no pulse, but she still had a rhythm on the heart monitor. This is called pulseless electrical activity, where the heart is beating but not in a way to pump blood through the body, so it requires CPR. The thing is the doctor working that night is kind of an idiot and was arguing the fact that the person was not in PEA, because the heart rhythm looked normal. By definition PEA can be any rhythm, there just isnt a pulse. Long story short this guy waits like 10 minutes and the lady eventually decompensates into a heart rhythm that requires shocking (get the paddles, "clear" etc.). So after that I start CPR and immediately feel multiple cracks as I break a few of her ribs, "if you dont break ribs you arent doing it right." Anyway, the lady ended up dying after doing cpr and stuff for about 45 minutes. I honestly think if I were in charge she may have lived, oh well.

On a different note, one day I was buying dinner with my debit card and it was declined. I knew I had money in my account so I was confused. I came home and found that my account had been hacked and google ads had spent like $1500 from my account. My bank was able to reimburse the money eventually, but still it was a hassle. I havent really watched porn since I started dating my girlfriend about 6 months ago, so I dont think that is the culprit. I think I probably got some kind of keylogger virus from one of the sites I download movies from. Just to be safe I reformatted with a downloaded copy of windows 7 ultimate. Ironic? Hope not.

As far as my current situation, I'm finally out of the small town of Petersburg that I'd been living in for almost a year. I'm in Wheeling, WV for a month doing an anesthesia rotation. Its far better but still this will hopefully be the last time I'll have to work in WV. Next month I'll be back in Va beach for 6 weeks working with boski's doctor. Thanks bosk. Been living with my girlfriend for like 3 months as well. Trying to set things up so we work in the same area.

A couple of things about the healthcare system that I thought were pertinent and kinda funny that I read on a medical blog I frequent at times (
Neighbor: These allergies are killing me
Happy: That's terrible. I hope you feel better
Neighbor: I tried Zyrtec but it wasn't doing anything for me. So my doctor prescribed xxxxxx (in audible drug name )
Happy: Does it start with an X
the drugs name is Xyzal
Neighbor: Yes it does.
Happy: Oh, that drug (Xyzal) is nothing more than Zyrtec that the company slightly changed the formula and now they get to sell it as a patented medication at ten times the price for the next ten years
Neighbor: Oh, I didn't know that. But you're right. It was $110.
Happy: Did it help you with your allergies?
Neighbor: Nope.
Happy: I guess you just wasted $100
Neighbor. I didn't waste anything. My insurance company paid for it
Happy: Actually, we all paid for it with higher premiums
Neighbor: walks away.

You see it all the time. With Obama's healthcare plan, medicaid will be one of the primary ways that doctors get paid, as those who cant afford private healthcare get it paid for by the government. Of course the government doesnt compensate as well, and therefore doctors have little incentive to accept these patients other than out of the kindness of their heart.
" I make $1 on every Medicaid patient I see in the clinic. If I see four Medicaid patients an hour, I make $4 an hour. I don't work for $4 an hour."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Thoughts on the BP Oil Spill Pt.1

Instead of posting a small bit on the BP oil spill in response to Boon's previous post, I figured I would post a little more on my take on the overall event. Although this sounds stupid to say, any of the things that I post on this blog are my thoughts and not that of my company. Additionally, my knowledge of "upstream" (which is exploring for new oil/natural gas wells and producing from those wells) is very narrow, so I cannot give any sort of in depth analysis on how things work, etc.

So, where do I begin. Just to start, I think that what is going on in the Gulf is a very bad situation. On the scale of 0 to 10 in terms of what the consequences of the event are, I'd put it at an 8. The consequences of the event are 11 dead (worst offshore incident in U.S. history) and a large environmental impact that will cost billions of dollars in the end to recover from. The worst offshore disaster ever was the Piper Alpha incident, which killed 167 people and had a total economic impact of $3.4 billion. A ~30 minute video recaping the Piper Alpha event can be watched via YouTube (I recommend watching).

In terms of BP, this isn't the first tarnish on their record. Although I do not remember this when it occurred, they had an explosion at their Texas City refinery in 2005 that killed 15 people and injured 170 more. A video (quite long) covering the investigation to this incident can be viewed on the link below. This is an hour long, but I feel this is one of the best videos that give insight into how much risk this business takes; it also how important the proper operation of safety critical devices are. This event is the most infamous internal to the petrochemical world and has lead to significant changes to the current U.S. petrochemical regulations.

The reason I posted these videos (if you watched them or not) is to highlight that it typically takes multiple failures on physical equipment, engineering, and organizational levels to result in a very severe event as the videos listed above and the current BP incident in the gulf. This is a very big thing to understand because of how society currently thinks. The current society thinks there is one thing/person/company to blame and that all it takes is more oversight to make things better.

So what I am I getting at with all this rambling and video posting? 1) This event is a very significant event and will likely re-shape the offshore oil industry in the U.S. from now into the future. 2) This likely wasn't one thing that failed. It will be a combination of multiple things, potentially including some type of organizational or management problem (work systems). But realistically, until an OFFICIAL investigation is performed, we won't know the true cause of the incident. I don't trust a 30 day investigation that will be put together for the government to sit on Capitol Hill and tell the U.S. why this happened. 3) This industry is extremely dangerous and the consequences of a single event are huge.

I actually am going to dip out for now because this took longer than expected, but I will continue posting my thoughts tomorrow. This was more of a ramble post, but it gets the discussion going.

Friday, May 7, 2010

what's term say

about the BP oil spill?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


So I just paid off my car and i'm a little interested in looking into buying an SUV. The little civic is too small for me. Any input on ones you like or what you've heard that's had good reviews would be appreciated.

I tend to like the nicer ones, which I can't really afford brand new (range rover, navigator, tahoe). Any suggestions on nice, but not top of the line?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Moment of Silence

I would just like to use this time to take a moment of silence in remembrance of the Grand Outlet Furniture store. This store provided the jumpstart to many a great career, notably a current Exxon employee and a current Medical Schooler, among many others. It shall be missed, I hope current Grand Facilities Manager Mr Boski will be able to enlighten us with details soon....

On another note, was curious to see what people thought (mainly Pex) about Healthcare. Any affect on your possible salary when you finish up med school? (I know nothing about it so that may be a dumb question)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm Alive

Just figured I'd make a little post since I haven't done so in a long time. I don't have anything too interesting to write about so I'll stick to what I know, myself.

Right now I'm living in Frederick, MD for a month doing my obstetrics/gynecology rotation...delivering babies and looking at vaginas...too many vaginas...hairy, unkempt vaginas. The gynecology aspect sucks, I have no interest in doing female physicals. The OB aspect is ok, I get to help with c-sections and deliver babies. Just started Monday so I havent done too much yet, I have sutured up some stomachs after a few c-sections today though. I still wanna do anesthesia. In the process of getting some anesthesia rotations currently.

On that note, I kind of have a dilemma. I've been dating my girlfriend for about 5 months now. We both live in Petersburg, WV for now (except this month when I'm in MD), but in the next couple months we start traveling around to different areas for 4th year rotations. Basically you wanna do rotations at places that have residency programs for your specialty so that they get to know you and possibly write you a letter of recommendation. Long story short, we will probably end up at different places for months at a time, then get accepted into residencies far apart. So you get the picture. Also there aren't any residency programs for anesthesia back home so if I do get accepted I'll be away for 4 more years =(.

I could go on, but I'm done taking my dump now.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Have you guys been watching this year? God I love that show.

Who do you root for? I'm a huge villians fan. Russell, Coach, Boston Rob, and Tyson are all great.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Are we going to get any updates on how the weekend in Houston went Prime? In other news, I have interviews with both E-trade and Freddie Mac coming up. I'm sick off all my travel so I'm looking for a job that is local only. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's finalized

VT vs Boise State September 6th (labor day) at Fed Ex field. Just an FYI, BSU will probably be pre-season top 5 next year and VT should be top 10. I don't know how, but Langman asked me a few weeks back if I wanted a ticket and he hooked it up. But given that FedEx is like 95k capacity, I don't foresee it being hard to find tickets.

So can I get a roll call? Term? Prime? Pex? Bosk? Bagger????????

We can have a big gay sleepover at my place.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

prime timeeeee

question for you. but the reason i'm posting on here is b/c everyone will probably chuckle. anyways, i am filling out this background check and i have to pull dates from 7 years back. i couldn't remember where i lived in college (1452 seneca dr apt 1D anyone???) so i sent buckets a text asking him. he responds like 2 days later with "yeah, 1444 fuck off lane".

hahaha, prime any insights? if he was trying to be funny its not, but if he was being serious, then it's definitely funny.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Some of you may appreciate this more than others, but I was on listening to some music and came across Brett's old band. Then I googled him to see if he was still in a band or not. Anyways, the first thing that popped up was this:

Make sure you check out the "view photos" under his profile picture. Good stuff....

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Boski's Futsal Drama (and it hasn't even started)

So as one of my chanukah presents the wifey decided to sign me up for Futsal through the JCC. You have no idea how stoked I was when I got this gift as in the past when I bring up playing soccer again she is always very anti. So you can either sign up as an individual (what I did) or as a team. The season was supposed to start on the 24th. I get a voicemail yesterday from the director of all programs saying she wanted to talk to me about some "details". So I give her a ring. At first she says the season has been pushed back a week (no reason why) but I was cool with that as I hopefully can try to get in some better shape. So she says "i'm trying to put you on a team what would you say your competitive level is?" now i'm really assuming she is asking for my skill level. And i say "well last time I touched a ball competitively was about 7 years ago, but during that time I was pretty much playing in some form everyday, I've played select, coached, did men's league, played co-ed, about 10 years ago I played futsal so I've played alot but I'm sure I'm rusty" then she goes "no I mean how competitive are you? would you say you are a competitive person? do you just want to have fun or do you want to win?" i was like
uuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh. I mean wtf do you say to that. I was like "well I want to have fun, but I always think that when you win you have fun, so I want to win" she goes OK I think I have a team for you i'll give the captain a call and see if she is OK with it.

So this is the email I get from this "Captain":

Hi Steve,

Vanessa Salasky at the JCC gave me your email address. I may need one more male player (I’m waiting on an answer from a “maybe”). Could you please let me know a little about yourself?


Level of experience? (Please indicate one of the following - College Varsity, College Club, Grade School Level Select/Travel/Club, High School Varsity, Recreational only)

Preferred position?

Can you play goal? And to what degree of proficiency?

A little about our team – we’re comprised of 20-somethings (and one 32-year old). All of our players are experienced and have at minimum played high school varsity and most either did or could have played at the collegiate level. Everyone is nice and we get along great, however, we’re pretty competitive. We finished 3rd out of 12 teams last season and only lost to the eventual winner and the 2nd place team by 1 point each.

I’m only asking about your skill level because I know my team, and if they don’t feel as though a new player’s skill level is up to par they may get frustrated, sub him/her out without giving the new person ample time on the court, or simply not pass the ball to them because they don’t trust him/her to do something productive with it. I apologize if this comes off as us being a soccer snobs, that certainly isn’t my intent, but I don’t want to put anyone in a bad position. You’re welcome to give me a call if you prefer and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

OK what the fuck is this shit? I mean seriously? Its fucking co-ed Futsal. Not the EPL. I call the head girl. She apologized and said you are probably better then most of them, I said well this being my first season back I guess I'd like to play on a more fun team if thats possible and she said yea that was fine. She really made it seem like the thing to do is to have a team as I guess most peeps don't sign up "rouge".

Some of this post was copy and pasted from email exchanges from myslef and Prime, who got a real kick out of the letter.