About Myself

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The Pre-College Experience

OK, let's see.  Well, I was born in a small town called Fremont, Michigan.  Little-known city, but the headquarters of Gerber baby food.  One of many cities named after the "famous" John C. Fremont.  You can literally see the path this guy took going west in the 1800's by looking at all the cities named Fremont, all the way to California.  One interesting fact about this guy that I'll never forget is that he took a cannon on his "drive west."  Was this for protection against Indian attacks?  No.  His favorite hobby was to see how many buffalo he could knock down in a row with one cannon ball.  Quite the intellect, eh?   Anywho, for those of you unfamiliar with Michigan, it is the Great Lake State.   State rock is the petoski stone, state bird is the robin, state tree is the cherry tree.  And yes, it is shaped like a glove or a hand.  Legend has the forming of Michigan a couple of ways.  The native American legend is that one of their gods put his hand down upon the earth.  White-man legend is that Paul Bunyan dropped his glove.  Either way, a lot of Michiganians, when describing where they are from, use a hand to point the way.  But this is only half the story.  The hand is only the lower peninsula of Michigan.  There is an upper peninsula, also.  Just for clarification, there are 2 ways to describe people from Michigan: Michiganians or Michiganders.  I prefer Michiganians, since it makes us sound less like ducks.   Back to the peninsula thing, this gives Michiganians 2 ways to describe themselves.   People from the lower peninsula generally describe those from the upper peninsula as "youpers."  And since there is a bridge, the Mackinaw Bridge, joining the upper and lower peninsula, the youpers describe the lower peninsula population as trolls (because we live under the bridge).  I highly suggest you visit Michigan during the spring.  When the cherry trees start to blossom, it's quite beautiful.   Also, take a trip to Mackinac Island.  There are no cars allowed on the island.  You get there by ferry, and can rent a bike or horse.  While you're there, stop by Reba's to get some fudge.  This is the best fudge on the planet.

So I lived in Fremont for the first 18 years of my life.  During that time, I pretty much didn't leave the state, with one exception.  When I was 16, I got picked up as a cellist (i.e. someone who plays the cello) in the Blue Lake International Orchestra.  So, for a couple of months, I lived with host families in Austria, Hungary, France, and Germany.  I totally dig the whole European thing, at least from a tourist aspect.  There's a lot of beautiful countryside, the people are great, and if you're old enough to order a beer, you can drink the beer.  Being 16 at the time, this was way cool.  I can remember that me and my friends went to a "diskotech" and had a few beers.  When I got back to my host-family's house, my host parents asked if I had a beer, which I admitted I did.  They then proceeded to ask me if I would like a rum and Coke (which I accepted), and we played chess and talked about life while we had our drink.  But it's not just the alcohol that makes Europe memorable.  It's the other things, such as driving on the Autobahn in excess of 100mph, the smiles you get when you mention "Ich bin Amerikaner," and the fact that you pretty much don't have to speak the native language because almost everybody knows English as a second language.  And if you've never been to a European soccer match, you've GOT to go.  The rivalry is better than any football game ever played in the United States.

After high school, I went to Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, IN, to major in Computer Science.  While I was there, I joined the glorious Zeta Psi fraternity (hi to all my brother Zetes!!).  Unfortunately, I didn't study enough, got low grades, scholarships went away, and I couldn't afford to go there after the first year.  So, I went to a community college in Michigan.  While going there, the Navy recruiter contacted me and told me all about how the Navy could pay for my college, and told me about the Navy's nuclear power program which, at the time, sounded interesting to me.