Friday, January 05, 2007

Five Things You May Not Have Known About Me

Alright, I'm game (I was tagged by Nathan and Curt). Let's see...five things you may not have known about me.

I'm so mean, I once shot a man just for wait, that was someone else. Um...I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi. Dang...that was someone else too.

OK, OK...for real now. Hmmm...I'm pretty boring, actually, but I'll try.

1. Growing up, I was painfully shy. This was true all through high school and probably would have continued into college had I not met my wife, who is one of the most talkative people you will ever come across! I had to learn to get over being quiet if I ever wanted anyone to hear me ever again (although she still dominates the conversation to this day ;-) A few years ago, getting up on stage in front of a handful of people would have had me quaking in my shoes. Now, I'm totally pumped to get in front of the Lotusphere crowd. Funny how these things work.

2. I was inspired to become a "rocket scientist" (my degree is in Aerospace Engineering) by Mr. Scott from Star Trek. Seriously...I remember at the age of 6, when I faithfully watched reruns of the show, thinking that he had such a cool job. From that point forward, I never wavered from one of two choices for a career: engineer or doctor. I ended up going with engineering, with an emphasis on propulsion and spacecraft dynamics. Unfortunately, life doesn't always work out as you plan. The aerospace industry is very cyclical, and I graduated from the University of Arizona during one of the all time lows. So, my first job out of college (after 5 grueling years of study and having no fun) was working in a video rental store in Las Vegas for $5.00 an hour. Talk about a downer! I guess the only benefit of my degree at this point is that I can say "it isn't rocket science" and really know what I'm talking about. :-)

3. Besides my family, my main passion is music. I love listening to and playing music, although the playing part is pretty poor these days. I enjoy many kinds of music, but I mostly gravitate to stuff that is more technical in nature. What most people don't know is the fact that I am a die-hard metal head. This is especially surprising to people since I am pretty mild-mannered and certainly don't look the part. However, metal is in my veins. I generally can be found listening to progressive metal, due to it's complexity and depth, odd time signatures, etc., but I like almost all genres of metal. For me, the perfect night out is attending a live show. Some of my "musical stats":

Favorite Bands: Symphony X, Dream Theater, Angra, Pain of Salvation, Iron Maiden
Favorite Artist: Frank Zappa
Band seen most often: Dream Theater (7 times)
Longest distance traveled to a show: 3990 miles one way (traveled from Cleveland to Gothenburg, Sweden to see Evergrey record their first live DVD)
Cool musical memory: Attending Mozart's incredible opera "The Magic Flute" then rushing from the venue to grab a bite of pizza before seeing Mötley Crüe open the Dr. Feelgood world tour (November 16, 1989).

4. As of Christmas, my wife Maria and I have been together for half our lives...yikes! We met while working at a movie theater the summer after high school and we've been together ever since. We dated for a few years, then got engaged and finally married during my last semester of college, over spring break. We had our first kid about 15 months later, then the next two each 22 months apart. Word of advice for the younger people out there: Don't get married when you're in college. All your friends are broke, so you get shafted when it comes to gifts. Plus, they drink all your beer, then leave when it's time for the big basketball game! ;-)

5. Although there is absolutely no one famous in my family, my wife's grandfather was Fred Waller. Fred was an amazing man and I would have loved to have been able to meet him. He was the person who patented water skis (although he was thought to be the inventor for many years, he was actually beaten to this by Ralph Samuelson). He was also the inventor of the Waller Gunnery Trainer, which was one of the first simulators and is credited with saving thousands of lives in World War II. After the war, he used this technology to develop Cinerama, which in some ways was the precursor to things like IMAX. He was a prolific inventor with over a thousand patents and overall a pretty brilliant man. He also directed many of the "Negro Featurettes" that played in front of movies in the 30s, working with jazz greats like Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington. He won an Academy Award for his technical work and my father-in-law has the Oscar at his house today (I've tried to lay claim to would be soooo awesome in my movie room!). He knew Rube Goldberg and Rube once drew him a custom contraption (also something I'd love to get my mitts on!). My son is about to start working on getting Fred into the Inventor's Hall of Fame.

Well, there you go...more than you ever wanted to know. We'll return to our regularly scheduled interface stuff now. Before that, I guess we have to continue the game, so I'll tag some bloggers that are writing some cool stuff. How about Jane Griscti, William Beh and Eric Mack.


Nathan T. Freeman said...

\,,/ DREAM THEATRE!!!! \,,/

Maybe I should have included this in my list: I have a letter from Neil Peart. I wrote him when I was in middle school, and he actually wrote me back.

(For the uninitiated, Peart plays for Rush, not Dream Theatre. But Rush is a MAJOR influence on DT, and is possibly the longest practicing "progressive" act in the industry.)

Chris said...

Interestingly, I also went to U of A. Go FZ!


Patrick Kwinten said...

Hälsningar / Greetings from Sweden. It is not a shame to say you love metal-music here :)

Chris Blatnick said...

@Patrick - Indeed...and that is one of the reasons I love Sweden! Many of my favorite bands hail from your country. I've greatly enjoyed all of my trips to Stockholm and always look forward to going back. Cheers!

erlybo said...

My name is Erin. My grandfather was Stuart Waller. Fred Wallers son.
I am interested in getting to know that side of the family.