Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Jack of All Trades

I’m a tinkerer with a thirst for knowledge. Some say a jack-of-all-trades, while others call me MacGyver. This writing is a list of the many thing that I have explored, tried, experimented with, and in many cases simply gave up on. It is an honest self-evaluation of my experiences rated on a scale of 1-10. Ten represents something mastered and one refers to “okay, at least I took a shot at it”, grimace.

In some cases, the scale includes “Now” and “Then”. Then, refers to when I first attempted something or became efficient, but hardly do anymore. Now, is quite obviously in the present, as in the here and now.

My belief is that much of my adaptability is owed to my grandfather and his DNA. He was an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII and was responsible for re-building bridges along the way to Paris after D-Day. Most of the things I have done are of a hands-on nature such as carpentry, electronics and mechanics. Some of it I owe to my mother who raised us in a very frugal household. At times, I was under the mindset of “why pay someone else to do the job when you can learn to do it yourself”. Well, that and I was just cheap.

Today, thanks to the onset of the internet, the wealth of knowledge out there is virtually endless. If I want to know how to do something, I just Google it. For example, if I want a certain recipe for some exotic food, I Google it. If I want to learn how to build I deck, I Google it. You get the picture.

- Photographer - Now: 10, Then: 5
Received my first camera during adolescence and have been honing my skills ever since.

- Salesman/Recruiter - 10
Working with people has always been a strong point in life. I firmly believe in treating others as you would have them treat you. As an Enlisted Recruiter for the Air Force, I was chosen as the Top recruiter for Southern California and Arizona.

- Electronics - Then: 9, Now: 6
I could rate myself as a 10, but my weak point has always been math; which is needed in order to actually Master this subject.

Today I’m a little slower reading schematics and remembering the electronic principles. Moreover, good old electronics and do-it-yourself kits and hobby materials are getting hard to find. Like photography and the darkroom, it’s a dying breed; everything is going computerized.

- Mechanic - Then: 10, Now: 4
At age 20, I became a complete gear-head by restoring a 1969 Camaro. From that experience, I aced the mechanics portion of the ASVAB and joined the Air Force as an Aerospace Ground Equipment Mechanic (AGE). This career field taught me how to fix everything from gas, diesel and turbine engines to HVAC and electronics.

Eventually I became a computer geek and once you’ve worked behind a desk making the same amount of money, it’s somewhat hard going back to busting your knuckles in the rain.

- Computers - 9
I used to be a ten during my peek. In this industry if you don’t stay at it as part of your day-to-day being, it’s easy to have to play catch up again. Nevertheless, in my heyday I could build a mean computer from scratch, wire an entire network, configure the servers and save the world. (Well, to some people it seemed I was a lifesaver at the very least).

- Carpenter, home remodeling & over all handyman - 10
One of my strongest suites, this is one of the reasons I’m called MacGyver. Most recently, I built a 12’x25’, six-foot high deck off the back of my house and a full working bar in my garage complete with wine cellar.

- Wine making - 9
I have been making wine from Oregon grapes for over two years now. I placed 2nd in the 2007 Kitsap County Wine Competition, not too shabby for a novice.

- Beer Making - 8
I make some pretty darn good Lagers and other full-bodied beers. Friends, families and co-workers always request my home-brews over anything else when their over. Of the several beer contests entered, my scores were decent, but never placed. There are some serious home-brewers out there.

- Landscaping - 8
As long as the plant-life is pre-grown, transplanting is no problem. I can sculpt a yard into anything seen fit. Just don’t ask me to lay down more than a few yards of concrete.

- Gardening - 4
Well, so much for having a green thumb. Having something grow after planting is hit-or-miss.

- Guitar - 5
Even with formal training, my fingers just aren’t nimble enough to play complex cords.

- Guitar Hero - 7.5
That’s about my peek. Although I can hold-my-own on Medium, my wife still beats me in battles.

- Writing - 9.5
I love the English language and enjoy creative writing. Even though I’ve yet to pen the great American novel, I have written several instructional guides and articles for weekly newsletters.

- Singing - Now: 3, Then: 5
Forget it. The only time you’ll here me singing is during a drunken night of karaoke or if you catch me off guard when I think I’m alone. About the only time I could ever sing was during adolescence when I had the vocal cords of the Vienna boys’ choir.

The items mentioned above are of the most notable things I’ve done in my life. I hope that you’ve found them interesting. Perhaps in future writings I will provide a few more things that have been attempted, but never followed through continuously to this day (at least those of which I remember).

After reading this, take a moment to reflect on yourself and your life’s experiences. Then visit my website and read my biography. When finished send me an e-mail with your thoughts or post your own self-evaluation on my blog.

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