10 Things You Didn't Know About DiscoverWithAndy
Learn a little bit more about the guy behind Discover With Andy
Ugh, the difficulties with talking about one's self! Is there anyone out there that is truly comfortable with it?? Well I'm definitely someone that is not all that comfortable with it, so rather than just a narrative rambling on and on about myself, I thought I'd make a list. After all, even if I don't like talking about myself, I have been busy with my life and have done some things in my 30 years. So hopefully it won't be too hard to list out some specifics :)
As you can gather from my username, my real name is Andy. I was born and raised in the very underrated city of Milwaukee, WI. I still live in Milwaukee now and still think it's a great city - in fact it's the best city I've ever been to in the USA, and the only cities I've been to outside of the US that I've thought were better were Rome and Capetown, though I might be a little biased ;)
Well I hope you enjoy taking a look at this lens about moi and if nothing else find it a little interesting :)
I Love to Travel! - The Best Pic I Took of CapeTown, SA
Okay, this one might be obvious with my other lenses and my username, etc. But still, it is a huge part of my life and I definitely need to add it to the list. The first time I went out of the country was to Montreal to test the French I was learning in High School, but the trip that really sparked my travel bug was going to Italy during my senior year in High School in 1999.
I'm a Big Fan of Martial Arts.
I don't really know how it happened since I didn't start any until half-way through High School, but since then I've been in Capoeira, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. There is so much camaraderie in them, and I also appreciate that the people that find there way to them are often not the typical bone-headed ex-jocks. This is especially true with Capoeira. I don't think I've done anything in my life that was better for my mind, body and soul all at once. Capoeira is a wonderful sport (really it's more art and sport than martial art, but it can compliment the more "serious" martial arts wonderfully) and can be done by anyone, and people often practice it into their 60's and later.
Photo by fingle on Flickr
I'm a Cat Man
What can I say, I prefer cats. Sure, I like dogs too - they're good to visit but owning one is a whole different story - but for me, cats are where it's at. Part of that is cause of my lifestyle: my job keeps me very busy and on completely unscheduled hours. If I had a dog, it would be left at home for very long periods of time, and that just wouldn't be good for it. And I like to take random trips on the weekend to fun, small towns or out camping, and with a cat it's no problem to just let them stay at home for the weekend with no supervision. With a dog? Not so much.
I Repair Linear Accelerators
Yup, that's my day job. Repairing and maintaining medical linear accelerators.
"So, what all does that entail?", you might be wondering? Well, good question! It's a huge mix of electronics, mechanical, and computer knowledge. I went to school and got my A.A.S in Biomedical Electronics Technology, and from there I worked my way up the ladder to the biggest, most complex machines in hospitals. Many people that do this job have a BS or even MS in engineering, so I did go back to school for a while and know have more knowledge than I'd care to share about calculus, physics and chemistry. I ended up getting the job I was looking for well before I was finished with the degree though, so I thought "no point in spending another $80,000 when I already have the job I want" and decided to hold-off on getting my BS till a later date.
In case you're wondering, yes medical linear accelerators are very similar to what you think of when you hear the term "linear accelerator". They are essentially the same thing as the big atom smashers you here about that are going to create black holes in the mountains under Switzerland and destroy us all!!OMG! ...only much smaller. "How much smaller?" you ask? Well, the big ones are around 3 miles (5km) long. The medical type are about 6ft (1.8m) long at the longest, and our weigh only about 22,000lbs for the whole machine. I have no idea how much the big ones way, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's more like 22,000tons.
So anyways, I don't want to get into the nitty-gritty of it, but basically it's a high-energy radiation producing machine that shoots radiation into tumors, and not into anything surrounding the tumor. This way the tumor is destroyed by the radiation, but nothing else is damaged, and the end result is hopefully that the patient will be rid of their cancer.
Photo by schnaars on Flickr
I Love to Camp! - Even in the cold Wisconsin winters...
Yes, it's true. I love animals and nature. I'm a tree-hugger, both literally and figuratively. And one of the ways I get my nature fix is by camping. I don't know what it is about camping, but I just feel more alive while I'm doing it. Whether it's waking up early to hike to a lookout and see the valleys and lakes still covered in morning mist, having plenty of (mis)adventures of hiking, kayaking and biking, cooking hearty and delicious meals with family and friends, sitting under a shade tree to play cards or read a book, or staying up late with the guys and having one beer too many, it all is better while camping. And who could say no to the glory that is the roaring campfire?
Winter camping is a completely different animal though, and something I could make an entirely separate lens about. It's definitely not the normal kind of fun you have while camping. It's more about enjoying the fact that you were able to do it. You get a deep sense of satisfaction afterward, similar to the kind of "fun" a person has by tackling sanding and refinishing their wooden floors on their own, or putting new cabinets in the kitchen. Sure it's difficult while you're doing it, but in the end you feel a real sense of accomplishment. It also does have it's own real fun too, like snowshoeing and skiing, not to mention the quiet solitude you can only get in the woods when it's -10 degrees outside. That kind of quiet, reflective environment beats the tranquility you'd get at any spa, and it is there for you to enjoy it - if you're willing ;)
I Was Once Hit in the Head With a Lawn Jart
Yup, that's right. Smacked right in the noggin with one of the old-school steel jarts. Sure, they're not "sharp" on the end like the way a knife is sharp, but here's how it went down:
My brother and cousin were playing jarts for real, but got bored with it. So they started simply seeing who could throw the jarts the highest. They were a good distance away from everyone else so no one was too concerned, but suddenly (and right while one of the jarts was at its highest) a huge gust of wind blew the jart WAY off course, and smack into my noodle.
As you can image, I was immediately aware that something had hit my head, but I had no idea what. I was convinced that a bird had just taken a giant dump on my head - especially since I could tell that there was something goopy in my hair. As an eight year old, this was a potentially very embarrassing situation. Thank goodness it was only blood and skull-chips; I mean, could you imagine if it was bird poop? Gross...
Photo courtesy of im.no.hero on Flickr>
An Apple a Day...
I have to admit, I am not a long-time Apple fan. I'm not someone that was with them in the beginning, or through the rough times. Not that I was against them either - my family simply didn't have a lot of money while I was growing up, so when we finally did get a computer it was a pretty inexpensive model.
But after my brother and a few friends and other relatives got Macs and I was able to play around with them a little, I finally made the leap and gave up my Windows altogether. And I haven't looked back.
After close to a year of ownership, the thing still looks and works like it's brand new. Hands-down, the best computer I've ever owned.
I got the 13" Macbook Pro for a few specific reasons:
- 13" screen doesn't suck as much power as the larger models, so the battery life is GREAT with this laptop. It easily beats my work laptop, even though that one has two batteries in it.
- Back-lit keyboard. I didn't think it would be that great of a feature, but after using a friends while everyone else was watching a TV program I wasn't interested in and seeing how much the back-lighting helped, I became convinced.
- It's upgradable. This might not be as relevant to a lot of other people, but I like to buy things that last a long time. I'm expecting to have this laptop for 5-6 years, so the ability to add a little more ram or change the harddrive was a big plus for me.
I've Only Lived in Milwaukee, WI
Strange With How Much I Travel...
You're probably thinking "who would choose to live in Milwaukee???" and I can't blame you for that at all. You see, I know Milwaukee is an awesome city, but I also know that we are - as a collective - HORRIBLE at getting the word out that Milwaukee is amazing.
It really is a great place though: It is known as the City of Festivals, cause we really know how to appreciate the summer when it finally comes. There is a HUGE craft/locally grown/made movement here, with awesome groups such as Victory Garden, Growing Power, and Urban Ecology Center.
In addition, there's the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Brewers (I don't even like baseball, but I love Brewers games. There's something magical about tailgaiting in Miller Park), the Lakefront, amazing restaurants, and plenty of craft beers. Who would want to leave?
Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr
I Love FOOD!
I love cooking food, I love eating food, I love talking about food, and I even like doing all three of those at the same time. 'Nuff said ;)
Photo by ketchup soup on Flickr
I'm Going Green
More and more, my lovely girlfriend Becki and I are getting involved in urban homesteading. It's been a pretty gradual process, but last year we had our own community garden plot, and got so much food from it that we made our own salsa, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes (we really had a lot of tomatoes!), pickles and a few other things and canned them all.
We're also making our own cleaners and laundry detergent, doing lots of woodwork and crafting, and learning more about keeping bees and chickens. We also want to start composting soon :)
We don't buy a lot of products, but when we do we're trying to buy Earth-friendly products: things that come from natural, preferably renewable resources that don't have much packaging. It's fun to watch the amount of garbage we create go down and down.