They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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Looking Back: A Reflective Meme Part II

The current 10-year meme on LJ...

Unlike the "years meme" in February 2009, doing the years with "the ones" seems to hit all the low spots between the big years. (grin) Have to do much backfilling and foreshadowing. (double-grin)

March 2011
Age 52. Still living in West Michigan in a house which is almost 18 years old. Mrs. Dr. Phil and I have been married for 27 years. We are down to two 18 years old cats -- Sam is a ridiculously healthy diabetic cat and Blue is very skinny but still full of it. I'm in my 57th semester of teaching Physics, still at Western Michigan University. I have been submitting my SF writing to markets for nine years now and have fourteen SF short stories published, including two SFWA-eligible stories in WOTF-XXIV and Analog, plus another story to be published Real Soon Now. I have two completed novels I need to edit and send out again. I've had one short story on a movie option. And I've had a professional website at for three years. My LiveJournal and Facebook friends have been greatly expanded by going to Clarion in 2004 and WOTF in 2008, as well as several Midwest SF cons, plus my membership in an "outlaw" group (or maybe it's just an "outlier" group) called the UCF. (grin) And after years of neglect, I have upgraded my Nikon cameras to a Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n digital. NASA Space Shuttle Discovery has just landed from its last flight.

March 2001
Age 42. We are six months from 9/11 and not worrying about terrorists, airplanes or falling skyscrapers. Still in West Michigan. I am comfortably settled into our eight year old house, with Mrs. Dr. Phil and our three cats (Bagel, Blue and Sam). Mrs. Dr. Phil is a librarian at GVSU, and I teach Physics part-time at WMU. It will be more than a year before I get around to sending any of my writing out into the wild -- but I have around two million words written already. In two years we will leap at a chance to travel abroad to Helsinki. It's still a year before I put up my first webpage at WMU and worry about how few students have home Internet access. On 21 March 2001 the Soviet/Russian space station Mir is deorbited and disposed of. In two years NASA Space Shuttle Columbia will break up on re-entry during STS-107.

March 1991
Age 32. Still in the U.P., but not for much longer. It's almost two years since I got my Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Michigan Tech -- and the Physics job market is extremely sparse. I'm traveling to various APS, AAPT and ACS meetings, including the big APS March Meeting, but there are no nibbles for anyone. After seven and a half years, Mrs. Dr. Phil will take a job this summer at Grand Valley State University, we will rent a brand new duplex in Allendale from the man who will eventually build the house we will buy, and a year from now I'll start teaching part-time at Western Michigan University. But for now I am (mostly) unemployed, doing some odd teaching here and there for the Physics Dept., MTU's summer programs and some outreach for Engineering in the local Keweenaw Bay Indian tribe schools. We had inherited three cats from Mrs. Dr. Phil's mom, but Bag, Herbie and Duck all got old and are gone. I've been writing SF stories seriously for six months now using Microsoft Word 4.0/5.0 on one of the last original IBM Personal Computers, but it will be more than a decade before I let anyone read any of it. I've borrowed laptops from work before, but we were able to buy a Zenith MinisPort ZL-2 compact laptop on closeout for $299 -- now I could write "anywhere". It used a unique 2" 720K floppy disk. Next year NASA Space Shuttle OV-105, Endeavour, the replacement for Challenger, will make its first flight.

March 1981
Age 22. Living above a Chinese take-out and an insurance agency across the street from the Linden Avenue EL stop at the end of the Evanston CTA line in Wilmette IL. Graduated from Northwestern University a year ago with a degree in Integrated Sciences (everything). Currently working on some more Physics classes at NU, working as a relief driver for home delivery of the Chicago Tribunes in Evanston IL, and doing some odd writing and photography. In ten years I have gone from Instamatic camera to a Pentax Spotmatic, a Pentax ES, a Nikon F2/F2SB, a Nikkormat EL-W, a Nikon FE with a motor drive, to finally a pair of Nikon F3 cameras. In two months I will take a job at the Northwestern University Library, and after my first day of work, I shall never shave again. The future Mrs. Dr. Phil is a casual acquaintance at this point, but she also works in NUL. Our first "date" will be to see Conan The Barbarian. There is no Facebook, no LiveJournal, no Internet, no PCs. An Apple ][ will likely cost you some $3000 and I don't know anyone who has one. Next month NASA Space Shuttle OV-102, Columbia, will fly into space on mission STS-1.

March 1971
Age 12. Living in White Plains NY, going to Highlands Junior High School in the seventh grade. My sister is a sophomore at White Plains High School. We have a wonderful red dachshund named Nikki. Besides being a total geek, I am into model railroading (AT&SF) and railfanning. My photography uses my sister's old Kodak Instamatic 104. Next summer, a year after Amtrak takes over the national passenger trains, my parents and I will ride the high speed Metroliner to Washington DC and wander around the Smithsonian. Reading The Lord of the Rings when I had the flu and Dune during a sweltering heat wave changes everything. We knew the moment the World Trade Center twin towers became higher than the Empire State Building, because we got a ghost echo in our TV signal until they moved the TV transmission antennas to the taller buildings. In a little over two years we will move to Greensboro NC, where I will be the Head Yearbook Photographer at Grimsely Senior High. I am writing, mainly newsletter materials for a model railroad club, using a manual Royal portable typewriter with a chemical keyboard. American men are still regularly traveling to and landing on the Moon.

March 1961
I am 2½ and we live in a big rambling house in Medina NY near Buffalo. It is the start of the Kennedy administration and NASA's manned space program. Vietnam wasn't news yet, and while I wasn't really aware of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, somewhere I did know about the construction of the Berlin Wall in five months. My sister is three years older. Once I am three, we will both have our tonsils out -- they "explained" that it was cheaper for us to get it done at the same time -- I don't realize how sick my tonsils have been making me while they waited for me to get to age three. We have a wonderful red dachshund, Max. We live next to the village's school bus garage, and I know all the busses by sight and sound. In the next year or two I will not only figure out how maps work but will become the family navigator. When I get to going to school, we will still do duck-and-cover drills against nuclear attack. Later I will become a big fan of plastic airplane models -- most of the kits cost from 29¢ to 49¢ -- and I will know "everything" about military aircraft and the space program.

This decade look is too broad, methinks. I'll think about doing the interstitials in the five-year increments -- 2006, 1996, 1986, 1976, 1966 -- which are much more interesting. (grin)

Dr. Phil
Tags: dr phil in real life, internet, memes

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