Friday, October 30, 2009


It is much harder to send a daughter off into the world than it is to send a son. I know that may sound a bit like favoritism but believe me when I say it isn't. It was confusing at first because I hadn't expected it but after I analyzed my feelings a bit I realized that it is because I worried a lot more about my daughters than I did about my sons. That is odd too because if anything my daughters were more responsible than my sons were. I guess it is just because the boys were big and tough and I knew no one was going to make them do anything that they didn't want to do.

Brandon was always the academic but socially awkward kid. He had many friends and many girls who would have been glad to "go out" with him but for some odd reason he felt a very strange loyalty to a group of girls that were not always that nice to him. I kept telling him when he would go to the stake dances that he needed to ask some of the others girls to dance. Girls that he never knew. He rarely did, he would always ask the same mean girls. Even though they were mean to him he felt that he needed to take care of them and he wanted to make sure they all got to dance. If you ask Brandon he will tell you that he dated lots of girls in high school but if he did I sure don't know who they were and when he went on those dates.

Finally, for his Senior Prom he did take my advice. Even then he felt guilty about it. He said to me, "Dad, I know it sounds shallow but for Prom I'm going to ask the prettiest girl that I know." He did too. I was so proud of him. I have no idea who she was but he asked a girl from Escondido and they made a beautiful couple.

The summer before he headed off to BYU Brandon did start dating a girl from YSA. He talked about her some but he never brought her around the house so I know next to nothing about her except that her name was Mary. He headed off to the Y with little commitment to anyone and that is just how I like it. I gave Brandon clear instructions about how to date that year at the Y before his mission. I call it the A, B, C rule. Basically it means that you take girl A on a date but before you can take her on a second date you have to take girl B on a date and then girl C. That way he wouldn't get hung up with one girl and he would makes lots of friends and have a lot of fun. I think his actual schedule went something this, girl A, B, C, A, B, A, A, A ... . Girl #A was named Marian. She was a very sweet girl and well suited for Brandon's somewhat intense personality.

Brandon had a wonderful year at the Y and early in his second semester he put in his mission papers. That was a bit of a panic for Kira because Brandon insisted on putting his availability date as his birthday. The problem with that was that Kira's wedding date was June 7 and Brandons birthday is June 2. That means that there was a small but non-zero probability that he could leave on his mission before her wedding. We all tried to convince him to put his availability for after Kira's wedding but he insisted that he would leave it up to the Lord. He received his call while he was still at the Y and we all got on the phone while he opened his call. He was called to the Mexico, Culiacan mission. After some study we learned that Culiacan is in the State of Sinaloa which is the home to several of the nastiest drug families in Mexico. Lisa was terrified and it took much more faith for her to send her boy on his mission that it took for Brandon to go.

Before he reported to the MTC (mission training center for those who may not know) Brandon received a phone call from the MTC. They spoke to him in Spanish so Brandon switched to Spanish and spoke with them. Brandon took Spanish in High School but got pretty good at it by talking to the staff at a restaurant where he's worked since he was sixteen. They chatted for a while and then the guy told him that he'd just had his Spanish test.

Brandon gave his farewell talk the day after Kira's wedding day. It was a bit sad because his farewell was somewhat overshadowed by Kira's wedding but he was very good about it and in someways it was perhaps better. A lot of people who came for the wedding were able to just stay for his farewell and we had a small open house for him. A LOT of people showed up and helped us eat some of the left over food from the wedding.

When he reported at the MTC Brandon had an orange dot on his name tag while everyone else had a green dot. We were quite concerned that his was so different so we asked about it. It turns out that orange means you're a native speaker and green means you're learning a foreign language. Brandon was put in a district with all Spanish speaking missionaries. That really gave him a boost for learning Spanish. From day one everything was in Spanish and he was learning the discussions with Elders from Spanish speaking countries.

Brandon's mission was a tough one in many ways. He told us that when he stepped off the plane for the first time in Culiacan it was so hot he thought he was in Hell. I won't go into all the details of his mission but suffice it to say that death was a common spectacle on the streets of Culiacan. He personally knew at least half a dozen people who either died or were murdered. It was a very unusual mission but while it had it's tough times it also had some very special moments and he has returned home a stronger and more prepared person because of it. He also left Mexico a better place than it was when he got there.

One of the tougher days for Brandon was on June 2, 2005. That was the day he opened a letter from Marion. Marion had written Brandon regularly through his entire mission. No one figured she would wait for him but as the end of his mission approached and she was still writing we began to think that perhaps it was really going to happen. Well, just days before he was to be released Brandon got the infamous "Dear John". He was devastated and it took him some time to get over it.

It was great to have Brandon home again. It was nice also to have him come home right before summer started because we got to have him home for the entire summer before he took off again. He worked for a contractor so Brandon built some good muscles that summer and learned all kinds of useful skills. His next year at the Y was spent rethinking all of his plans. He was quite confused about what direction to take his life and his greatest fear was closing doors on future potential options. During this year he came to know a wonderful young woman named Serene. Serene suits her name to a "T". Brandon stayed at the Y for the spring term. He brought two girls for a visit between the Winter and Spring terms and he gave Serene a ride to her mothers house in the LA area somewhere. This trip is when he decided he really liked this girl. The other two girls were relegated to the back seat and Serene had shot gun the entire trip. By the end of spring term Brandon was convinced he wanted to marry Serene. Brandon worked that summer at Hi-Z (I was still at Kyocera) and every penny he earned went to buying a diamond. He didn't want to pick out a ring so he waited until he was back up in Provo before buying the ring.

Brandon couldn't wait for a ring to propose so he proposed to Serene on the south hill of campus. There he was on bended knee with an unmounted diamond. He was so anxious to get married that he wasn't about to wait for anybody and against his mothers desperate plea's they decided to get married over the Christmas holidays. Due to some very bizarre events Alex, Sarah and I ended up missing the wedding. Lisa, Alycia, Kira and Justin did manage to get there. I will blog about that later but I don't have room to tell the story here and I don't want to poison a very enjoyable story with those bad memories.

So Brandon and Serene were married December 30, 2006 and they were expecting our wonderful little Sydney before their honeymoon was over. Sydney arrived in this world in October during both Brandon and Serene's senior year at BYU. Don't ask me how they made it but they both graduated from BYU that following spring.

Right now Brandon is studying law at Pepperdine University and Serene is busy being a mother to two beautiful little girls. Hayley joined their family just this last September. I really love being a grandpa.

On November 16, 1532, an army of 168 Spanish soldiers defeated an army of 80,000 from the Inca Empire. More than 7,000 Inca's were slaughtered and many more injured. The slaughter would have been much worse but it was cut short by nightfall. Not one Spanish soldier was killed. Steel swords and a few crude guns made all the difference.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It was while I was working at Kyocera that my children grew to young adults and left the nest. While raising children is by far the most rewarding thing I have done in this world and has brought me far more joy than anything else, it does have it's challenges and pain. About the worst pain I've had to endure is sending my babies out into the world on their own. Worse than that however is giving my daughters to some other guy. No mortal man is worthy of my daughters but it is against the law to lock them up so I had no choice but to let them go.

Kira was the first to fall. She actually had a steady boyfriend in high school and after some interesting drama he left on a mission with some unstated "expectations". In her junior year at BYU she was set up on a blind date with a boy named Justin Palmer. Their first date had a pirate theme to it and so pirates have a special place in their lives. Even her blog is called, It wasn't long after Kira started dating Justin that the poor boy on the mission received the infamous "Dear John" letter.

Justin must really love Kira because he finished at BYU a year ahead of her and being in a music programKira
would lose as much as two years if she transferred to a different school. Rather than put her through that he worked for a year while she finished her degree and then they went to school where he could attend a good dental school and Kira could attend a good grad school.

For those who may not know, Kir
a is a very accomplished oboe player. At BYU (where they don't give out many full scholarships) she had a half tuition scholarship all the way through and at the University of Florida she had a full ride with all expenses paid and some extra money to live on. Other than the fact that he took my daughter away from me, I have few complaints about Justin. Probably the only downside of him marrying her is that he is from Canada. I go to all the work and pain to move my family down here to this subtropical paradise and she marries a guy from Calgary and moves back to the subarctic. Oh well, I can tell he loves her and he is certainly very good to her. His jovial mentality is perfect for Kira's tendency to over stress some of the little things in life.

Kira and Justin have brought me two wonderful grandsons. I haven't met the youngest one yet (did I mention that his middle name is Arlen?) but I love him to death already. I can't wait until Christmas when we will all be together.

French Canadians are technically Latin Americans (courtesy of Ben)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back to School

After I quit my paper job but before I left Hi-Z and joined Qualcomm I decided to go back to school. As long as the education was useful to Hi-Z they were willing to pay for my tuition so how could I not accept such a wonderful opportunity? The problem was that while they would pay the tuition I was still expected to put in a full work schedule. In addition to that I had six kids at home who also demanded a lot of attention. I decided that I really wanted to do it and even if I only took one or two classes a semester I figured it would still only take four or five years. The way I looked at it was that in four or five years I would still be four or five years older but this way I would have a graduate degree.

It is very different going back to school as an adult. First of all, the classes you take are ALL interesting. No more nonsense such as "fine arts", "history" or "English". They were all fascinating classes such as neural networks (my favorite) and stuff like that. The other difference is that after fifteen years of working a full time job I had figured out how to work. While taking classes along with working full time is challenging, taking one or two classes at a time means a lot less homework so it was easier focusing on the classes. I settled into a routine that went roughly like this. Get up at 5:30 with the kids going to seminary. Drop them off at seminary and go into work. Do my homework from 6:00 until 8:00 when my day job starts. Do my day job until classes start. Work overtime to make up for the time I missed in classes. Go home and be with my wife and children. Go to bed. Repeat.

When things got tough however was when I started at Qualcomm and started traveling. It is very difficult to travel all day long and then get motivated enough to do homework in some motel room. To make things worse, UCSD is on a quarter system and each quarter is only ten weeks long. If I missed a week of classes because of a business trip that was 10% of my entire semester. That made it very stressful at times but the professors loved the fact that they had a student who was already in a career and they worked with me.

In spite of the tough schedules and all I still managed to pull off a 4.0 GPA, at least until statistics. I was maintaining a perfect average until then. I don't know what it is about statistics but I can't get an A in that class. It isn't all that hard but I just can't get an A. The biggest problem in this class was one of those famous "group" projects that Alycia talked about recently. The group had this stupid idea for a project and I really thought it was dumb but I was outvoted and we ended up with a poor grade on it. That was a big factor in my B. After that I always tried to do group projects by myself and in the cases where I had to work with a group I always told them I would do the project by myself first and then if wanted to add to it we could talk about it. In every case they made very little changes to my original work.

Finally I finished all of my classes except my thesis. I just couldn't find the time to work on it. I had hoped to graduate with Kira when she graduated from High School but I procrastinated my thesis so long that she graduated by herself. Finally when I was in jeopardy of ending up with an ABT (all but thesis) I knuckled down and got to work. I decided to work on one the professors favorite topics. It wouldn't have been my first choice but I figured I would get more help if the professors was excited about it and it was a very wise move on my part. I worked my tail off on the thesis and came up with some pretty unique ideas. When it came time to defend my thesis I went to put my panel together and my prof insisted that I include this real mean, grouchy professor from the computer department. I didn't want to make this any harder on myself than I had to but I complied.

I had been warned by many people (including my adviser) that no one ever passes on the first try. It was a matter of honor that they find something wrong with your work and make you go back at least once. When I presented I thought things went quite well. When they grilled my about my work I thought I addressed their questions properly but when I was sitting in the hallway waiting for them to make a decision I was very nervous. I was tired of school and I really wanted to be done. I didn't want to go back and do more research. Finally the door opened and they called me in. The first thing my adviser said to me was, "Well, I guess I was wrong. You're the one exception, you passed." The grouchy professor then said to my adviser, "Roger, if all your students work had been like this one I think your program would have been more successful".

I floated on air and the relief was overwhelming. I was done. I felt dumb walking with all those young guys but after all that work I really wanted to. It made me feel good that Lisa made a really big deal out of it too and as I walked into the room my entire family was right there on the front row and they were yelling and screaming. I felt good.

I've always wanted to get a PhD but after the masters I decided that I will wait until the kids are all gone and then I'm going back. My masters was in the Electrical Engineering department and it was focused on Advanced Manufacturing and while it was very appropriated and useful for my work I really want a PhD in quantum mechanics. It will only be for my own enjoyment and won't be at all useful for my career but someday I'm going to do it.

Many people over sixty are immune to the swine flue leading the experts to believe that something very similar has been around before.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Miss My Father

Dad took Moms death very hard. For months he was only a shell of a man and while he always made an effort to be cheerful when ever he was around us it was obvious that he was miserable. After a few months I began to worry about him but beyond calling him more frequently what could I do? He was lonely and I couldn't solve that problem. One day Dad showed up with a friend. It turned out that he had started dating one of Mom's cousins. He had been to some family event and they hooked up. She was a widow with four grown kids. It was funny watching Dad, he was just like a teenager. It hadn't even been a full year since Mom's death and it took me completely off guard but I'd never seen Dad happier so I just accepted Maurine into my heart. It was obvious to me that she had saved my Dad's life. Dad and Maurine were married on my birthday, August 12, 1990 and they moved into her huge house on a farm outside Cochrane. This was the perfect house for my Dad. He loved living on a farm and he loved carpentry. Maurine's house was beautiful and while it was mostly finished it had just enough work left to be done to keep Dad occupied. We visited them often and before long Maurine and her kids were part of the family.

I think the first time I realized that Dad was sick was at a family reunion in Utah. I had just been called to be a High Priest in our church and I really wanted my Dad to ordain me. We realized that we would both be at this reunion so we made an extra effort to get there. When Dad and Maurine showed up he carried around an oxygen bottle. He told us that he had pulmonary fibrosis and I had no clue what that was. It turns out that years of farming and breathing the dust and chemicals that goes along with that and with even more years of carpentering and inhaling all of the sawdust that goes along with that had started to cause scarring in his lungs. The scarring made the lung tissues hard and stiff and his lungs were unable to flex and take in oxygen. I was concerned when I heard this but I just chose to believe that it would be a problem that he would have to deal with but with proper precautions it wouldn't get any worse. We later learned that one version of pulmonary fibrosis is caused by exposure to asbestos. Dad was hired to tear down the old Leavitt school house which almost certainly was loaded with asbestos. We could probably have sued someone for a lot of money but what would be the point? No one knew back then that asbestos was so bad so they weren't really negligent and suing them wouldn't bring Dad back.

Not long after the reunion I felt a strong urgency to take the family to Canada on a vacation and visit Dad. I think somewhere deep down I knew that we didn't have a lot of time left. When Dad and Maurine learned of our plans they decided to call the family home. On Fathers Day, 1998 all of my brothers and sisters and most of their children converged on my Dads home. He was very sick and this was his chance to say good bye. As is usually the case in these situations they are simultaneously very sad and very happy. What joy it was to see everyone again but how sad it was to see my Dad bed ridden and so weak. All of the kids were banned from the house except to use the bathroom but boy did they have fun.

We ate our meals outside and even when it rained the kids had a blast getting filthy. When Dad was awake and had enough energy we all took turns going in to visit him. He even got permission to have a Sacrament Meeting right there in his house. Dixie came up with the idea that he should give something meaningful to all of the grand kids. Dad had asked her to go to a bank and get a silver dollar for each of the grandkids. He wanted to give them something to remember him by. Dixie conviced him that If he gave them money they would have it spent before they left Canada and would never remember that Grandpa had given them anything. She didn't want it to be something purchased but rather something from his heart. She had him come up with an original quote that was just from him. and then she had them all framed. Since Dad had nearly forty grandchildren this was no small undertaking but I am so grateful to Dixie for coming up with the idea. My kids all have their little quotes in their bedrooms displayed right where they can see them. The quote goes like this,

"Only through Prayer, With Jesus in our lives Can we find true Happiness."

It had been a long time since the family had all been together and it was fun to see how everyone had grown. Dad had put all of his worldly possessions in the basement and all of us kids went down and divided everything up amongst ourselves. Since I was so far away I didn't want to take anything too big. I ended up with half of Dads coin collection, an old swivel wooden chair and all of Dad's tools. I think of him every time I pick up a hammer or pair of pliers. Finally it was time to leave. We were the last to leave and before I left, Dad asked me to give him a final blessing.As I laid my hands on his head I knew that we were saying goodbye. My Dad was being called home. I gave him a beautiful blessing. When we left it was hard saying goodbye, I knew that I would never see my Dad alive again. I am not much for talking over the phone. Anyone who knows me knows that Lisa does all the talking for our family. The next few weeks after we left Dad is the one time that I really wish I had called more. Dad died in the arms of his loving wife in August of 1998. He too had a large and beautiful funeral. I don't remember just what was said but I remember how I felt.

My Dad taught me how to be a man. If I have been a good father it is largely due to him. He taught me how to work and he taught me to love my Father in Heaven. He rarely gave any lectures (like I'm known to do) but he usually taught by example. He did have many little comments that I quote all the time. Some of my favorites are, "if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right", "A half a**ed job will always be a half a**ed job", "if it doesn't fit get a bigger hammer", "if we don't do it then who's going to do it for us?". I miss my Dad.

According to the EPA the United States now has the cleanest air it has ever recorded and probably the cleanest air (in the cities at least) for the last 150 years. The air in the cities is now twenty times cleaner than it was at the beginning of the last century.

I'm not sure how all the older grandkids line up but the year our oldest, Kira, was born three of my siblings also had children born to them. My mom always used to call them the '82 crop. Left to right: Peter, Kira, Kristen, Meagan.
Two years later Brandon was born, but this year four of my siblings had children as well. As you may have expected, they came to be known as the '84 crop. Unfortunately Dixie's children weren't able to come down so Eric is missing in the picture. Lindsey is holding his spot with her right arm. Left to right: Eric (the invisible one), Lindsey, Brandon, Melissa and Andrew.
Once again, two years later when Ben was born, two of my siblings had children. They came to be known as the '86 crop. The crop was a bit smaller than the previous crops but it was a good crop none the less. The sad thing is that Dixie's boy, Waldemer (Wally) tragically died a few years before this picture. If it is tough losing a parent, I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose a child. Left to right: Ben, Phillip, (Wally - not shown).
Kira getting her plaque and some advice from her grandpa.
Brandon getting his plaque and some advice from his grandpa.
Benjamin getting his plaque and some advice from his grandpa.
Alycia getting her plaque and some advice from her grandpa.
Alex getting his plaque and some advice from his grandpa.
Sarah getting her plaque and some advice from her grandpa.
The whole family with Grandpa and Grandma.
All six of us kids with Dad. I was quite a few pounds lighter back in those days.
As a young man, immediately after world war 2 Dad served a mission in New Zealand. Not long after he married Maurine, Dad and Maurine also served a mission in New Zealand as a couple. Several of the people who served with Dad as a young man and with Dad and Maurine as a couple sang a traditional Maori song at his funeral. It was very cool and I would love to get the words to the song sometime.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Miss My Mother

I don't know when I thought my parents would pass away but I had no idea that they would pass away as soon as they did. My mothers passing was so sudden that it was a total shock for all of us. Alycia was born on February 3, 1989. Anyone who has had a child knows the emotional high that comes with such a miraculous event. Alycia was born on a Friday and on Sunday, February 5th I was in the hospital with Lisa reveling in the miracle of our little girl. As I was sitting there the nurse comes and tells me that I have a phone call. It was my sister Jackie and she told me that mom had collapsed that morning in their apartment in Edmonton. It was very serious. I stayed with Lisa for a few more hours and it was a pretty solemn time. Finally I decided that I'd better go home and rescue who ever was staying with the kids. When I got home Gary Norton was there waiting for me. As I was driving home my mom had passed away and Lisa got the call. She was worried about me so she called Gary and asked him to meet me. He offered to drive me back into Brooks to be with Lisa. While Jackie had warned me that it was serious some how my mind refused to entertain the possibility that my mother would die. I was fighting back tears all the way into Brooks.

I learned later that Mom and Dad had gotten up just like any other Sunday morning. Mom was up running around like she always does and Dad was still in bed reading or something. Greg and Gaylia had just come by to pick up their kids who had been staying with them and Mom had said goodbye and came back into the room. She sat down on the bed next to Dad and then she suddenly grabbed her head and said, "oh... it hurts", and then she passed out. They rushed her to the hospital where they determined that she had suffered from a brain aneurysm. After a few hours they decided that she was brain dead and with Dads permission they disconnected life support and within a few minutes she was gone.

Nana Shaw come out to stay with the kids and we headed to Edmonton. We were the last of the family to arrive and it was good to all be together but it was so strange and so sad. Mom and Dad had not lived in Edmonton for too long but the church was overflowing. That could also have been partly due to the fact that Greg and Gaylia, Lester and Barbara and Lisa and I had all lived in Edmonton for some time and between all of us we had many friends. We then placed Mom in the back of Dads monster Dodge van and we caravaned down to Cardston where we repeated it all over again. This time the chapel was even more crowded. Everybody loves my mother. She had a heart of gold and was known for taking in anyone who needed a home or a mother.

Because Alycia was just newly born we took her with us and she was truly a bright light amid a crowd of sad souls. The comment was made many times about how their spirits must have passed as Alycia was coming and Mom was leaving. It seemed somehow very appropriate. Perhaps the person most shaken by Moms passing was her father, my Grandpa Lybbert. I clearly remember him hanging his head saying, "A parent should never have to outlive his child. It just isn't supposed to be that way."

I learned something interesting during the next few weeks and months. First of all, I had always felt very awkward giving condolences to someone in mourning. I just didn't know what to say. What could I say that would help them? I learned that the best thing to say is that "I'm sorry to hear about your mother". It is simple, it let me know that they cared and that they were thinking about me. They didn't try to tell me it would be OK because it wasn't OK and yes, I knew it would be alright in the long run but that didn't make be feel any better at the time. I just wanted to know that they cared and that was enough. The other thing that I learned was that you never really do get over it. At first I had frequent "sad" spells. I would forget about my Mom and be enjoying my family and life and then I would remember and become very sad. As time went on the sad spells became less frequent and less intense but they never went away. Even today I will get the occassional "sad" spell, especially during special events like birthdays, weddings etc. I miss my mother.

Before the 20th century, cities were so full of diseases from bad hygiene and sewage, together with dense populations that more people died than were born. If it wasn't for a large influx of people from the surrounding rural areas the populations of the cities would have shrunk.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I started my new job at Qualcomm on March 17, 1998. This was the first time in my life working for a large company. Working for a big company is nothing like working for a small company. Oddly enough, the biggest change for me was working around a lot of women. Even stranger was working with women engineers. I had always had secretary's but they were such a minority I'd never given them much thought. At least half of Qualcomm was women and not just secretaries but in the business areas, HR, sales and engineering. The other big adjustment was the bureaucracy. In a small company if you wanted something done you just did it, in a big company if you did a job that was someone else's responsibility you could easily tread on someones toes. It didn't take me long to figure out who was possessive of their turf and who was glad to let someone else do their job. Once I knew that, I learned to play the game well. Coming from a back ground where you just did it yourself my work was seen as being proactive and I was quickly promoted up the ranks from Engineer to Senior Engineer to Senior Engineer/Manager to Staff Engineer to Staff Engineer/Manager. My supervisors liked the fact that I could get the job done.

The one thing about my job that I hadn't anticipated was the travelling. I was hired to solve a specific problem. Qualcomm had just experienced a major set back due to a connector that kept failing. It was my job to figure out why the connector was failing and to fix the problem. About a month after I started at Qualcomm I was sent to England (I'll bet you never knew they manufactured connectors in England) to the factory where the connector was made. Working with the manufacturer (Elco) we figured out what had gone wrong and resolved the problem. Right after we fixed the problem Qualcomm disqualified Elco as a manufacturer and we bought our connectors from a different manufacturer. That seemed odd to me for two reasons; 1) If we're just going to disqualify them then why waste the money fixing the problem? 2) Now that we fixed the problem wouldn't it make more sense to buy from a company who has their act together rather than take a risk on a new and unknown company? In any case, I really enjoyed the trip to England. The factory was near Cambridge University and I spent an entire day touring Cambridge and I got to see the lab where Madam Curie worked on radioactivity, Sir Isac Newtons office and a descendant from the tree where he saw the apple fall which inspired his theories on gravity. I'm not sure but I also think I saw the square where they had the foot race in the movie "Chariot's of Fire". They told me that even today if you took a Geiger counter into Madam Curries' lab it would have very high readings. They spent a lot of money cleaning the radioactive dust out of the floor boards etc. England was just the first of many trips all over the world.

In spite of the excitement I did miss working in the lab. All of my life I was the one performing the work and making presentations to other people about what I'd accomplished. Now I was the guy checking on other peoples work and they were making their presentations to me. It was very strange and in some ways kind of sad. The good thing however was that I got to see the work of dozens of companies and I was on the leading edge of the technology. It was just someone else's technology and not mine anymore.

It took a while for my talents to get matched up with Qualcomm's real need. Because of my materials background I was suitable for most "electro/mechanical" devices and over the course of the next few years I became responsible for all of Qualcomm's connectors, cables, keypads and circuit boards. Keep in mind that the company was making about a million phones a month so at one point in my career I was responsible for as many as four million parts a month. It was a lot of work trying to ensure that there was no problems with four million parts but I was rarely bored. Eventually there was a major personality conflict between the engineer responsible for batteries and the quality engineer responsible for batteries. I was asked if I thought I could work with this person and I was quite sure I would have no problems. That is when I was given the responsibility for Qualcomms battery manufacturers. Because of the seriousness of the battery which is one of the most expensive parts in a phone and the biggest single component in the phone all of my other responsibilities were given to other people and my only responsibility was the battery. It was the beginning of a new love affair. Thermoelectrics make electricity with semi-conducting materials and batteries make electricity electro-chemically. It was a good fit and much of my experience with thermoelectrics was useful in batteries. My new job suddenly became a lot more fun.

A mattress doubles it's weight every ten years due to the accumulation of dead skin cells the dust mites that eat our dead skin cells and their excrement.