13 March 2012




Sometimes, when I think about all the times I have "failed", I wonder why I have any self confidence at all.

Have always thought that self confidence was built up over time as a result of multiple "successes" but perhaps self confidence is just an self delusion created when one ignores, conveniently forgets, one's failures.

I am not saying I have not had successes in many aspects of my life but for some reason, it seems time to ante up all the failures as well.

So in no specific order, I present, perhaps for myself if no one else, my notable failures:


- Gimbal control board. Hardware and software design of a special board to fly in Navy plane. Gimbal hosted an infrared (IR) camera and a radar. Limited board size, space and servo control modules required multiple voltages. Being smart and thinking of maintenance, I put all voltages beside each other on board edge connector. One day, using oscilloscope probe, probe slips off one pin and shorted 2 voltage pins together. BIG FAT FAIL. Blew every servo control module on board at $500 a piece.

- Laptop brick (1). Updating BIOS in laptop. Something went wrong and laptop became brick, junk. FAIL.

- Laptop brick (2). Repairing laptop for friend of spousal unit. No display. Needs converter board. Have a converter board out of another, different make, laptop. Install it. FAIL.

- Radio repair. 15 or 16 years of age. Neighbor knows I have ham license and thus know radios. Gives me am/fm radio that works and then stops. Total ignorance of radio and begin turning coil screws. Only make it worse. Take apart over and over until I break string hosted frequency dial. First heavy dose of anxiety. FAIL.

- Artificial Intelligence. Credit card $3000 for Texas Instruments artificial intelligence (AI) application expert system development tool. Take 3 months off from working daily to build special AI- based government bid analyzer with thoughts of selling it to beltway bandits. In the end, never understood, expert system rules and confidence factors. FAIL.

- Jealousy. First major jealousy attack when friend flirted heavily with wife. In a moment of anger, gathered wife and 2 small children and drove to mountain land owned at the time to camp. Got at land at dark and stumbled way though under brush and rocks to camp site to be eaten alive by mosquitoes. So at midnight, back in car and home. FAIL.

- Valium and Jack Daniels. Father cancer. Stressful in many ways. Been getting valium from doctor for stress. At father's death, pain would not stop so day after funeral went to store and bought a fifth of Jack Daniels alcohol and began to drink (do not normally drink at all). Not one thought to suicide but when I got back to work, apparently passed out and had to go to hospital. No idea how long I was out but could have died. Terrible thing to do to wife and 3 children at the time. FAIL.

- 5 years and a summer school. Took me 5 years and one summer school to graduate from college. Did have significant number of semester credits but still, FAIL.

- House porch railing in red oak. When house renovated and new porches added, insisted on having red oak railing stained dark and sealed. Was thinking beauty of boat wood work. Within 2 years, oak began to peel off sealer. One summer, all summer, sanding, staining and sealing again. 2 years later, seal gone again. In the end, replaced with vinyl. FAIL.

- VW bus. After wife's miscarriage, quitting work and moving in to a house with another couple all summer and subsequent collapse of it all and moving in with father-in-law, took the last of our money and went out to buy a car. Car I had was beginning to have problems and did not suit for wife and child. Stumbled upon old VW bus and seemed right and could afford. BUT before I got the bus "home" muffler blew out and found out it only had a 1300CC engine or hardly enough to make it up even small hills. FAIL.

- Pilot training. Decided I wanted "pilot" on my resume. Pilots are cool. So signed up for pilot training. Got through solo and passed FAA written test but on solo flew in front of landing plane. Too much work load from my head in cockpit. Did not get license. FAIL.