Wednesday, August 06, 2008

08/06/08 - New Blog!

Not mine. Laura's! It seems she has finally cracked after carting me around to all of these medical appointments and otherwise taking care of me and my illness. Some people might disagree with the word "finally" in the previous sentence...

Please take a moment to check out her blog at Big Monkey's House. He (Big Monkey) is also in some of my early posts below.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

08/05/08 - Randy Pausch

Who was Randy Pausch? You may not know his name, but there's a good chance that you've heard about him in the last year. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer took his life on 7/25/08. A friend sent me an Email on that date (thanks, Fred). The following is a brief summary, the links within this post contain more precise information.

Randy was a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and given 3-6 months to live after previous treatment failed to stop it. He is famous for his "Last Lecture" speech, which Wikipedia (a site I recommend) describes as:

'an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical "final talk"'

Randy was, of course, very intelligent. He was also very charismatic, meaning that he was a very good speaker, could get his point across, and be entertaining at the same time. His "Last Lecture" became a hit on You Tube, is a great inspirational story, and has some significant life lessons. It also became a best selling book.

I would like to think that Randy and I have some similarities. For one, we both have/had cancer. We have similar backgrounds - Engineering and Computer Science. We both grew up in Pittsburgh. He taught at CMUand I applied there for Engineering (got accepted for math, but could only afford it through Air Force ROTC - so off to Penn State I went). OK, that last similarity is a stretch...

Back to reality. His "Last Lecture" is well worth watching. It is over an hour long at 1:16:27, but most people would easily dedicate that time to watching TV or a movie. I thought about putting a link to a shorter version, but I implore people to watch the full version. You WON'T be disappointed. You WILL be entertained and learn some lessons at the same time.

Although I knew who he was, I wish I would have paid closer attention to his story when he was still around, maybe we could have met...