John Brand Schneider, This Is Your Life!

Places I’ve lived:

I was born in Seattle, Washington.  Shortly afterwards, my family moved to Alaska for a two year stint.  From Alaska we moved to Falls Church, Virginia (just outside of Washington, DC), where I “grew up.”  After high school I went to college in New Orleans and graduate school in Seattle.  I did take some time off from school to sample life and it would be hard to pin down that span of time to one location (you should have seen my passport!).  These days I find myself in the sprawling metropolis of Pullman, Washington (population roughly 31,000 [when the students are in town]).

Things I have done:

I have had gainful employment in some interesting jobs such as a bicycle messenger in Washington, DC (nine hours of hard riding a day does a great job of making you forget about diets—when I wasn’t riding or sleeping, I was eating) and a bartender in Taipei, Taiwan (my sole qualification being that I was white and they wanted a white dude to serve drinks).  I have also worked in jobs that were a bit more mentally challenging such as an engineer at a nuclear power plant and (currently) a professor of electrical engineering.  See my vitae for more details if you’re curious about my academic profession.

Together with my wife, I spent 20 years raising two kids (while also holding down a more-than-fulltime job), frequently reminding them that “I'm your parent, not your friend.”  When they turned 18, I turned off the parenting thing (to the extent one ever can).  I'm proud of the people they've become and my wife, Shira, deserves most of the credit for that.

Things I was able to do:

There was a time when I could play guitar well enough to fool people into thinking I was pretty good.  There was a time when I could speak Chinese well enough to get myself in trouble (but not well enough to get myself out of trouble).  There was a time when I was a competitive athlete.  There was a time when I would scuba dive with some regularity.  I have a commercial pilot’s license, and I think I can still fly, but not with the proficiency of yore.

Things I do now:

These days, all my time and energy goes into work and working out (I’m not giving in to aging without a fight!).  Maybe when I retire I can get back to being a Chinese-speaking, guitar-playing, high-flying, scuba-diving, competitive athlete?  We shall see...