Here we go...

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hey there,

Over the past few years, I have found myself wanting ways to express thoughts, pass along information, or generally rant about things that I care about. At times I've posted on Twitter (ok, lots of times) and occasionally I've written notes on Facebook. Sometimes I'll just write in a notebook to get my thoughts out. I decided tonight that it would be therapeutic for me to start posting on a blog from time to time.

I'm not promising that I'll keep this updated with any regularity whatsoever. In fact, I'm not even sure I'll tell anyone about this, at least at first (have to do some test runs, right?). This blog is both a way for me to post things that are relevant to me and also maybe to impart some helpful knowledge to others who may read this from time to time. Tonight I'll just start with an introduction...

My name is Mike McBride. I am 24 (at the time of writing this) and I live in St. Louis, MO. I was born in Houston, TX, and part of me will always long to move back. However, I met a girl named Becky here in St. Louis and in September of this year we'll be getting married. Since her family all lives here and she has no desire to move, I'm stuck here for a while (I could imagine much worse places to live, so I'm okay with that).

I am a software developer at a St. Louis-based Information Technology company, World Wide Technology, and we were recently named the #24 best company to work for in the United States (2012). I develop on a web-based software application called ServiceNow, which is one of the fastest growing cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) companies in the U.S. Needless to say, I am at an exciting place in my career. I am working for a fantastic company and developing on a platform that only continues to grow in demand and capability. It's a great place to be for a young developer.

In May of 2011 I graduated from Saint Louis University (go Billikens!) with a degree in Information Technology Management. I loved my time at SLU, although if I could go back and do college all over again I'd make much different choices. I began my career at Iowa State University thinking I wanted to be an engineer. I switched to business in less than a year, and decided I wanted to do Marketing and Finance. I transferred to SLU halfway through my sophomore year and continued taking Finance classes. During that next summer, I realized that I spent nearly all my free time reading technology sites and learning about computers and asked myself why I wasn't majoring in IT, so I met with my advisor before classes even started and switched my major. If I started college over again, I'd probably have picked a school that has a stronger Computer Science program (not that SLU is a bad school, but schools like Rolla or Mizzou seem to have programs that might be stronger) and would have majored in Computer Science instead of IT Management. For those unaware, CS is more focused on the technical and development aspects of IT while IT Management is focused on delivering business value through IT processes. Since I am a developer now, it doesn't really matter, and 80% of what I use on a daily basis I wouldn't have learned in school anyway (and another 10% I learned through my IT Management courses). That being said, I'm kind of glad I have the Management part of my degree because I understand business processes and how what I am doing is affecting the business, so it's probably a wash in the end. Get used to rants and ramblings like that one.

While I was in college (and senior year of high school), I played ultimate frisbee. That is not the same thing as disc golf (which I actually just picked up about a year ago, so I now play both). If you don't know the difference, please go look it up. If you ever meet someone else who plays ultimate you will be appreciated for actually knowing what it is and knowing the difference between that and disc golf. Essentially disc golf is like golf where you throw discs at a basket with chains on it, while ultimate is a like a mix between soccer (running, cutting, and passing) and basketball (pivoting - can't run while you have the disc) played on a football field (end zones). It's one of the fastest growing sports in America, so just look it up.

I am Catholic. By that I don't mean I grew up Catholic and claim that as my religion because that's what my parents told me to believe but otherwise have no real participation in my faith. I am very involved with my faith and it is incredibly important to me. I don't always let that show, and that's something I'm constantly working on. I don't have to be obnoxiously "churchy" in order to let others see my faith in action.

I am the oldest of three boys, and my youngest brother is only 3 years younger than me. My mom claims that she loved having three sons so close in age, but I'm sure she also hated it just as much at times. I'm convinced she's going to die young because of all the things we put her through when we were growing up, but she's a saint for it. Growing up the three of us spent a lot of time hanging out with other kids in the neighborhood but were never extremely close to one another. As we've gotten older (probably since I first left for college), we have become incredibly close and I consider them to be my two best friends. Matt (one year younger than me) is studying Geology at Missouri S&T (Rolla), and Mark (three years younger than me) is studying Mechanical Engineering, also at MS&T.

As I said earlier, I was born in Houston. I grew up moving around a bit - Houston, Baton Rouge, back to Houston, then St. Louis, all before I was 9. All of our family lives in the south (mostly Louisiana), but we have come to love it here in St. Louis. I grew up going to catholic grade school and went to St. Louis University High, which I am convinced is the best high school in the world. I hate the SLUH kids who make sure we continue to be labeled as the most arrogant people in St. Louis because they think they are better than everyone just because they went to SLUH. I do not believe that is true at all, but I am very proud of where I went to school because it is an academically challenging school (arguably the most difficult in St. Louis) that I feel also develops its students into very well-rounded men. I am very appreciative of all that I gained from my time at SLUH and will always regard it as the best school in St. Louis for those reasons and for the experiences I gained while I was there. I'm sure many other St. Louis high school students would say the same about their schools, and frankly I think the whole St. Louis high school obsession is absurd (my fiancee went to a public school and is a brilliant woman and is just as involved with her faith as I am, so I'll debunk every one of your private vs public school myths you've ever heard) so I'm going to leave it at that. That turned into a really long paragraph about something that's not really so important... sorry about that y'all.

That's about all I can think of right now. I don't really feel like reading through that again just to make sure I didn't miss anything, so I'm going to leave it as it is and if I missed anything, well I'm sorry. Here's a quick list of things I like and things I will likely be posting about:

  • technology. I'm a big nerd, so I love both hardware and software
  • sports (LSU football, Cardinals baseball, Blues hockey, disc golf, soccer, and ultimate)
  • outdoorsy stuff, especially camping or hiking
  • Catholicism/religion

Here are some other things about me that don't really have any category to go in but will hopefully give you a little bit better picture of who I am:

  • If you don't use Oxford commas, don't know the difference between "your" and "you're", "their", "they're", and "there", or "affect" and "effect", I will most definitely judge you. I am a grammar freak. I think everyone needs to have a good understanding of grammar, because it makes a huge impact on the way others perceive you through your writing.
  • I think the combination of text messaging and spell check is ruining the intelligence of our planet.
  • I am a big nerd for math stuff. I still think about going back to school and getting another degree so I can teach math when I'm older, or finding some other way to use it more. Numbers just make sense to me. If you're like me, check out the "Numberphile" channel on YouTube, it's awesome.
  • I have been told that when the oldest child in a family is a male, they have a fairly significant chance of having some degree of autism, though it is usually very mild. I believe I fall on that spectrum somewhere.
  • I hate going to sleep. I don't mean that I hate sleeping (I love it), but I will stay up as late as I can because I love being awake and being able to do things (side projects, reading, video games, or whatever). You'll probably notice many of my posts will come late at night. This is particularly unfortunate as I like to be at work at 7am (I hate traffic, so my philosophy is get there early and leave early).
  • I can solve a Rubik's cube in under 2 minutes.
  • Some day I want to be fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language
  • My favorite color is navy blue, I am afraid of whales, and my favorite smell is a tie between pine trees (balsam fir) and camp fire.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and getting to know me. I hope you've enjoyed what you've read so far and will come back.