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By now most of you have become familiar with the BIF challenge, as it has truly gone viral and brings us all that much closer to each other, getting to know one another beyond the technical questions and answers we post in the forums. In this respect it has been a fantastic initiative, and I would like to thank Moshe Naveh for bringing us all together as a closer community in this manner. Reading all the wonderful BIF entries of the past several months or so, I have learned much about various cultures and countries, sports and hobbies, and the wide variety of interests and expertise that make the SCN community so rich.

The rules of the game are quite simple, and spelled out succintly in Moshe’s introduction to BIF at Blog It Forward Community Challenge . The chain of BIFs is listed at Blog It Forward (BIF) Chain.

So who BIF’ed me?

I was originally mentioned by Sakthikumar Jayaraman in June, and I determined that I would get busy and do it, but procrastination, and summer, and work, and more procrastination… You get the picture. Then a few days ago Steffi Warnecke upped the ante by adding my name at the end of her own entry,  and pressure built from Colleen Hebbert and Susan Keohan, and I knew then that the heat was well and truly on. No longer could I ignore my responsibility. However, we’re still trying to get Steffi on Twitter. πŸ˜‰

So who am I?

I’m 49 years old and married to a wonderful French woman whom I met on a ski slope fifteen years ago. I think it was the spectacular wipeout I made while trying to impress her with my amazing downhill skills that did it. She was also the first person I’d met, other than through my work, who knew what I was talking about when I said that I worked with SAP. I also have a sixteen-year-old daughter, from a previous relationship, who lives nearby and with whom I have weekly dinner-and-movie dates, and who seems to have inherited a certain geeky love for computers and videogames from her dear old dad.

France 2005 129.jpg

[My wife and I visiting the south of France, near Carcassonne, in 2005]

My City

I live in Seattle, in Washington State in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, not far from the Canadian border. I’m very much in love with my city, and the surrounding forests, mountains, and waterways, and I’ve lived here for a long time, which makes me practically a native by local standards– but I didn’t always live here.

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and today I remain a dual citizen of both New Zealand and the United States. When I was five years old, however, the company my father worked for transferred him to San Francisco, and that was that. I left behind a huge extended family of grandparents, uncles and aunts, and lots and lots of cousins who all grew up together. With the great distances involved, it was not easy to visit, though we tried. Today, with Facebook, however, it is almost like living nearby, and now I am up-to-date on the latest goings-on of my various nieces and nephews who, of course, probably have only a vague idea of who I am.

We were almost transferred to Guam instead. That would have been different.

A few years later, as so often happens, my parents divorced, and my father was again transferred, this time to Seattle, while my mother remained in the Bay Area, and thus I grew up going back and forth between the two.

As it happens, Seattle is a sister city with Christchurch, New Zealand. I once walked up to the City Hall in Christchurch, and upon learning I was from Seattle the staff there gave me the grand tour, leading me into the council chambers, letting me sit in the mayor’s seat (council was not in session at the time), and introducing me to everybody. Really quite the welcome! This was long before the earthquake.

After high school, I went far away for college, attending Georgia Tech in Atlanta briefly, then taking my first “real” job as a system operator in Tech’s computing center. I continued to move about, doing various jobs (I have variously been a bartender, bouncer, heavyweight cargo handler, process server, executive secretary, and volunteer firefighter, in addition to what comes next), living in Georgia, Texas, Virginia, California (northern and southern), Australia, back to California, then finally came home to Seattle, only to nearly immediately take a job overseas in Antarctica.

Antarctica

It started with an ad in the Help Wanted section of the newspaper. I thought it might be a joke, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to send in a resume and see what happened. A few months later I was called for an interview, then came a round of medical and psychiatric exams, and a lot of dental work, and in October 1991 I was on a plane headed for the deep south. Very deep south. I had signed up to spend a year in McMurdo Station, Antarctica, working for a contractor to the National Science Foundation. I was originally hired as a General Assistant, which is a glorified title for “ditch digger” and all-around gofer, but within a couple months they had figured out I had an electronics background and so I became an Electrician’s Helper (or apprentice). Eventually I would advance to Journeyman Electrician before ending my time on the Ice.

I had no idea what to expect. Upon first touching down on the Ice Runway on McMurdo Sound (yes, that’s right, we landed a C-141 Starlifter on frozen ocean), I thought I would be stepping out to a colorless world of endless blizzard and nothing to see but snow and ice and maybe a rock or two here and there. I bundled up into all my extreme-cold-weather gear, hood up, goggles and bearpaw mittens on, and stepped down the ladder dragging three bags of everything I would need for a year. I hadn’t made it past the wingtip before I dropped the bags, stripped off my parka, and opened up to cool down from overheating. That’s when I noticed that the sky was blue, and that we were surrounded by some of the most amazingly beautiful, heavily glaciated mountains I had ever seen. I was stunned at the raw beauty of it all. You see, the planes don’t fly in bad weather, so it is almost always a beautiful day when you first arrive.

It doesn’t stay that way, however.

McMurdo_and_Erebus.jpg

[McMurdo Station, with Mt Erebus in the distance – apologies about the poorly scanned 35mm print]

I wish I had more photos to share with you, but the vast majority are not yet scanned and exist only in prints and negatives, plus about five hours of raw Hi-8mm video. Perhaps some day, when I stop procrastinating…

After summer, with its 24-hour daylight, came winter. At the end of February the last plane left, and it would be many months before another returned. Soon the sun set for the last time, and for four months we had 24-hour darkness. There would be storms that raged for six days straight, winds that reached 126 mph before the last anemometer in the station blew apart (and they almost certainly got stronger than that afterwards), blizzards and whiteouts that made it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of you. There would also be scenes to take your breath away, the aurora australis in winter and nacreous clouds in the pre-dawn light of spring, glacier valleys so wide they could only be highways for the gods, and the dazzling expanse of the Ross Ice Shelf stretching for hundreds of miles.

McMurdo_Fire_Crew.jpg

[Volunteering with the McMurdo Fire Department – that’s me on the farthest left, looking extremely young]

At the end of that year, I went on to return for a second winter, an 8-month stint, and then a third, followed by a final summer. In all, I spent two summers and three consecutive winters on the Ice, thirty-two months total, before leaving for the last time in March 1995. I had the rare opportunity to be camp electrician for put-ins and tear-downs at several deep field research camps in the Dry Valleys and high up on the Polar Plateau: the Strand Moraines, New Harbor, Upstream Bravo, Casertz (since renamed to Central West Antarctica). I celebrated the last sunset and midwinter by taking the Polar Plunge — diving into water through a hole cut in the five-foot thick ice, complete immersion required — three times! At Scott Base (New Zealand’s primary station) I joined what I expect may be the most exclusive drinking club in the world, and on that I will say no more.

Back in the USA

Climbing

Upon my return to civilization, or at least to Seattle, I sought ways to recapture the wild experience I had left behind. I had always been an avid hiker and backpacker, and now I sought to expand upon that by taking up mountain climbing.

Mt Rainier - Emmons Glacier.jpg

[High on the Emmons Glacier on Mt Rainier, 2003]

Mt Adams Summit.jpg

[On the summit of Mt Adams, 2004 — I’m the one in green]

Nepal and Mt Everest

I also sought more travel opportunities, and in 2008 I took a month-long trip to Nepal to trek the Khumbu Valley to Everest Basecamp. No, I didn’t climb Mt Everest — I’m neither skilled nor rich enough! — but I stood in the shadow of great Sagarmatha and felt the awesome magnificence of the Himalaya all around me. I prayed with the Rinpoche of Tengboche Monastery, and spun the wheels of Khumjung, Namche Bazar, and Pheriche.

Nepal - Stairs on Trail.jpg

[A typical part of the trail between Namche Bazar and Gorak Shep, with the Dudh Kosi river far, far below in the valley]

Nepal - Matt on Kala Pathar.jpg

[Me at the summit of Kala Patthar, a prominent hill near basecamp, elevation ~18,500′. Everest cannot actually be seen from basecamp, but she is quite visible here — the peak on the left, with the infamous South Col being the dip to her right]

Sailing

My other great passion, since the age of 14, is sailing. Since returning from Antarctica, I have owned a succession of old sailboats, culminating finally in Abeona, a 1982 Cal 39 that I hope some day will take me across the Pacific. For now I’m content to let her take me around Puget Sound.

Sailing - Abeona sunset.jpg

[Sunset on Puget Sound from the cockpit of Abeona]

Sailing - Desolation Sound selfie.jpg

[At the helm of my previous boat, Roxy, a 1983 Beneteau First 32, in Desolation Sound (British Columbia, Canada) in 2004]

Sailing in the Pacific Northwest isn’t always a warm endeavor! So, as a taste of what is hopefully to come, on two occasions my wife and I have bareboat chartered sailboats in the tropics, in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean in 2004 (to celebrate my 40th birthday), and then in Tahiti in the South Pacific in 2006.

Sailing - Bora Bora Approach.jpg

[On approach to Bora Bora and looking for the reef passage to enter the lagoon; that is my wife on the right]

SAP

Ok, now on to what you really want to know: how did I get into SAP?

I studied Electrical Engineering with a focus in Computer Engineering in university, but dropped out before completing my degree (yes, I’m a college dropout; don’t follow my example, boys and girls). I then started working for the university I had dropped out from as a system operator in the machine room, running the Control Data Cyber 170 mainframe that pretty much ran most of the university’s business and classes. Like many a twenty-something, I managed to screw up most of the opportunities that came my way, until I undertook a life-changing bicycle ride for five weeks and fifteen-hundred miles down the Pacific Coast, Canada to Mexico. The job in Antarctica soon followed on the heels of that ride, and I grew up in a hurry there. Upon returning, I used savings from that experience to put myself through Novell’s NetWare Engineering certification track, gaining my CNE and landing a job as the Network Administrator for a mid-sized manufacturing and engineering services company. While I was there, we decided to implement SAP R/3 (3.1h) on Windows (NT 4.0) and SQL Server (6.5), which ended up indirectly driving a decision to convert our network environment from NetWare to Windows. That was pretty much me, on my own, managing that effort. My MCSE certification came about as a result of that, plus I went to a few SAP Basis classes (I was supposed to handle it all, the network, the desktops, and SAP), and we had a successful GoLive. Not long after, I did what many people with a single successful implementation under their belt did, and left to chase the money, becoming an SAP Basis consultant for a boutique consulting firm out of Chicago (I think I pretty much was their Seattle office, but my projects were all in California, Utah, Georgia, and Illinois — never Washington). I did this for a couple years, meeting some amazingly talented people along the way who can be found out there on SCN now, until my soon-to-be wife (from the pictures) convinced me I should settle down and find a job closer to home, closer to her. That was a good move, as it turned out, on multiple fronts, as not long after the consulting company I had been working for imploded in the Dot-Bomb bust, and also we got married. πŸ™‚ I ended up working for a mid-sized public sector organization when it decided to join the modern world and migrate its financial affairs from a VAX to SAP, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Questions!

Sakthikumar didn’t actually ask any questions, but Steffi did, so here goes:

  1. Name the person who affected you most in your career / way of thinking and why?
    1. I don’t think I can name just one, or even just a few. I have had many mentors over the years, some knowingly, and some blissfully unaware of the impact they had. Some of them were bosses or workmates, some were teachers, some were friends, and some were long-dead writers of books that left deep impressions upon me. Some are active today on SCN. I believe I have something to learn from nearly everyone I come into contact with, whether younger or older, wiser or… not so wise.
  2. If you could be a superhero (or are in your spare time), who would you be?
    1. I could tell you, but then you would have to be inducted into the Superhero Union and sworn to lifelong secrecy.
  3. Which five things do you absolutely want to achieve in life?
    1. Publish at least one novel (working on second draft of one now)
    2. Sail across the Pacific Ocean, and perhaps farther
    3. Finish visiting all the continents (Africa and South America remain)
    4. Hike the Pacific Crest Trail (and a few other long ones like it)
    5. See my daughter grow into a happy and successful young woman (by whatever definition of success fits for her)
  4. What is the movie or TV series that describes your life so far the best?
    1. Always

The Nominations

On to the next victims suckers winners in the BIF challenge:

  • Christopher Solomon
    • Chris and I worked together on a few projects back in my consulting days, and today he is likely one of the foremost experts on HCM Processes and Forms. He also has deep experience with ESS/MSS/Portal development, ABAP development, and many other SAP technical and development arenas. He’s one of those guys who loves to dig deep and figure out what makes things tick, and he’s definitely one of those mentors from the questions above (he’s also an official SCN Mentor). He’s been on SCN seemingly forever, yet shockingly I couldn’t find any BIF for him!
  • Reagan Benjamin
    • While I have never met Reagan directly, we seem to cross paths frequently in the Basis forums on SCN. When I see a question that looks like something I could maybe answer, almost invariably Reagan has already done so (his timezone might help with that), and what’s more, his answers are excellent. He really knows his stuff. He once briefly had a status update of “I’m here to help,” then, for some reason, took it down almost right away (he probably doesn’t realize anyone noticed it). I don’t know why, because if there is anyone who is really here to help, it’s Reagan. He’s a question-answering machine! Again, shockingly, I couldn’t find a BIF for him.

The questions I have for both of you are:

  1. How do you find time in your day for your many contributions to SCN?
  2. If you hadn’t made a career with SAP, or perhaps in IT at all, what would you be doing with your life?
  3. What are your biggest outstanding life goals that you have not yet achieved?

Thank you.

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48 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    Amazing! I just returned from lovely Seattle this past weekend and it is a wonderful place.

    Wow, from Antarctica to New Zealand to Seattle – such amazing stories.  With sailing as your passion I am amazed you found time to write this BIF

    Yesterday we were discussing your BSi blogs here at work

    Thank you for a great BIF

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  2. Christopher Solomon

    GREAT BIF!!!! Funny….but very typical of knowing you…..as long as we have known each other (“forever” in the tech world haha), I *still* found out little nuggets about you from this BIF….I always find out just a little more about you each time I am around you. Maybe, you are just becoming more and more like those little old men at the mall whose wives have parked them on a bench while they shop….the kind who will tell you their entire life story in detail if you acknowledge them with a simple “hello….how are you doin’ today?”. (haha) But I like those guys….I am always game for a good story! πŸ˜‰

    Now…as for nominating me….ARGGGGG!!!! I have dodged that bullet for sooooo long and now it seems it has found me. I will get around to it, hopefully make you proud and maybe, you will learn more about me as well. Till then…

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    1. Matt Fraser Post author

      Chris, we’ve been finding new and better sushi restaurants out here, too. I think it’s time you and Jennifer paid another visit… πŸ˜‰

      So are you saying I’m ready to be put out to pasture… or the mall bench? Haha, I hope not! This old dog’s got a few tricks left, I think.

      So yeah… BIF… and Twitter. It’s time, my friend. Though on the Twitter, I’ll admit that although I’ve had an account for a few years, I never used it until about a week ago, when Susan Keohan basically twisted my arm into admitting my handle. Even now, I think I’m connected with about four people total…

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  3. Susan Keohan

    Hi Matt,

    Wow, this is indeed a great #bif.  Thanks for taking the time to share your stories.  I feel a certain kinship with you now, as we have several shared interests.  No, not Antarctica (sadly) but you did mention sailing – and I spent some of the best years of my youth as fifth mate on my dad’s Cal 40.  Years after he sold that boat (for one slightly more ‘age appropriate’ – heavy, stodgy, more comfy) we were out sailing to Newport and there was a silhouette of a lovely boat sailing in our direction.  My dad said ‘That looks like the Raven’ – and sure enough, as she got closer, there it was, our black, sleek Raven, cruising by within shouting distance.  My dad could barely take his eyes off his beloved boat.

    Also we do have some VAX experience in common – which indirectly led *me* to my SAP work.  Funny how things work out.

    And another ‘good on ya’ for nominating Christopher Solomon – he’s been a laggard for way too long.

    Thanks again, Matt.

    Sue

    PS: I can’t imagine this #BIF came without sacrificing at least  two glasses of wine?

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    1. Matt Fraser Post author

      Sue, it actually ended up being two pints of beer (Pike Kilt Lifter ale, I recommend it πŸ˜‰ ) that got me through the finish of it.

      The Cal 40 is a venerable and justifiably famous line of boats. I’m rather proud to own a direct successor to that design. For everyone else, if you’ve seen the Robert Redford film All is Lost, then you’ve basically seen my boat, the Cal 39. Hopefully mine will fare better than the one in the film, though (actually, three of them gave up their lives for art in the making of that movie)!

      It took us more than TEN YEARS to finally get all the various applications migrated off that VAX to the point where we could move it out of our data center. That was a happy day around here. We ran it in an IBM mainframe simulation mode that required special hard drives to work, hard drives that were not available anymore, and which were beginning to fail on a regular basis. I think we bought every one we could find on eBay to stockpile as insurance before we were through.

      As for Chris… yeah, he’s clearly had other things on his mind! I think I know what a few of them might have been… πŸ˜‰

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    1. Matt Fraser Post author

      Haha, thanks, Thomas! For the most part, I just sort of stumbled into things, and I intend to keep on stumbling. So much to do! So little time!

      SCN is like a great extended family sometimes — we annoy each other, we help each other, we grumble about each other, we can’t do without each other. At the end of the day, we need each other. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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  4. Gretchen Lindquist

    Matt,

    An excellent BIF, well worth the wait! I like it even though you attended Georgia Tech, occasionally still referred to amongst us Georgia Bulldogs as the North Avenue Trade School πŸ™‚

    You glossed over the part about spending time in Texas, but maybe at TechEd we can catch up and see if our paths ever crossed.

    Cheers,

    Gretchen

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    1. Matt Fraser Post author

      Gretchen, thank you! Ah, the infamous Athens-Atlanta rivalry, still going strong. πŸ™‚ That extended to our competing use of Cybers in the 80s, too. All the Tech students practiced their hacking skills against Georgia’s system… πŸ˜‰ However, USCN, and the shared use of Georgia’s Cyber among all the colleges around the state, was brilliant at the time.

      My time in Texas wasn’t for very long.. a matter of months in north Houston, around Kingwood/Humble area (my older sister lived there until a few years ago, and I stayed with her for a time). However, Texas is the state that issued my first driver’s license, so that counts for something, no? Anyway, let me see, I was there in…  hmm, I think it must have been 1984.

      Unfortunately, I will not be at TechEd this year. I’m hoping for next! I send my greetings and regrets to all whom I would have loved to meet who will be there, and I’ll ask Christopher Solomon to raise a toast to you all on my behalf.

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      1. Rick Bakker

        Nice bit of BIF there Matt. I worked with the VAXen as well and dabbled with Novell

        (do they even exist anymore?). I heard McMurdo has a McDonald’s, is that true? It must be so much easier there these days with internet.

        Good luck with your novel, maybe it’ll be the first one involving SAP – definite hole in the market there.

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        1. Matt Fraser Post author

          Hehehe, Rick, perhaps someday I’ll write something with SAP in it, a techno-thriller involving hackers spoofing encryption schemes, and taking advantage of old ITS installations to… wait, that’s actually happened.

          Yeah, when I started in McMurdo, only the station manager, the Navy CO, and the science tech had email access — and only email access. I had been on the old ARPAnet in years gone by before then, but Internet access was still text-based — Lynx was around, but otherwise it was FTP and TELNET and email, and that was about it. We didn’t have access to the telephone network, either, and once the planes stopped flying for winter, there was no snail-mail. It was possible to make a satellite phone call, with terrible audio quality and frequently dropped connections, with several days’ advance reservation and a cost of $10/minute. Two winters later, things had already changed dramatically, with a phone in every dorm room and the capability to call the US for $0.35/minute, with a very good connection, and everyone had email. We had by then heard about this thing called the World Wide Web, but there was no access to that yet from McMurdo. Now I understand they have real-time ATMs for cash (that horrifies me), and while you might not be able to stream videos, you can certainly browse the web and more from there. Not nearly as isolating as it used to be. No, no McDonalds, nor any other private venture there, at least not in my day. Perhaps today, I don’t know.

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  5. Steffi Warnecke

    So… I read this BIF some days ago directly after you had published it, but it took me till today to kind of process it to form a more elaborate comment than “HOLY SH*T, MATT! This is awesome!!! 😯 “

    I mean, what the heck?! You’ve done so much with and in your life already (kind of reminds me of Craigs BIF a lot) and I’m so impressed with it. Through our little conversations via status messages and in other threads I already knew you must have seen a lot of the world, but I really didn’t expect this long list. ^^

    Your style of writing is right up my alley, too, and while reading I was thinking “He could easily write a whole book about this, that would be so much fun to read.” just to learn at the end in the questions section, that you’re writing one! Can you share the synopsis? I think I’d buy it either way just to see what kind of world and athmosphere you create when you have a lot more pages to fill.

    SCN is like a great extended family sometimes — we annoy each other, we help each other, we grumble about each other, we can’t do without each other. At the end of the day, we need each other. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    SCN in a nutshell. ^^ Love it.

    This was definitly worth the wait and I’m happy that I played my little part in getting you FINALLY to share these amazing stories! 😎

    Regards,

    Steffi.

    PS: Still not enough to get me on Twitter though. πŸ˜›

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    1. Matt Fraser Post author

      You know, the funny thing is that most of the time I don’t feel like I’ve done very much. For one thing, most of my life has just sort of ‘happened,’ not much was really planned. Well, a few things were, but not like years in advance or anything. It’s only when I write it down like this that I think to myself, you know, maybe I haven’t been quite the wastrel that I tend to think. It’s really a very good exercise, to write one’s own biography; I recommend it for everyone! It’s therapeutic. The corollary to this is something my wife said to me a couple weeks ago. She mentors several people in her work who are earlier in their careers than we are, and she told one of them who was struggling to find his way to write his resume as he would like it to appear in a year’s time, then to seek out opportunities that would make that resume come true. Very good advice, for our lives as well as our careers, and something perhaps that I should do, though I can’t quite figure out the path to “independently wealthy world-traveling jet-setter.”

      The synopsis is currently super-secret. But picture, if you will, exotic locales and shady characters, mystery, suspense, and intrigue, brooding leads with troubled pasts and alluring romantic interests with more than a strong hint of danger about them; everyone seeking advantage in an atmosphere of distrust while trying to escape a threatening situation beyond their control; romance lost, regained, and lost again in a time of war; a selfish antihero who is redeemed by love and commits a selfless act of heroism to save the day. Oh wait, I just described the plot of Casablanca. My work is far more prosaic than that.

      Still, thank you for your very encouraging words. I’ve actually been in a slump for a couple weeks, overtaken by ‘real life’ commitments and not making much progress, but like the poor colonel egged on by his general, whose team is already over-committed and getting nowhere in a hopeless cause, I shall redouble my efforts! My readers need me! Well, they don’t know yet that they need me, but they will! I owe it to them to get the d*mn thing done. πŸ˜‰

      P.S. There’s still time enough for Twitter…

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  6. Steffi Warnecke

    Since the iPad hates writing comments to blogs, I need to re-type and finish the comment on my laptop at home… -.-


    For me that sounded like a classic James Bond plot, but Casablanca is okay, too, I guess. *g*

    TSCHAKA! You can do it!!

    I think being at the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time is just as much part of life as the things we hope and plan for ourselves. And sometimes it takes and needs that coincidence to guide you to something, that you would have otherwise missed and now love and couldn’t think of not having in your life.

    But luck, chance, coincidence just lead you somewhere. If you (can) stay there on the other hand is entirely up to you and how much effort you put into it. At least that’s my way of seeing it.

    Being where and who I am today was influenced a lot by chance. I can make a nice string for my worklife from school days to today just by that. But each time I got to the next step, it was hard work and my curiosity and love for what I do that made me stay (or “they” keep me ^^).

    So what I really wanted to say, I guess, is: You’re not alone with the “life just kinda happened”- thing. πŸ˜€

    “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”



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      1. Matt Fraser Post author

        Not identified precisely as such, though maybe there should be! There are bars, however. When I was there, McMurdo had four bars during the summer, which would close down to just one in winter (and, for a while, two), and two miles away at New Zealand’s Scott Base there was another one. That one was closer to being more like a pub, but I don’t think there was any Guinness on tap. πŸ™‚

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  7. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Well, well, well, what do we have here… Mr. Antarctic Fireman Fancy Sailboat Owner. πŸ™‚ Didn’t see it coming… It’s nice that other SCN members are such noble people capable of celebrating others’ success while it just makes me green with envy.  Although being an avid couch potato I’d have to claim that Sheraton Hilton Separation Anxiety is a legitimate medical condition that excuses me from ever trying to climb any mountains or visit locations that are not within 50-mile radius from at least a 3-star hotel.

    But picture, if you will, exotic locales and shady characters, mystery, suspense, and intrigue, brooding leads with troubled pasts and alluring romantic interests with more than a strong hint of danger about them; everyone seeking advantage in an atmosphere of distrust while trying to escape a threatening situation beyond their control; romance lost, regained, and lost again in a time of war; a selfish antihero who is redeemed by love and commits a selfless act of heroism to save the day.

    So, basically, it’s a book about the SAP consulting, right? 😈

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    1. Matt Fraser Post author

      Jelena, yep, you’ve busted me. I’m writing an exposé. πŸ˜†

      I’m a big fan of comfortable couches (while winter camping my friends and I would typically carve a bench out of snow and line it with foam sleeping pads, angled to face the view of Mt Rainier while brewing up hot coffee or passing the brandy).

      Luxurious hotels, too, for that matter (we once lugged a keg up to our campsite and set it up inside an 11′ diameter igloo that took us a few hours to build; everyone gathered inside, seated around the keg, trying to ignore the drip from so much gathered body heat slowly melting the inside of the igloo, but happy to be out of the wind).

      All kidding aside, there were no mountains climbed this year. I planned to take my nephew up Mt Adams this past summer, but in the spring I hurt my knee, and I’m still recovering, so I barely even got any decent hikes in. My next physical therapy appointment is Monday. Ah, advancing age… Or perhaps it’s a bit too much time on that couch with the potato chips and cashew nuts, and not enough time in the gym and on the trail. As for the sailboat, every time I review my finances I wonder what the heck I’m doing, no doubt setting myself up to never retire, and wonder if it wouldn’t be wiser to sell it and just go charter once in a while instead. Then I get on board and all my doubts vanish… it’s my happy place. So what if I’ll still be working when I’m 80…

      In a few months I’ll be traveling home to New Zealand for the first time in sixteen years, visiting relatives and some of the old haunts, but there will be no youth hostels and backpackers lodges this time around. Nope, comfortable hotels, all the way. Hitchhiking around the country? I did that in my youth, when I had more time than money and a keen sense of adventure. This time I’ll have a rental car and/or ride the train, and I’ll be happy for it.

      I’m still waiting eagerly for your book that we talked about. πŸ˜‰

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  8. Raphael Pacheco

    Wow! 😯

    What incredible blog, guy!

    You climbed even all that? Amazing! I always wanted to climb, but never had the opportunity πŸ™

    As for sailing, man, I lived doing it (I lived 10 years on an island in Rio de Janeiro).

    Do you like fishing too?


    Good weekend to you πŸ˜€


    Raphael Pacheco.

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    1. Matt Fraser Post author

      Raphael, thanks!

      I haven’t done a lot of climbing in the last few years, due in part to simply not having enough time to train properly, and having to make tough decisions between equally time- (and money-) consuming hobbies (climbing – sailing – climbing – sailing… hmmm), and a bit of creaky knee syndrome that’s been bothering me for the past year. My “peak-bagging” list is quite small, really. For folks from outside the Pacific Northwest, Rainier is probably the only mountain you’d have heard of that I’ve summitted.

      Always good to hear from another sailor! What kind of boats did/do you sail on? As for fishing… well, I like eating them. A lot, actually. In fact, this is where my wife and I are perfect partners. I don’t care much for cleaning fish, but she’s fine with it, whereas she doesn’t much like the actual catching of them, but I’m fine with that part, and we both like eating them. However, we have other friends who go fishing and crabbing a lot more than we do, and we enjoy helping them with their “I have too much salmon” problem once in a while.

      Cheers,

      Matt

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      1. Raphael Pacheco

        I used to sail on fishing boats (trawlers type and small boats) and sometimes with friends, on yachts.Never sailed with sailboats, it should be very good one day when you have time come back to do this.

        As for fishing, also gave a stop in this rush to go back and forth I have not had time. πŸ™

        When you come to Brazil (which by the way has many wonderful places to do this, modesty part in Rio de Janeiro πŸ˜› ) let me know πŸ˜‰


        Cheers,


        Raphael Pacheco.

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