“Stressed Out” – by Twenty One Pilots

It’s strange the things you remember and the things you don’t. It makes no sense at all. I can remember getting only 1 thing wrong on my driving test (not stopping before a crosswalk when pulling out of a parking lot) yet I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night.

I get posts all the time from the “You know you’re from Kenosha when…” Facebook page, and they often bring back memories of things I thought I had long forgotten. Recently someone posted an old photo of “Old Market Square”, the shiopping center at 85th Street and Sheridan Road in Kenosha that used to be “Topps” before that. It’s now the Kenosha County Job Center. I remember when the DMV was there, and when Funway Freeway was there, the Old Market Square Theaters, and mastering the pinball machine “Black Knight”, then earning and setting all of the credits I racked up on it.

I’m 52 now. I was that “pinball wizard” back when I was 17 or 18, working as a dishwasher at The Elks Club (now Heritage House, but long abandoned and neglected, but soon to be restored). After Hight School I went on to Gateway to get an Associate Degree in Computers. At some point, my dad got me a job at his work, AMC/Chrysler, as a security guard. I worked there 5 years before I was let go along with thousands of other workers as they shut down auto manufacturing in Kenosha. Who knows how long I might have stayed there if they hadn’t… After that, I got a job at ITO Industries as a Laboratory Technician. It wasn’t exactly a computer job, but it was technical, so a bit more to my liking. And, as it turned out, it became a computer job after all. When I started there, their lab was doing all of their chemical tests using a calculator for all of the formulas, bath adds, etc., and logging all of their results and changes in notebooks. After working there a short time, I quickly realized a huge need for an application that could do all of the calculations and logging for them, and even take that data much further with charting and trending.

I worked on it at home, in my spare time, and it wasn’t long before I had a working program to show them. Management was pretty impressed, and agreed to purchase the application. I chose to keep the rights to the application, intending to sell it to other circuit board manufacturers. I ended up doing just that, and thought it worked out pretty nicely. In the end, I had rewritten the entire application 2 more times. Version 1 was DOS-based. version 3 was the last, and included many more features and functionality than version 1 had, and was now Windows-based. Getting and keeping it running on all the different Windows variations at the time was a bit tricky though, and as Windows evolved, I wasn’t able to continue to keep the application (called “MicroChemLab” or “Microlab” for short) up-to-date and running on newer hardware and newer versions of Windows. I just didn’t have the time to continue developing it.

I eventually got hired by another circuit board shop, CirQon, in Gurnee, IL, and left ITO. I was brought in with the understanding that I would bring my application with me and adapt and implement it fully for their operation. This worked out great, and my employment there lasted until the company went out of business several years later. After that I finally landed a PC Tech job–something that was actually in my field of interest! And the rest, as they say, is history.

Why I wrote this, I have no idea. I guess I just wanted to see how much I actually remembered. There’s a lot more in-between stuff I skipped over, and I’m always digging back there, pulling out old odd and ends when they seem necessary in my ongoing journal I keep, so this certainly isn’t all I remember of “the good ole days”, but it’s enough for a decent blog entry. And it reminds me of a song I like. See the title of this blog entry.

Author: Jim

2 thoughts on ““Stressed Out” – by Twenty One Pilots

  1. Wow… Just reading this brought back many memories! I remember you working at AMC, I remember so much from back then. I remember a theater being in the building that has the job center in it now. I also remember the arcade! I remember watching you and Hans working on the Atari’s. To this day when people asked me how I know so much about computers, I tell them that my uncle and his friend were big into them and ever sence I can remember, if I was quiet, I could stay in the room and watch…. That’s how I learned…..
    I remember wanting to go over by gramps every weekend and being so excited to go to bed late at night with grandpa and watch the old gangster movies…. Then wake up Saturday and hit the flea market and garage sales…. Wow… Memories…. Most of the best to!

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