Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

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Martin Blank
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Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by Martin Blank » Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:12 am

It's been a while since I really let a lot of you know what's going on with me. A handful of you are friends on Facebook or contacts in G+ or even follow me on Twitter. (Why? Why do people keep following me? Good God, some of those who add me are people in whose presence I would largely just twitch.)

In 2010, I was asked to participate in a wedding by a long-time friend. At the rehearsal, I kind of wandered around, not knowing most of the people, and then saw the Best Man talking with his fiancee. I immediately thought, "Someday, I'd like to have a girl like that." She and I were paired up in the wedding party due to our height, talked a ton at the rehearsal dinner, and a few months later, we were dating. (Her relationship with said Best Man was already on the rocks well before we met.)

In November 2012, I moved to the Dallas area. NirvanaCat13 (as she's technically known here--she has an account and her real name is Cat) and I got married on March 7, 2013. (There's a significance there, but I'll let you figure it out.) The wedding was incredibly fun for everyone, guest and participant alike, and we made sure that it would be memorable for all. No kids yet, but they are planned. We bought what we think is a very nice house in the Dallas suburbs in the spring of 2014, with some plans to improve it a bit: the theater room will get a screen somewhere between 95 and 105 inches and Dolby Atmos sound. We did get a kitten recently, though the preexisting, 15-year-old cat is not amused. Hopefully that will pass, and Rum-Tum and Traffic (the kitten, so named because that's literally where we found him: in traffic) will get along. Cat also wants to get a dog at some point, but we need to calm down the cats first.

On the career side, I've made a point for years of setting goals to move on to the next point. I wanted to become a sysadmin in the late 90s, and I got there. Soon after, I wanted to get into network security, and I did that in 2004. After a while, I wanted to become a penetration tester, and I did that in 2012, coinciding with the move to Dallas. My goal as of 2014 was to work for a particular boutique security company (small companies that only do security, and largely high-end work). The target: by 2019, maybe 2018 if I really pushed myself. A not-entirely-sober exchange on Twitter around late January 2015 led me to submit my resume, and a few weeks later, in February, I was offered a job. I later learned who I beat out for the job (not going to say who), and I was--and still am--stunned. Saying these guys keep me on my toes is like saying that the Thunderbirds keep the new pilots on their toes.

Aside from that, I'm the Chief Technical Officer for a relatively new Dallas-area makerspace called TheLab.ms. I don't fly as much as I would like (and am in fact lapsed from my biennial which was due last November), but that will hopefully be changing here soon. We have plans to pay off our house by 2028, after which we start looking at at least fractional aircraft ownership, maybe even going multi-engine.

So there you have it: the last few years of my life in a nutshell.
If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.

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Cyberliger777
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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by Cyberliger777 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:46 am

I hate you for your success. Just kidding. Not really.

Great to hear things have gone so well for you over the years.
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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by Rorschach » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:14 am

I want to be a penetration tester!

Nice synopsis. It all works out in the end, doesn't it? Sometimes you have to wait awhile but it does all work out. I wish we could post to 2003 and let ourselves know that.
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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by FirebirdNC » Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:34 pm

I hope to one day make it to your area and meet Cat in person. I have super enjoyed our interactions on Facebook and she seems like someone I would really enjoy hanging out with. Plus I totally want to lay on the floor in your library and just bask in it haha. While I am envious of your life track it is so nice to see good people working had and getting ahead as it should be.
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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by Hirschof » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:31 pm

Good lord... I don't even have this week planned out. I think we're having pork loin tonight. Maybe.

Glad to hear you're living a good one.
Rorschach wrote:I want to be a penetration tester!
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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by Dr. Tower » Tue Jun 23, 2015 2:24 am

I can honestly say that I'm glad things are going so well for you. Of course, since you got to the point you had set for yourself to achieve by 2018/19, the question is, do you have your next point identified? Maybe pick up the Ph.D? :)
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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by Cyberliger777 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 3:55 am

Dr. Blank... I don't know if that really rolls off the tongue.
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Martin Blank
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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by Martin Blank » Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:49 pm

Dr. Tower wrote:I can honestly say that I'm glad things are going so well for you. Of course, since you got to the point you had set for yourself to achieve by 2018/19, the question is, do you have your next point identified? Maybe pick up the Ph.D? :)
Actually....no. No clue where I go from here, at least career-wise. I had considered the possibility of going back to the defensive side of security because I like doing things like architecture reviews and incident handling, but we actually do that where I work, so I've got that going for me. I've thought about going back to school and getting a degree in something that I just find interesting like military history or political science, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be.

We have a plan to get the house paid off by 2028 and then buy a nice plane, but other than that and kids (which might skew the mortgage thing a bit), we're kind of stuck for plans. But I'm OK with that for now.
If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.

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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by raptor9k » Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:31 pm

Kids will most definitely skew the mortgage payoff and or savings. Probably not too terribly but I'd budget at least $1k a month, depending on where you live, between daycare/formula/diapers.
I'm putting my talents and skills to use for a business so that I receive compensatory funds that I may then choose to spend and invest and save as I see fit. If I choose to blow it all on hookers and Dr. Seuss books, I don't see how that means you owe me a comfortable retirement. - Deacon

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Martin Blank
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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by Martin Blank » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:08 pm

Daycare isn't such a problem, as I work from home and Cat's schedule is somewhat flexible. It will probably still be used, but not to the degree that some other people use it. We've also been trimming many of our expenses to boost the overall savings rate and still have more we can go. Plus, our plans don't include raises for anyone (we plan conservatively), and odds are strong that I'll be getting raises along the way and Cat is looking at a potential job that will boost her pay by a potentially significant amount.
If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.

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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by raptor9k » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:28 pm

In my experience, I wouldn't count working from home as a bonus toward childcare. It's really not effective during the years where daycare would be necessary. Even working from home, from a dedicated office, with my wife taking care of my 2 year old is a major distraction. The flexible schedule will be awesome though. My wife is a Speech Therapist and has a fairly flexible schedule depending on her case load. It makes doctor's appointments and other necessities a little easier to deal with.

Overall it's not that large a burden though if you make decent money. We bought the wife a new 2015 Highlander Limited AWD this year and I should be able to pay it and my 2012 Jayco 5th wheel off in 3 years. With tax returns and bonuses I could probably shave it to 2.5 years. Then the house should be paid in another 3 years. Before the kid I could've done it all in 4.5-5 years I think. I could trim the monthly budget quite a bit more but it's just not worth it to me.
I'm putting my talents and skills to use for a business so that I receive compensatory funds that I may then choose to spend and invest and save as I see fit. If I choose to blow it all on hookers and Dr. Seuss books, I don't see how that means you owe me a comfortable retirement. - Deacon

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Re: Getting to know (the current) Martin Blank

Post by NorthernComfort » Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:40 am

MB, I loved hearing the recap. I glean bits and pieces via FB but it's not the same as having you sit down and tell the story in your own words.

Cheers to our benevolent dictator for life! I hope you get some hours up in the sky, though. I always thought that was the coolest hobby. Well, that and being successful in the tech world!
"I guess I have a gift for expressing pedestrian tastes. In a way, it's kind of depressing." -Bill Watterson

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