KatieJRod's Blog

the Benefits and the 401(k)

KatieJRod Dec 28, 2012

"It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time."
– Winston Churchill

To summarize my career path in one word, I'd say it's ERRATIC.

When I was in kindergarten I wanted to be a hair stylist. That way my Mom would let me cut my Barbie dolls' hair without consequence. 

When I was in first grade I wanted to win the lottery. My teacher Mrs. Strach often assigned my smarty-pants-self extra credit, but I never did any of it. I didn't want to work a day in my life.

When I was in third grade I started to grow up (just a little) and decided I wanted to be a teacher. I have Mr. LaMont to thank for that - he was superb. He taught me how to write in cursive and for that I am thankful.

When I was in fourth grade I saw Jurassic Park and decided paleontology was my destiny. I did so many school research projects on the topic...

When I was in high school, however, my love for Harry Potter escalated exponentially. My twin Jill and I decided we were going to build Hogwarts one day and open it as a family resort. We spent a lot of our free time drawing schematics of the Castle and its grounds based on information set forth in the books.

It was then that we realized we needed more technical career paths. And so it was decided that one of us would become an architect and the other an engineer. We took technical design courses at our high school with the one-and-only Mr. Kobler and he truly helped us get our start.

After it all, though, we both ended up in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. In April of this year Jill graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering (with an Electrical minor) and I a degree in Electrical Engineering. 

But as most of you know, I developed a sincere passion for music journalism throughout my time at school. So much so that I decided to pursue it as a career after graduation instead of engineering. I went to work for Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio directly after graduation and was certain the rest would be history.

It proved to be a brief history. One thing led to another which led to another which led to another and after only the one summer in Toronto I returned to the great state of Michigan. 

And now, if you can believe it, I am employed by Nissan Motor Company. I am an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) Controls Design Engineer at the Nissan Technical Center of North America. I have a cubicle and a salary and health insurance and a 401(k). Look at me being an adult! Who'd have thought? 

Photo by patterbt on flickr.

So what is it that I do at Nissan? Well, you know the buttons and knobs you use to control the temperature and fan speed of air blowing in your car? I contribute to the design and function of those b's and kn's and the logic behind them. It might not seem THAT interesting, but it is honestly FASCINATING. There's so much more to HVAC controls than I ever considered.

Photo from NissanUSA.com.

In actuality, there's so much more to Nissan... to the automotive industry... to engineering in general than I ever considered. And so I propose my next 365-day project: 365 Days of Engineering. Whatever engineering-related news catches my attention during the day, I will share with you! From January 1 to December 31 in the grand year of 2013 I hope to ignite your curiosity into the world of engineering :)


Thanks so much for the support everyone! Unfortunately I have discontinued this 365 Project for the time being. Between the 10+ hours a day I spend at work, the 2+ hours I spend in the car for my commute, and the endless time I spend on all of my personal responsibilities, I don't have enough time to get online every day! Perhaps this can be continued another time...

An Ode for Collide With The Sky

KatieJRod Jul 17, 2012

An Ode for Collide With The Sky:
A Rhymed Track-by-Track Look Pierce The Veil's New Album "Collide With The Sky"

If you follow my blog then odds are you've read
A love note I wrote sometime near last year's end
I professed my love, without shame, without fail
I could only speak highly of Pierce The Veil
And now that they have a new record in stores
I've written a poem that by rhyme will explore
My thoughts on each track of Collide With The Sky
A disc worth five stars - a straight arrow bullseye

Track One is a message from the band to you
Short, to the point, total seconds: eighty-two
"Hello! We're Pierce The Veil and we'd like to know
Are you ready!? Ready to get up and go?!"

Track Two is the answer: "You don't have a choice.
Get up! On your feet! It's time to lose your voice!"
Alone, in a crowd, wherever you're stationed
This song's a jam - four minute liberation
A testament to their musical talents
Their gusto and, of course, their great endurance
The guys: they're too good, this song so ambitious
Seeing this live is now one of my wishes

Track Three is written about Vic's ex-girlfriend
Who overcame cancer, her wounds they did mend 
Now immortalized in A Match In Water
Hundreds of thousands sing along about her

Track Four, oh if I were a King For A Day
I'd declare: by this song, my kingdom is saved
It awakens the body, also the mind
One wonders "won't you push me for the last time?"
I cannot sit still, I cannot even rest
The band brings it all, as does their special guest
Thank you Kellin and co. for the divine tune
And for bringing your A-game to the Warped Tour

Track Five, you poor thing, I must apologize
I had Four on repeat for so long you'd cry
But now that you're on I hear you loud and clear
You sound oh so sexy and oh so sincere

Track Six, while slower than the previous five 
Is still a dece track to keep the crowd alive
Like The Balcony Scene then Bulletproof Love
Props And Mayhem fits the album like a glove
And what is the deal? I'm only halfway through?
There's still six tracks to go, all shiny and new
And you know once I get to the very end
The only thing to do is begin again

Track Seven, another to feature a guest
And once again, Vic, you genius, you're the best
You found a voice that sounds perfect in tandem
With Jason this has to appease your fandom

Track Eight starts, I don't want the intro to stop
The first eighteen seconds are too good to top
But the first verse kicks in, the song takes its stride
This record is too good and my palms collide

Track Nine, The First Punch, what a suitable name
Let's open the crowd, now's no time to be tame
I'm a lady, but I'll bring it to the pit
'Round in circles we'll go - the band never quits
Your body is free to move as you may please
Personally I like to get on my knees
And thank God for Mike, Jaime, Tony, and Vic
The Fearless band with their rad Mexicore hits

Track Ten thanks so much for joining the party
By now I've lost all trace of my dignity
If you came for critique you won't see it here
Each track is stellar and each one I revere

Track Eleven chorus: you said it, not I
Please repeat: "Oh my God, this is paradise."
And you took a cliche, inspired this girl
When you turned the phrase "I'm gonna change the world"
The way the songs flow through you, then into me
Is more than a gift, I think it's a blessing
How do you master the stringing together
Of such sublime music? The cleverest words?

Track Twelve, I'm quite sorry that it took so long
For us to get to you, the very last song
But like all good endings, you're well worth the wait!
A beautiful kiss at the end of a date.

Collide With The Sky, you are raising the bar
For a band that has already come so far
If you haven't yet got it, buy it up quick
This album is brilliant, a number one pick


Rhyming aside, this album is legitimately INCREDIBLE. Pierce The Veil has once again outdone themselves and I am proud to say that I am a fan. 

Counting down the hours to Pierce The Veil's release of Collide With The Sky...

KatieJRod Jul 16, 2012

In the hours leading up to the debut of their third studio album, Pierce The Veil is releasing unlisted YouTube videos of each track from Collide With The Sky. They started at 12noon with the first track and will release the final song at midnight to coincide with the official album release!

So far we have:

1. May These Noises Startle You In Your Sleep Tonight

2. Hell Above (featured story on NoiseCreep.com)

3. A Match Into Water (featured story on Keep-A-Breast.com)

4. King For A Day (featured story on Buzzworthy.MTV.com)

5. Bulls In The Bronx

6. Props & Mayhem (featured story & contest on Buzznet.com)

And the rest is yet to come! Keep an eye on Facebook.com/PierceTheVeil for the remaining tracks:

7. Tangled In The Great Escape (featured story on AltPress.com)
8. I'm Low On Gas And You Need A Jacket
9. The First Punch
10. One Hundred Sleepless Nights
11. Stained Glass Eyes And Colorful Tears
12. Hold On Till May

40 days and counting...

KatieJRod Jul 08, 2012

Hello friends! 

I haven't said much about my life for a while. In fact, there is very little USEFUL information that you can piece together from the few posts I have made recently. As such, I would like to give you a more solid post on how I am doing these days:

To summarize: I am not satisfied in life right now. Some may think I am being ungrateful, but when push comes to shove I am simply unwilling to settle. 

To elaborate: I am presently living and working in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was brought here to be a content developer and social media specialist for Jian Ghomeshi at CBC Radio Station. That, however, is hardly the job I am doing. Although he may beg to disagree, I promise you that what I am doing here is not worthwhile. I will not go into specifics except to say this: I have a strong desire to wear my S.P.E.W. badge.

I came here with the full intention of making it my life's work. One could argue that I threw all my eggs in this basket. But after only nine weeks I know this journey is meant to be a short one. I am slowly pulling my eggs out. I will be moving back to America in six weeks time... 40 days. Again, I will not go into specifics except to say this: I will count down the days to my return home with as much enthusiasm as Harry Potter counts down the days to his return to Hogwarts.

To elaborate further: A series of choices comprise my life. Sometimes I did not have control over the choices (i.e. they were made by my parents, et cetera) and other times I did. The choice to come to Canada was one I made entirely on my own. I gathered information to make a well-informed decision and I followed my instincts across the border. When I got here at the start of May I was delighted to be out in the world on my own. To be independent. To have graduated from college. To have found someone (Jian) who wanted me on their team.

But I'd be lying if I said it's been a seamless transition. I have been constantly at war with myself, trying to determine whether or not coming to Toronto was the right choice. But I cannot second-guess the decision to come here any longer, seeing as I am already here. All I can hope is that it is the right choice to leave. I have put forth my notice of resignation and will be out of here shortly.

Some would argue that I am throwing away a great opportunity. After all, Jian Ghomeshi is one of Canada's most revered broadcasters (and according to Hello! Magazine, one of Canada's most beautiful people) and any tie to him is a good one! Even if the job is not what I want it to be now, it could blossom into something much more a few years down the road.

But as Jason Mraz sings in Conversation With Myself, "don't believe in anything that is keeping you awake." And I have lost so much time thinking about this whole thing. Great opportunity or not, I no longer feel this is the right fit for me. I am getting out before I spend/waste years (rather than only weeks) of my life on something that is... just not good for me.

I have not yet decided on my next course of action, except that I want to spend a bit of time at home. The separation anxiety I experience from being away from my twin and family is severe and I cannot wait to be reunited with them again. They are the most important entity in my life and I have missed them so.

Any questions? I will happily answer...


KatieJRod Apr 13, 2012

Learn to read.
Learn to write.
Apply yourself. 
Get good grades.
Two years of preschool.
One year of kindergarten.
Twelve years of grade school.
Four years of university studies.
Seventeen years of formal education.

Finally, I have reached the end. After a lifetime of being ushered down the path of prescribed learning I am ready to fall out of line.

April 28, 2012.

A Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan: for most it would mean a golden ticket to whatever technical career they desire. 

General Motors.
Project Manager.
Primary Technician.
Associate Engineer.
You name it.

For me, though, it will become a thing of my past. If I have learned anything over the past four years it is that I am not destined to be an engineer.

So what am I destined for? That has yet to be determined. For all I know, I might never figure that out. But I have decided to test my good fortune in Toronto, Ontario. That’s right my American peers, I am moving to Canada! Not on a whim, of course; I will be working for Jian Ghomeshi, host of Q on CBC Radio One.

In this new job I will serve as an assistant of sorts. My main responsibility is set to generate and maintain strong online content for all of Jian’s brilliant work. *smiles* I have such a good feeling about this. You can't imagine.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering: how did this happen? Seriously Katie: how did you land that job?

If you close your eyes and try to remember way-way back to 2011: I worked with Lights to make a tour video for her song “Siberia”. As Lights’ manager, Jian saw and loved the video; he was very impressed with my work. So impressed, in fact, that when I met him in Toronto in November, he asked if I would come to work for him.

And now here we are. Making all the preparations for this American girl to work in one of Canada’s greatest cities with Canada’s greatest citizens.

I’ve kept it under wraps this long because I was afraid of jinxing it. You all have seen my various opportunities come... and then go... slip right through my fingers. I didn’t want this chance to fall through the cracks like so many other things. And it hasn’t. Glory be.

long time no see.

KatieJRod Mar 07, 2012

Five Years on Buzznet

KatieJRod Feb 20, 2012

This morning I got back from class just in time to watch The Price Is Right. Now that might not sound like an important milestone in life, but I was quite pleased with myself. There have not been many days over the past few years when I’ve been able to get to my television set from 11am to 12noon. *sigh* pity.

As I was watching a woman grossly underbid on a new car, it hit me: today is the twentieth day of February. That’s six days passed Valentine’s Day. Or in other words: six days passed my five-year milestone on Buzznet.

I began to wonder how I had forgotten the anniversary as it was so important to me last year– and was quickly reminded that Buzznet is not at the top of my list at the moment. I previously explained a part of my disappointment a month ago, but never touched back on the subject... some people’s comments, while written with the best intentions, actually made things worse... and I have said little else since.

Hmm. So what to say now? Better yet, what to do now? How can I celebrate this anniversary when it feels like we are a married couple taking time apart? It is a tad awkward, so I shall save the celebration for another time. 

Hmm. So what to say now? I could tell you what’s really on my mind, but I fear it would fall on deaf ears. Hmm. I suppose I’ll just tell you how I am!

I am in a current state of transition. Among friends and family, in school and work, between what I used to know to what I know now. I’m shifting from college-Katie to real-world-Katie because I want to avoid a harsh reality when I graduate at the end of April. My current plans for May and beyond involve a complete change of pace. I am not yet at liberty to discuss details publicly because we have not yet worked out the logistics, but rest assured it will involve a move in both physical and mental capacities.

I will be in a new place with new people and the work I will be doing is not –in any way, shape, or form engineering related. I’ve been so mentally focused on academia for the past 17 years and engineering for the past 6 years; it will be a challenge to be absent of education. Granted, I am a slave to learning, but I won’t have homework or exams or grades. Just work deadlines, which I can wholly manage.

But I’m not afraid. I welcome change, as you all well know. I have been counting down the days to graduation longer than anyone in all my acquaintance. I’ve been waiting for the day when I could be free of this life I’ve been pretending to fit into. I don’t belong where I am. I haven’t for quite some time. But I have found a new niche that will accept me with open arms. And I’m hoping that at least for the next few years I can look forward to nothing but possibility.

So today, I am doing just fine. And things are changing.

An Explanation For My Absence

KatieJRod Jan 23, 2012

Based on your comments, notes, and messages, I gather you’ve noticed my absence on Buzznet lately. There are a few reasons for this, and since I love you all so very much I shall elaborate... I think you’ve been in the dark long enough.

1.) I haven’t been on the internet very much. Instead I’ve been using my free time to watch television. Namely: Fringe. It’s an absolutely brilliant television show. I highly recommend it.

2.) I haven’t been taking many pictures. I’m not exactly sure what I want to shoot right now. I mean, I haven’t been doing much in life worth photographing.

3.) I’d say numbers 1 and 2 comprise of 10% of the reason for my absence. Here’s the other 90%...

I’m quite disappointed in Buzznet.

*sigh* I have been a member of Buzznet for nearly five years and an active Buzznet music journalist for a year-and-a-half. I’ve watched the website mature and even helped develop the newest interface. I have put a lot of my personal resources (time, money, effort, et cetera) into the work I’ve done on and for Buzznet. And I did it all for four main reasons:

-- it’s an incredibly fun and fulfilling experience
-- I have enjoyed building my journalism skills up from nothing
-- I love meeting new people, and my Buzznet/music network is wonderful
-- I knew that the time and money I invested into Buzznet would one day be repaid.

That last one is the real kicker. You see, since my first interview with Jackson Rathbone, the Buzznet staff has hinted at my future employment. “When are you moving to California?!” “You can come work for us!” “You’d be a perfect fit.” “We’ve got a desk with your name on it!” “You’re a pro. You’ll be welcomed with open arms.” Et cetera, et cetera. So I covered show after show, wrote blog after blog, and posted picture after picture because (1) I loved it and (2) I knew that one day all my efforts would be rewarded!

Well, after all this time of being convinced that I could graduate from college and go to work for Buzznet: I have been informed that they were just kidding. They don’t actually have a job for me.

On a scale of one to ten, I’d say that’s grossly disappointing.

So now I am weighing my other options. I want to work in the music industry. Somewhere. But it’s difficult because I don’t even know where to start looking! I don’t have the necessary degree (electrical engineering won’t help me now!) and I only have 17 months of "interning" experience (I was never paid by Buzznet, so it can't count as a job). I’ve sent emails to a few close contacts who may help, but I have no idea how or when they will respond. I’ve applied for some positions, but other people keep beating me out for the jobs. What’s worse is the number of empty job offers I’ve received. People say they want to hire me, and never follow up. It’s heart-breaking because I know I’d be perfect... I just can’t figure out why no one seems to want me.

Well, that’s my story for now. Perhaps I will post more when I am so inspired. But for now I am lacking motivation. And I’d rather not post anything than post something I’m not interested in. As always, though, I'm still smiling :)

P.S. I'm also disappointed in the amount of tabloid journalism that is featured in one day. I don't even look at the Buzznet mainpage anymore.

Hello Good Lookin'! featuring Wilson Bethel

KatieJRod Jan 11, 2012

I've noticed people posting pictures of really really ridiculously good looking fellas (*cough*cough* Bree has an entire photo gallery devoted to them), so I figure it's my turn!

OKAY! so my older sister Anna recently got me hooked on the CW's Hart of Dixie:

Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out - after graduating top of her class from medical school, she'll follow in her father's footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama. Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will... read more here!

Normally I don't start watching new television shows (you all know how busy I am), but I figured I'd give it a shot because she had spoken so highly of it. I sat down to watch the pilot episode and before I knew it I found myself watching all other nine episodes (10 total) in succession. Granted, it's not the best thing I've ever seen, but HoD has this:

Wilson Bethel. Hello.

He's been on a variety of shows during his career, most notably The Young and the Restless, and now he plays Wade Kinsella, the handsome neighbor -slash- bartender of Bluebell, Alabama, on HoD. Wade has a big semi-secret crush on the new doctor in town Zoe Hart (played by Rachel Bilson), so we get to see his adorable puppy dog face whenever she's around:

And we also get to see a lot of this:

Oh yeah. Ohh yeaah. Do you see why I love watching Hart of Dixie, yet? No? Okay, here:

I'd be down for that.

.gifs courtesy of HartOfDixie.tumblr.com

My Love Letter for Pierce The Veil

KatieJRod Dec 10, 2011

When I first heard of Pierce The Veil, I’ll admit: I was soft, so I didn’t like them very much. I looked down upon screamo-tinged music and thought it was only for kids who had black hair and skinny jeans. But as my adolescence came to an end and the real world started slapping me in the face, I began listening to edgier, more driven music than what I could find on the Disney channel.

I went to see Mayday Parade in concert on February 2, 2008, and I was not expecting to enjoy Pierce The Veil, who was the second opening band for the concert headlined by Emery. But when they played a cover of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson, I could not have had more fun singing along. To this day it is one of my favorite covers. My twin sister Jill and I thoroughly enjoyed their set; we bought t-shirts from and got pictures with Jaime soon after they finished.

Over the next couple of months I bought a few of their songs on iTunes, namely “Yeah Boy And Doll Face” “Currents Convulsive” and “The Cheap Bouquet”, and listened to them continuously until I saw Pierce The Veil again at the Warped Tour on July 18, 2008.This time I could sing along to some of their songs and rock out with the big crowd that gathered to watch them. I also invested in a copy of A Flair For The Dramatic in hopes of getting it autographed, but didn’t find the band before I had to leave.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t able to see Pierce The Veil for quite some time. But during their physical absence from my life, their music took hold of my mind. They started to become one of my favorite bands and I could not get enough of their sweet music! When they released Selfish Machines in the summer of 2010, I woke up early to buy it at the store (my presale was delayed, and I wanted the physical copy) and did not stop listening to it all summer! I mean it when I say that it was the only album I listened to for three months in a row. IT’S BRILLIANT.

When the Warped Tour came around on July 30, 2010, I was STOKED to see Pierce The Veil first thing in the morning. And this time I got to meet the guys when they had a signing at the Keep-A-Breast tent. I had them sign inside the album booklet on top of my favorite songs. *sigh* it is definitely one of my favorite keepsakes.

Again, due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t able to see Pierce The Veil for quite some time. But again, their music became more and more prominent in my repertoire. Not a single day goes by that I don’t listen to Pierce The Veil (and not just because “I Don’t Care If You’re Contagious” has been my ringtone for over a year…) and they are proudly one of my five favorite bands of all time. I absolutely love the music they are making.

When I got to photograph their set on the No Guts No Glory Tour this past Thursday, I could not have been happier. In all honesty, I was rather unprofessional in the photo pit because I was singing along and dancing around the entire time I was shooting. They opened up with “The Boy Who Could Fly” “Besitos” and “Disasterology” (the latter of which adorns my apartment hallway because it is Jill’s favorite PTV song)... I could not have stood still if a million dollars were my reward.




Sorry, I couldn’t contain that any longer. And I couldn’t contain it at the show either. I told anyone who would listen how much I love Pierce The Veil. And when they were on stage it probably looked like I was having a standing seizure because my body could not decide how to respond to the excitement of seeing Pierce The Veil in concert. I just *sigh* love them!

And so now that I have proudly edited and shared my pictures with the world, I have only one thing left to do: write a love letter for Pierce The Veil. I’ve never had the chance to chat with them (although now that I am doing tour documentary and live music videos, I would LOVE to work with them), so here’s what I would say:

I play favorites like it’s my part time job. I realize there is enough stuff in the world that you can really choose what suits your interests and pay it the most special of all attention. And Pierce The Veil is far and away one of my favorite bands of all time. I love Jason Mraz. I love The Rocket Summer. And I love you. Oh my goodness do I love your music. Vic, your lyrics are absolutely brilliant and if there’s one thing I’m grateful for in this world it’s that you weren’t born an incomprehensible idiot. The life that you put into words will line my stairway to heaven. You are incredible. Mike, as if your unbelievable talents behind a kit aren’t enough (The Boy Who Could Fly say what?), you love Harry Potter. There is no greater bond between two souls than a love for Harry Potter, end of story. Tony, it’s rare to see someone play guitar so intensely and make it look so effortless. You did a killer job on Selfish Machines and it’s an absolute pleasure to watch you in concert. I also love that you love Star Wars because it makes the bed sheets in my apartment a little cooler. Last but certainly not least: Jaime, I never used to pay attention to the bass part of music until I tried listening to Pierce The Veil in my friend’s car where the bass is nonexistent. With that experience I discovered a newfound respect for the bass line and for you. You’re terrific. Your energy is unrivaled and it’s a joy to watch you play because you smile the whole time! Pierce The Veil, the world would be a grey place if it weren’t for your contributions to it. I am eternally grateful for your efforts and love everything you do. Thank you!

You can see my pictures from the concert here! And maybe next time they are in town I can work more closely with them to bring you something amazing on Buzznet :)

PS. To accurately put me into perspective, I was Mort all night...

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KatieJRod's Profile Picture
KatieJRod (more info)
  • Member Since: 2007-02-14
  • Relationship Status: I believe in fate.
  • Orientation: Straight
  • Drink: No
  • Smoke: No
  • Children: Someday
  • Education: In College
  • Occupation: abacus programmer

About Me:

My name is Katie. "I believe in music the way that some people believe in fairy tales."



Favorite Music:

All Time Low, Anberlin, Boys Like Girls, Cartel, Cheap Trick, Hannah Montana, Hellogoodbye, Jacks Mannequin, Jason Mraz, Justin Nozuka, Keane, Motion City Soundtrack, Parachute, Pierce The Veil, The Beatles, The Doobie Brothers, The Format, The Rocket Summer, There For Tomorrow, Valencia

Favorite Movies:

Aladdin, Cloverfield, Harry Potter, Hot Fuzz, Hot Rod, How To Train Your Dragon, Independence Day, Jurassic Park, Just Friends, Kung Fu Panda, Pirates Of The Caribbean, Pride & Prejudice, Step Brothers, The Little Mermaid, Twilight

Favorite TV Shows:

24, Food Network, Hannah Montana, Phineas and Ferb, Psych, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, The Amazing Race

Favorite Books:

Harry Potter, Oh the Places Youll Go by Dr, Pride and Prejudice, The Night Before Christmas, Twilight