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The Fluther Interview: gggritso

2:58 pm

George, or gggritso as he’s better known has crept his way into the Fluther regulars list. He has quite a few things going for him here on Fluther: smarts (nanotechnology engineering sounds complicated for a reason), an accent (he’s Canadian Russian), good looks and hygiene (look below), and most importantly his heart is in the right place.  If you haven’t already done so, check out his Lurve Blog where he gives back to the community by writing posts about individual Flutherites.

Fluther's Avatar How did you find Fluther and what made you stay?

I discovered it while browsing Lifehacker. I got sucked in by the clean design, the intricate attention to details and the deft use of JavaScript (I was doing web development at the time). I quickly discovered the chat room, and found myself spending way too much time in it, meeting new people and talking about random things. Like so many others, I also found myself completely addicted to the community and the sense of gratification that comes from helping a fellow human being.

Fluther's AvatarWhat other websites do you frequent besides Fluther?

gggritso's Avatar I’ve been trying to go on a bit of an internet diet lately, cutting out web surfing and focusing more on sorting out personal goals and priorities, so I’ve cut my browsing to a few websites. They are: Twitter, Lifehacker, Uncrate (awesome swag for guys), Reddit and TED. TED in particular has been borderline life-changing.

Fluther's AvatarWhat is your favourite TED talk?

gggritso's Avatar I love Tim Ferriss’ talk “Smash fear, learn anything” I think Tim is an extraordinary individual, which becomes evident in the video. His story is an incredible testament to what you can accomplish when you systematically attack personal faults and challenge assumptions.

Fluther's AvatarWhen did you move from Russia? We’re eager to know a bit about your life there.

gggritso's Avatar I arrived in Canada on November 28th, 2001. It was late in the evening, we were all extremely tired and I saw a Lincoln Towncar for the first time in my life. There were many reasons to move; as much as I gush about Russia the country isn’t exactly perfect. My parents wanted a better life for my brother and me, and so they went through the lengthy and complicated process of immigration. Rampant corruption, the army, uncertain future – there were many push factors. It wasn’t hard for me, it wasn’t really anything. I don’t think I’ve ever come to a full realization of exactly what happened.

I spent every summer of my life at my Grandma’s cottage south of Moscow, until the age of 18. Some of the best memories from my childhood are left there. At 18 years old I could very well get drafted, which isn’t exactly a risk anyone wants to take. I can come back safely when I’m 27, or I could fiddle seriously with my dual-citizenship to avoid problems.

In Russia I lived in a city called Krasnodar. It’s about a two-hour drive away from Sochi, the site of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. I don’t know when I’ll be able to go back to Russia, but I want to. I won’t have a break from school longer than two weeks until I’m 23. I want to go back, at some point. My grandparents are still there, my aunt is still there, and so is my brother.

Fluther's AvatarCanada or Russia: Where does your loyalty lie?

gggritso's Avatar This is an enormously difficult question. I’m at a point where roughly half my life has been in Canada, and the other half in Russia. I love Canada, and am grateful for the opportunities it opened for me. I’m a proud citizen. On the other hand, I feel a strong patriotism toward Russia, and the way it has raised me. There is something entirely indescribable about it; the entire country has a taste, a smell, a feeling, a soul. You can’t know it unless you were raised there. I bleed red, white and blue, but look through maple leaf-shaped pupils.

Fluther's AvatarWhat is one place in the world that you really want to travel to?

gggritso's Avatar Japan, just because I feel like it’s a place I need to experience at some point in my life.

Fluther's AvatarWhat would you consider your oddest talent?

gggritso's Avatar I either have too many talents or none at all. Throughout my life I’ve picked up and ditched so many things; from skateboarding and bouldering to airplane models and coding. In the end, I’m some sort of jack of all trades, but mediocre in every single one.  Maybe my odd talent is learning new skills and abandoning them?

Fluther's AvatarWhy nanotech? Did you know much about it prior to entering school? How did you move from that to Android Dev?

gggritso's Avatar Nanotechnology is the study of things that are 1,000,000,000 times smaller than you, and the interesting ways in which these things behave. Matter at that scale displays unexpected behaviour which we try to take advantage of. I chose to go into this field for two reasons: it’s a mix of topics that I am strong in (chemistry, physics and math) while being exciting and having incredible potential in the future. I now realize that I knew nothing about it going in, it was just a buzzword. I wasn’t sure if I’d be making vein-traversing bacteria chariots or spill-resistant pants. My University program alternates work terms with study terms; right now I’m working full time. Nanotechnology jobs are rare – most students end up with peripheral placements; I have a good background in programming and so I ended up doing consulting work. My job happens to demand that I work with Android (an operating system for smartphones like the Google Nexus One), Google Wave and many other interesting technologies. I’m not planning to switch into Computer Science or Software Engineering anytime soon though.

Fluther's AvatarIf you could create a nanobot right now and had the technology what would your first one do and where would it do it?

gggritso's Avatar The engineer in me says that I have to use my knowledge to help society, so I should probably make nanobots that seek out and attack cancerous cells. Or perhaps I should create a collection of nanobots living in your brain which make you orgasm whenever you hear the word “pancake”?

Fluther's AvatarHow much time do you have left before you can get a full time job in your profession? What kind of work would you be doing for the rest of your life?

gggritso's Avatar No one knows. The applications are incredibly many and vague. I could potentially get a fabrication job straight out of undergrad, or I could get a Ph.D. and move into research, or anything in between. It’s all very uncertain. We’re all a little concerned.

Fluther's AvatarWhat’s the most beautiful mathematics equation and why?

gggritso's Avatar Euler’s Formula is the most beautiful to me. It’s simple and its applications are incredibly pervasive in engineering. Imaginary numbers and exponentials show up a lot more than I expected, and this equation becomes indispensable. Besides, it leads to the Euler Identity, which is one of the most elegant statements in math. Richard Feynman agrees. Esoteric concepts-ho!

Fluther's AvatarWith the current controversial health care discussion in America, there’s a lot of debate about the Canadian style of health care. What’s your opinion? Do you like/hate it? Have you heard any horror stories? Do you know people who go to USA to get their treatment?

gggritso's Avatar Last winter my dad broke his hip joint while skiing. He was in the hospital for a few weeks and had to get a very expensive operation. The bill was absolutely obscene. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if we weren’t in Canada. I have not heard of a single person complain, really, and neither of anyone going to the U.S. for any kind of health-care. I’m extremely grateful for the peace of mind this system provides.

Fluther's AvatarYou are very knowledgeable and passionate about music. Who are your favorites and which new bands and artists excite you?

gggritso's Avatar This is a difficult question, and I’m not going to make recommendations. Right now I’m in a stage when my music tastes are changing; I find myself listening to more and more electronic and alternative music (Royksopp, Emancipator, Air France). I’ve found a particular interest in it because it redefines what music is while coming closer to the root of what music does. It’s ethereal and it’s strange – yet somehow it manages to be music in its purest form. It’s a sequence of sounds that evokes powerful emotions. That’s something to be excited about.

Fluther's AvatarWhy are there 3 g’s to your username? Also, how do you say your username when you say it out loud?

gggritso's Avatar My username has a short and boring history; it’s the automatically generated ID I was given by my University when I enrolled. I’ve never really considered how it’s supposed to be pronounced, but if you’re anything like my roommates you pronounce it “GUH-GUH-GRITSO-O-O-O-O!” Yes, you have to yell.

Fluther's AvatarIt is very well known throughout the Collective that you take many showers. What brand of soap and/or shampoo do you use?

gggritso's Avatar Head & Shoulders with Level 2000. Controversial, I know.

Fluther's AvatarWhat’s your favorite life lesson or quote?

gggritso's Avatar My favourite life quote is a lyric from the song “Dove Nets” by The Main Drag. The line is “No such thing is a short recovery.” The song in its entirety is vague, but that line stands out. It reminds me not to get discouraged, and appreciate the small steps requires to progress as a person.

Fluther's AvatarIs there something you would like to say to the Fluther community?

Thank you for everything.

Fluther's AvatarThank you for taking the time to answer these questions!

Thank you to Grisaille, Dog, J0E, whatthefluther, timtrueman, Allie and everyone else for contributing questions!