About Candida

CLNWelcome to my little corner of the world! I’ll keep the basics of my life short and sweet.
I grew up in Indiana – not on a farm, so I have no insightful knowledge on soybean production or cattle rearing. I received a higher education in Indiana – at Purdue University to be exact. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical/ Astronautical Engineering with a major in Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics & Control and a minor in Spacecraft Structural Analysis. I sometimes wish I’d stuck it out to earn a Master of Science or a PhD. Would love to be known as Dr.
With degree and job offer in hand, I moved to California to join the ranks of engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a federally funded research and development center and a subsidiary of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). While there, I worked on what’s called Outer Planetary Projects, including the Pluto Fast Flyby Mission, Mars Pathfinder, and New Millenium’s Deep Space One.
JPL is a very cool place to work, filled with smart, unpretentious, over-achievers. It’s inhabited with some of the nicest scientists and engineers you’d ever meet. They play softball, drink, get married, have smart babies and do stupid human tricks just like the rest of the population. I heard enough salacious stories while working there to know, they are just like everyone else – only with higher IQs. I was and still am in awe of them.
The reason I left . . .
Partly because I didn’t enjoy the red tape associated with the congressional approval process – none of which was JPL’s fault. Mostly I left because I wanted to express myself in a more creative environment. As a Spacecraft Systems & Mission Engineer, I did a lot of technical writing using words like Jupiter gravity-assist, mass & power report, launch vehicle, and timeline. All interesting words, but they weren’t floating my boat.
For my second act, I made the jump into the visual effects industry. Some of the films I’ve worked on are Titanic, What Dreams May Come, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Transformers, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and more recently, Gangster Squad and 42. I moved from studio to studio like a good, little vfx artist, and in what spare time I had – VFX is a demanding field with long hours and hectic schedules – I started creative writing again.
When I was growing up, I had three main interests – space exploration, movies, and writing.  Up until the morning I started this blog, I kept my creative writing to myself. It’s very scary putting words out for everyone to read, but I’m glad I did. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy my musings.

51 Comments

  1. You are obviously one of those down to Earth really really smart people too! Though, I have to say those credentials are over the top impressive. My brother is one of those people writing proposals and actually worked in Cleveland (NASA) on one of the super computers. I wish I knew more about what he did there. Started out helping keep the machines running and ended up writing the dreaded proposals.Last time I spoke with him he was working on some top secret project in Texas. Love the picture of you! Love your blog!

    1. Thanks, Beth. I’m having so much fun with it. The responses to my posts have been motivating. Having many ideas, but can only do one at a time!

      1. I know what you mean. My quirky little stuff is getting a lot of attention. It is motivating me to write more and better. I’m always amazed at what inspires me. If I sit down to “write” ideas come at a sloth’s pace. Then boom inspiration hits and I can’t get the ideas out fast enough. I’m so new at this, but my god it I’ve learning so much by just doing! I’m getting over the fear that people won’t like my “deformed babies” and coming to realize somethings are going to better than others. And….that’s okay (little self-affirmation aka SNL) but what a little guilty pleasure when someone says, “you put into words what I was thinking, thank you” Having a Blast!

  2. What a fascinating background. I’m originally from Ohio and after graduating with a music and drama degree, I headed to NYC. That’s all behind me now and I live in rural NH. I grew up on a 400+acre farm so I know a bit about farming and cattle, albeit 20th Century style. 🙂

    1. Hello, fellow Midwesterner!

  3. Yep, that’s me. Although I never thought of Ohio as the Midwest until I moved to NYC. To New Yorkers, anything west of NJ is the Midwest. 🙂

  4. OMG. I FLIPPING LOVE YOUR BLOG. I just discovered it and it’s ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! WHOA! LOVE IT

    1. Thank you, Steph! I hope you keep coming back for more Outlander goodness. We’re just getting started, aye, lass?

      1. Btw, I am also really impressed with your change in career path. I really admire people who do that. They always give me hope that it will be ok when change happens!! So thanks!

        1. It was a difficult decision to make, but the right one. I’m glad my path(s) have inspired you. I’m attempting a third change in careers, so wish me luck!

          1. GOOD LUCK! YOU CAN DO IT! ❤

  5. bytemebill

    I just found your blog as Outlander started. As True Blood ends, I need a new obsession 🙂 You have a fascinating background and I am thoroughly enjoying your musings as I get turned back onto a series I was hooked on 25 (gasp!) years ago when it began! My paperback still has the original cover before they went to the single icon on the front of each. Thank you for this great indulgence.

    Yep, I’m a fellow Midwesterner myself…lived in VA for 7 years but moved back. I just can’t get the brats, cheese and beer out of my system! Go Pack!

    1. Well, welcome back to the clan. I’ve been a fan of the novels since 1996 – didn’t discover them until then. I hope you keep coming back!

  6. I LOVE your quirky and funny observations. I’m married to an Aerospace Engineer in LA so I totally relate to your descriptions of them: smart, unpretentious overachievers (with a tendency to overstrategize a game of Beer Pong lol).

  7. OK, I just discovered your blog today, and I am looking forward to many fun-filled hours ahead of me (who needs to do homework?). I just discovered Outlander this Spring, so I am a relative newbie to the clan and I am loving every minute of it. I am blown away that your blog is not even 6 months old, yet has more content and a better UI than most (an amazing subject matter doesn’t hurt does it?) Thanks for swallowing your fears and ignoring that little voice in your head!

    1. Thank you, KT. I’m glad you found my site, too. I am a long-time fan of the novels and love “meeting” what we like to call Outlander virgins.
      Have you read all 8 novels plus the Lord John Grey series? He is my favorite character, other than the primaries & Young Ian.
      Welcome to the clan, lass!

      1. Thank you so much! I was pleasantly surprised to learn I have so much company in my obsession! I have read all 8, I had the fortunate timing of finishing Echo about two weeks before MOBY came out. Now I am rereading the series, trying to go a little slower this time and savor . . . I read one of the LJG series but didn’t really care for it, I will need to try again! But I LOVE LOVE young Ian as well. . .
        I grew up in St. Louis, which apparently is the South to anyone NOT from Missouri. That was a surprise to me . . . Now I live on the West coast so y’all are Easterners to me. . .

        1. You’re ahead of me, lass. I am trying to finish my third re-read of the series, am on ABOSAA. Have not cracked MOBY open yet. I’m too close to stop now.

          Yes, do give the LJG books another try. He’s a fascinating character. Much about him is left out the main Outlander series.

          I am also on the West Coast now.

        2. If you read nothing else, try The Scottish Prisoner. It’s a Jamie/LJG adventure.

          1. Oh yes! The Scottish Prisoner is excellent.

            1. OK OK sold! I’ll give it a go . . .

              1. My sister is new to the series as well. I gave her the entire set for Christmas 2013. She’s hooked.

                After finishing Outlander, she read The Scottish Prisoner. After the first few pages, she called me and said, “Interesting opening.”

          2. Yup, you win. The Scottish Prisoner was terrific, thanks! Which one next? It’s going to be a long six months . . .

            1. Great! So glad you enjoyed it. I’d go back to the beginning. Diana’s webpage lists the books in order http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/lord-john-grey/

              It sounds like you started then stopped, but I encourage you to plow through to view the full picture of our Lord John Grey or as I like to refer to him: #sodomylicious

              There are so many facets about LJG not covered in the regular Outlander series that I think will make you appreciate his character and relationship with Jamie even more – assuming you like him. I know some people – hopefully a very few – who actually skip the parts of Outlander not involving Jamie & Claire’s characters. I have no idea how one can enjoy the series that way, but it happens.

              1. Takes all kinds, I suppose. Thanks again.

  8. “I grew up in St. Louis, which apparently is the South to anyone NOT from Missouri. That was a surprise to me . . . Now I live on the West coast so y’all are Easterners to me.”

    I know the feeling. I grew up in Ohio and never considered Ohio the Midwest until I moved to NYC. To New Yorkers, everything west of New Jersey in the Midwest. 🙂

  9. We considered ourselves “Midwest” living in St. Louis. Ohio was definitely “East”. Funny, eh?

  10. Your blog is a wonderful guilty pleasure. Spending hours reading your recaps and scrolling thru your top “30 looks” is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Your writing is witty and crafted beautifully. So pleased to have found your blog!

    1. Thank you, Lisa. I’m so glad you found my site and are having such a good time. I’m already working on something special for THE WEDDING!

  11. can’t wait for the 30 looks !! How are you going to choose only 30 from this EPic EP?
    ps I’m so glad to have found your website…maybe it’s weird but I was looking for exactly this….those smoldering looks needed this kind of attention and dedication. I think I wrote a lot of these in my own head before coming across your site heheee

    1. Thank you, Tamela, for you vote of confidence. This is indeed a “challenging” episode. I’ll do my best to deliver something special later today.

      Stay tuned.

      1. There were too many to choose from!! Well done though! Although I was missing the one where there is a shot of Jamie’s face through Claire’s bent arm just after the ‘first time’. That smile. Oh my. Can you believe we have to wait until April for the next half!? What ever did I do with myself before this Outlander obsession? haha

        1. Yes, there have been many complaints about that shot missing! lol

          My aim is to show Sam’s range so I sometimes have to kick out A+ shots for a few B+. This isn’t Jamie’s Top Sexy Shots (well, not really).

          I think that shot is getting plenty of exposure every where else. I’m glad to focus on other, perhaps missed shots.

          Thanks for reading!

  12. Well done!! Obviously very carefully thought out and you’re still my go-to!!! Top sexy shots…hmmmm…there’s an idea….I assume we all have our own collection of those haha

  13. Candida, I absolutely love your blog and writing! What a gem of a site! Keep those great pics & fabulous reviews coming. I can’t wait to read more! And, thank you for sharing. I love the ‘about’ page. It is wonderful!

    1. Thanks so much, Hilery! Haven’t written anything from Scotland yet but have a few ideas.

  14. Hi Candida, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. I love your sense of humor and creativity! As an Outlander newbie, your analysis is incredibly insightful- (Ahh, you’re a former engineer, no wonder.) Thank ye! I feel like I’ve joined a secret sisterhood.

  15. Love the latest blog, and Jamie’s awkward moments.. great sense of humor

  16. Jeanne Malia Ney

    One: I am NOT computer savvy (being 80 years old) but I love your blogs, though I don’t understand how you can expend so much energy on them (is it your job?) Two: I’ve never seen a comment re this: Does Mrs. Fitz have her own Project Runway? Where does she get all the clothes for Claire. I adore all the main characters, with a special warm spot for Murtagh

    1. Hi, Jeanne. 1) Let’s just say I am computer savvy. :o) It does take quite a bit of time to write what I hope are entertaining blog posts. I’m thankful for the hiatus! 2) Nothing is thrown out at Castle Leoch. The clothes for Claire come from former castle inhabitants, apparently tall enough to fit her frame.

      Murtagh is scene stealer. I have twisted, sadistic crush on Black Jack tho – or rather Tobias when he plays him.

      Thanks for dropping a comment!

  17. Cheryl B Whitt

    Hi, Candida–I love your recaps, but I need to point out one teeny thing in your recap of episode 10–Dougal’s wife is Maura, not Moira. Sorry to be a nitpicker, but that’s the way I am. I also love all the comments with the photos–Jamie’s looks, etc. Thank you for the entertainment.

    1. Thank you, Cheryl. Feel free to send me typo corrections. I’m usually in such a hurry to get my posts up, I sometimes forget to check up on things. Corrected!

  18. Aside from loving Outlander, I think we have a lot in common: I’m originally from Illinois, I actually did get a Ph.D. (in immunology), but I only make my mother call me, “Dr,” and if you check out my writing, I, too, have a quirky sense of humor!
    http://www.amazon.com/M.L.-Ryan/e/B007INRDNE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

    BTW, you write very well. I hope you are writing some of your own fiction….

    1. Thank you for sharing, ML. Yes, I am writing my own fiction. Hope to reveal more about it soon . . .

    2. Being curious by nature, I clicked on the amazon link you posted. After reading the reviews there of your three Coursodon Dimension Series books, I downloaded them to my Kindle. They sound VERY intriguing.

  19. Nope, I was replying to the comment by mlryan here….M. L. Ryan. She wrote:

    mlryan
    APRIL 21, 2015 AT 3:34 PM
    Aside from loving Outlander, I think we have a lot in common: I’m originally from Illinois, I actually did get a Ph.D. (in immunology), but I only make my mother call me, “Dr,” and if you check out my writing, I, too, have a quirky sense of humor!
    http://www.amazon.com/M.L.-Ryan/e/B007INRDNE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

    1. Yikes, I didn’t post the link as a promo, only to illustrate my strange sense of humor. That being said (and my apologies to our Outlander guide, Candida if I’ve offended), I hope you enjoy them, Jo Ann!

      1. No worries, ladies. We’re all book lovers here.

  20. Kristina

    So it appears I am late in finding your wonderful blog. Just happened upon it on Pinterest and now I am spending my Friday at work, shhhh, reading every single post on your site. Looking forward to reading more and the many seasons ahead.

    1. Hi, Kristina. So glad you found my little corner of the internet. As you can see, I’ve fallen behind in my duties. Ah, life. I hope you keep checking back (or sign up for notifications!) Thanks for reading.

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