I started out as a tool & die machinist back in the 1960's and "backed" into mechanical design and engineering through the latter days of the Apollo program. The standing joke is that it is easier for me to list the companies I haven't
worked for than those I have [I passed 350 a couple of years back]. I have some documents posted at http://www.scribd.com/Lew%20Merrick
that people may find interesting. One of my ongoing "back-burner projects" is to write a new mechanical design engineer's handbook.
If anyone is looking for material properties, I have a rather extensive collection of such information. I spent nearly three years as the chief mechanical engineer on the DoT program that developed the modern automotive airbag restraint system. That sounds impressive until you realize that airbags are chemical
and not mechanical -- but I did
spend more than two years working on a product that was designed
to blow up in my face!
I work under the understanding that a mind would be a terrible thing to have. As I believe in the square root of -1, I know
that I am an irrational number. After all, three years of a mechanical engineer's education is dedicated to proving mathematically that Murphy was an optimist (Third Law of Thermogodamics). Don't be a stranger when you can just be strange!