About

Biographical

By day, Stephen Younger (sometimes ‘Steph’, never ‘Steve’) contributes to the Gross Domestic Product through his work as Director of Operations and Chief Compliance Officer for a mid-sized accounting and investment advisory firm in Salem, Oregon. His educational pursuits are in psychology, philosophy, business, and mathematics. He is also an avid reader, and unusually adept at folding fitted sheets. During the evenings and on weekends, he strives to be a lot more interesting.

Although raised in Oregon, Stephen spent his ‘twenties’ in Alaska where he finally grew up and settled down. While in Alaska, he met and married his beautiful wife, Chantel, and together they have three wonderful children. In 2006, Stephen returned to Oregon with his family for a warmer (albeit wetter) climate.

Information about his hobbies and other activities is available using the menu above, or in his journal posts (also above). Although he can’t promise Pulitzer-worthy journalism, he can promise that this is the only page on this website where he will refer to himself in the third person.


Philosophical

The National Park Service has a great page on their site titled “What Are Core Values.” It states what I’ve always felt in the most succinct way I’ve ever read. To paraphrase:

… There is an entire universe of values, but some of them are so primary, so important to me that throughout the changes in society, government, politics, and technology they are STILL the core values I will abide by. … Core values are not descriptions of the work I do or the strategies I employ to accomplish my mission. The values underlie my work and how I interact with others … they are the practices I use (or should be using) every day in everything I do.

My Core Values

  • I believe that my life is borrowed and must eventually be accounted for. My actions (and interactions) should always reflect that accountability.
  • I believe that I can have no greater goal than excellence – both in myself and those around me. Excellence only comes with practice and, sometimes, after failure.
  • I believe that everyone has something to offer to the world. While I may choose whether or not to accept that offering, my acceptance does not diminish its worth.
  • I believe that my work should have meaning. Not only the labor for which I collect a paycheck, but my hobbies and private endeavours as well.

Occupational

Like most people, I’m not independently wealthy … which means I work. Luckily for you, I think there are already plenty of websites where people write about what they do during the day, so I won’t. When I’m not working though, I have a few things that keep me occupied:

Genealogy

My family isn’t any more fascinating than yours – honest – but if I can make it sound like it is, it’s only because I’ve spent a lot of time studying them.

Somewhere between that high school history class and weekend jigsaw puzzles lies the realm of genealogy. It’s also a lot more than that: it’s learning about where I came from and who I have to thank for getting me here; it’s about questions that may never be answered and conversations I’ll never have to regret not having. Some will tell you that it’s a fad – something people get into because of a TV show, or because they heard it was “the number one hobby in America” – but I do it because I feel a need to know, to understand, and to help others do the same.

Mathematics

My plan was to get a classroom and teach this wonderful subject, but I’m saving it for retirement. For now though, I am what the professionals refer to as a “hobby mathematician,” and that’s okay with me.

When I was about eleven years old, my dad sat me down and taught me to use a slide rule. Calculators weren’t as much a part of the elementary school classroom as they are today, so the idea that this little wooden ruler-looking thingy could do calculations was pretty cool …

The idea that the logarithm of ‘A’ plus the logarithm of ‘B’ equals the logarithm of ‘A times B’ was pretty deep stuff, and probably way over my head at the time (which might be why I don’t remember him using the word “logarithm”), but it woke something up inside me and kindled a lifelong passion. I learned a lot of other interesting things from my dad, but the math lessons are the ones I remember best – they are also some of the ones I most love to share.

Photography

I live in a beautiful place; and while I may see it differently that others, sometimes a photo allows me to share what I see in a way that words cannot.

My first “real” camera was a Minolta X700 I purchased at a pawn shop in Van Buren, Arkansas. I dragged that beautiful piece of engineering through a lot of dirt and snow before it was stolen during the summer of 2006. When it came time to replace it, I struggled with sticking with what I knew or moving into a digital world. I finally chose to go digital because odds were good I wasn’t ever going to make enough money selling pictures to pay for my film. I figured that I’d buy another “real” camera later, but have really grown to enjoy the freedom of digital photography.