As you can probably tell by this web site, flying is my first passion. Flying for me started about fifteen years ago watching airplanes land at an airport in Poughkeepsie, NY.
I thought, boy Iíd sure like to learn to fly. The next thing I knew, I was taking flying lessons. I started with a local flight school and finished my private certificate with a friend who is an instructor. My buddy Don King showed me the finer points of flying. The most important part being the landing! And boy did I suck at that. It took a long time to get the landings right.
Several years later I moved to Phoenix, AZ to take a new job. At that point I had been flying for a number of years and was kind of getting bored with the point a to point b thing. So I decided to get some advanced training. It was a toss up between an instrument certificate (allows you to fly in the clouds) or aerobatics. Well I went for the aerobatics ride first and that was it for me. I fell in love. I spent the next several months learning to fly aerobatics at a school in Chandler, AZ. called Chandler Air Service. This is where the Yoda of aerobatics teaches. His name is John Walkup. This guy is one cool cat in the air. He can teach you how to fly an inverted flat spin while heís sitting up front having a sandwich and a cup of coffee. You're flying the plane thinking, so this is what itís like to die! Johnís right hand man, Curt Langenhorst is as accomplished in the air but is less tolerant of the novice (who me?). This is a guy that tells me during landing practice that when you land this type of aircraft the stick needs to be all the way back to your crotch. He reminds me of this on the intercom as we land and I respond "roger that, back to the crotch".
In the long run these guys turned me into a fairly good competition pilot and for the next couple of years I flew competition aerobatics. I used a plane called a Pitts S2-B. You can see a picture on this site. I can tell you, this baby moves out. You pull out onto the runway for takeoff and when you nail the throttle hell implodes! Six seconds later your flying and going up at a 45ļ angle. I just loved this stuff.
Then I took the job with Intel in DuPont, WA and now Iím back to flying flat planes. Itís killing me! But at least Iím still in the air.
I love my computers as well. I tend to build my own desktops because I always seem to have problems with the ones I get from the store. I'm currently running all Intel quad core processors on my desktops. I have to admit that I actually purchased these from Gateway. This is because I just don't seem to have time to build systems these days. At the same time, I have to say that these systems are running just fine. Although, I have found MS Vista to be a challenge. I've had numerous programs that won't run with Vista. I also had to replace my scanner because the manufacture didn't/won't be producing a driver for Vista. So, moving to vista has cost me about $500 above and beyond the cost of the actual system. At this point only one of the new systems is running on Vista. I removed Vista from the other and loaded XP pro. Once I fully understand what I'm doing with Vista I plan to pull the XP system up (or down) to the new operating system as well. I'm still networked via an Ethernet hub (wired) that allows all systems to access each other and the net. The whole network is behind a router (also wired) for external access. I haven't moved to wireless because wired access is much faster and I have all my systems in one room. I also tend to lurk on the Usenet. I get most of my music this way. Who needs Napster when you got the news groups!
This is a hobby I was involved in some years ago and have recently rediscovered. I started riding again in April of 2003. The first two weeks about killed me. But I just kept riding and as the summer wore on I was able to ride some fairly reasonable distances at a good pace. I started out riding about 5 miles a day and by the end of the summer I had progressed to 20-30 miles a day with rides on the weekends in the 40 - 60 mile range. I also started riding with a club here in Olympia to get an idea of how well I was actually riding. As it turns out, of the three packs on any given ride (As, Bs, and Cs) I was riding consistently at the front of the Bs. I'd like to catch the A riders but those guys are fast as heck. I'm able to ride with them for the first half of any given ride but after that I tend to get dropped back to the B riders. Maybe next year I'll be able to keep up with the big boys. we'll see...
Well, I made it. I now tend to ride with the "A" group on most rides. I was able to achieve this by moving to a fixed gear bike in the off season. This bike has no gears and doesn't allow coasting. The result is a higher level of cardio and strength. It was a hard bike to ride at first but now I actually like it. I ride all winter with a group that only rides fixed gear bikes. We're all older riders so we need the strength to keep up with the younger riders in the summer season group. I also employ some strategies that help with staying in the "A" group. One of these is limiting pull time at the front of the pace line. I used to pull for about 100 peddle strokes. Now I limit that to 60 before rotating to the back of the line. I figure, let the young studs do the big pulls.
This is another new hobby. I did blade years ago but it was for distance. And, then just for fun. Well, this year I decided that I would jump back on the blades for several reasons. The first was the need to start putting some stress on my bodies skeletal frame. I've been biking for about 7 years now. So, there tends to be concern regarding bone density. The load on the frame helps to build new stronger bone. The other reason was to mix things up and get off the road with the bike one day a week. Normally I ride at night in the winter biking season. I've been doing this for the last several years. So this was a nice/fun change.
This sport takes place indoors at a local skating rink on blades and is very similar to short track speed skating on ice. Most of the folks I skate with are very young, and fast. So, I spend most of my time at the back of the pace line. That's ok though. I don't plan to compete and I'm just having fun and getting the frame load that I need.
I do this when I can. You can see some samples on the artwork page. Most of my training before computer electronics was in the field of art. I draw and paint. In the last couple of years my painting has gravitated toward aviation art except for the occasional copy of a piece my wife likes and I donít want to pay for. In the past I would draw or paint anything but these days as you know from this site, I like airplanes.
Working on our house:
I donít particularly like doing this but I like the results. The house is new so the inside work is not a big deal. Although, as you know, we did have an earthquake here in Washington. Luckily no real damage for us but I did have to fix some stress cracks in the wallboard.
Most of the hard work is in the yard. Here in Washington everything grows. If you plant a rock, itíll grow (ha). The lawn must be mowed and edged twice a week in the summer months. The grounds and gardens must also be cared for. So, I do a lot of work on the house and over time you just get good at it.