Personal Stuff
The stuff I like, the stuff I like to do.

Inside Hobbies

Hobbies, Fun Stuff, and Inside Things I Enjoy.
Things I like to do that generally involve a roof over my head.

Books          Movies          Music          Ham Radio         Electronic Projects       Poker Night

Outside Hobbies Things I like to do outside.
Day In The Life This spans several years.  Funny things I've said and done, and a typical day in the life of me.
Families and Friends Links to those I know.

I've got a lot of hobbies; unfortunately that get expensive after a while. Actually, that gets expensive right away. It also means that instead of an apartment or home, I've been living in a storage area. Mom's not too happy about my lack of furniture, but I don't mind and I'm the one who lives here.

I've done a lot of fun things in life, I like to try new stuff whenever I can, and a lot of other things just happened to me. I've studied ballet, tap, and jazz, but still can't dance to save my life. I studied martial arts for a while, and can still bounce on a pogo stick for hours. I used to be a great fencer (ok, it was high school), but mostly because I was a leftie in a world of righties.

I've hiked, and climbed all around the world with friends and seen other parts of the world, courtesy of the military.  I've seen the "underside" of America in in strip joints in Montreal, run down cat houses in Mexico, and "50 cents for a can of beer" bars in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  I've rock and mountain climbed, skydived, backpacked, bike rode, scuba dived, swam with the giant sea turtles in the Caribbean, canoe, kayaked, and rafted, and even flew an ultralight airplane once. I've been lucky to have good friends to share it all with. I believe in judging people by what's in their heart. I've got friends of most every ethnicity, not by design but by picking people that prove themselves good.

When I was in kindergarten, I was reading during class.  I'm 30, in grad school....and things haven't changed.  I read voraciously when given the chance.   Detailed and well written SF&F is my favorite.  Everyone knows Tolkien.   Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series was great.  It's when authors write too long, that's when it gets bad.  Examples:  Heinlein (brilliant when young, all characters became the same by the end), Piers Anthony (Crank out another one!   Read the Xanth series.  Starts great, runs downhill by the 4th book...horrid by the 10th).  

Humor runs a close second.  I usually read more of it because it's shorter and quicker.  Dave Barry, Patrick McManus, the biting satirical collections of Mike Royko (where are reporters like that now), and the classics:  Calvin 'n Hobbs, Bloom County/Outland, Foxtrot and Dilbert.   I'm still hoping for a Big Nate collection. (There was one, but from a small company that went out of business and returned many checks.)

I also have a decent comic book collection:  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which were serious when they started, the Frank Miller Batman (the dark stuff), and of course everyone has the Watchman and Sandman series.  Some humor as well, like Phil Foglio stuff (Buck Godot, Zap Gun for Hire)

In either categories, I look for the people who came up original ideas, directions, or think just a little different.  Douglas Adams did it for Humor/Sci-Fi.  Phillip K. Dick did it for SF.  His ideas from the 50's are the basis for much of our science fiction today.  I was reading his bizarre stuff in high school (80's, when he was alive and it was fresh on the shelf) and was sorry it took so long after Blade Runner for Hollywood to look seriously into making more of them into movies.

Speaking of 50's SF:  Most of it is great.  It reads with a bravado and optimism of the era that doesn't exist; today's characters are more 'real.'  Their thoughts and dreams for the future expressed an optimism not seen today.  It's fun to see where they thought we'd be by today.  Libraries carry a lot of the older books, they're worth checking out.  Start with early Heinlein.

I also read regular fiction, science books, biographies (usually about scientists), and well written comic books.  Due to school, mostly I just read school books.   They're not the most fun, but they're the only ones I get tested on.

Movies are just another way to tell a story.  They're better and worse.   Better, because you can add sights and sounds.  Worse because you don't have to think as much or use your imagination.  It all depends on the filmmaker and how much they decide to either tell a good story and trust the audience, or patronize, pander, and insult our intelligence.  I like the big-blockbuster Hollywood specials, but I also watch a good number of foreign movies, both serious and less so, like Japanamation.

One of my favorite genra's is the B-movie.  I know, this requires absolutely no thinking whatsoever and it's generally an insult to the intelligence of even a grade school child, but you expect that going in.  There's no illusions about a deep movie filled with subtleties and great meaning, no pretenses, no 10 layers of Hollywood to please before it gets released.  It's pure honesty.  They're either great or horrible, the sort of thing my friends and I would knock up one weekend with a video camera if we were bored.  I'm not the only one who enjoys it, DTV (Direct To Video) is becoming more popular every year.

When you think of movie studios behind the greatest movies you've ever seen, Troma (producers of movies like The Toxic Avenger and Surf Nazis Must Die) usually doesn't make the list. You would never imagine there's an Oscar winner hidden in there, but there was one in the movie Chopper Chicks in Zombietown.  Oh, and he also appeared in some other minor films like Indecent Proposal, Tombstone, Sling Blade, The Apostle, U Turn, Primary Colors, and Armageddon.  Give up?  Billy Bob Thornton.

Another great thing about B-movies is they're packed full of in-jokes that you'll probably only get half of.  The most well used one is "Klaatu Barada Nikto."  These are the words used by Klaatu to control the robot Gort in the The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) and these words have been used as a tribute in B-Movies ever since.  George Lucas also keeps the spirit, he constantly has references to "THX-1138," his first movie (He even named his sound system after it).  He also pays tribute to Huey, Duey, and Luie, the three robots from Silent Running (1971), and you can find them wandering around in several backgrounds in the Star Wars trilogy

The ultimate B-movie is Army Of Darkness, part 3 of the Evil Dead series.  The first one really was a couple of kids, one who ran movies at a local cineplex, who had a video camera and said "We can do better than that."  And they did.   Then they went on to make the Hercules and Zena: Warrior Princess TV series.  The best B-movie series is the Trancers series starring Tim Thomerson and early Helen Hunt (before she got her teeth fixed and went on to Mad About You and other big-budget movie fame); if you can find the whole thing I highly recommend it. Hooray, Netflix!

This Posting's Pic:  Amazon Women on the Moon (1987) A B-movie that spoofs B-movies!  It has more stars in it than you can shake an Amazon Spear at.  Some on the way up, some before they became stars, and some on their way down (can you say "Andrew Dice Clay...Hey!".)  It's also loaded with all sorts of other subtle references, including the piece of desert first used in Star Trek when Kirk fought the Lizard Man for the survival of our species!  (Also paid tribute to in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey).

Femme Fontaine: Killer Babe for the C.I.A. (1994)
Professional assassin Drew Fontaine puts her talents to her own ends to pay off those involved in killing her Buddhist mentor and maybe in the disappearance of her father. Amongst those in the frame are a crowd of somewhat dysfunctional lesbian-led Nazis, an energetic Chinatown gang, and an overly laid-back porn-king playboy. Could be pretty messy.

Rock, Blues, Classical, and Weird Al. I've got it all.  I like it all.   Mostly I listen to rock, then blues.  I also like traditional Irish and Indian Pop music.  Go figure.  Favorite DJ:  Dr. Demoto.  Sadly, fewer and fewer stations are carrying the craziness that keeps us all sane.

Ham Radio
Wa7yne:  King of the Ham Radio Nerds.  I've made a few stabs at learning Morse code, but nothing serious.  It's on my one of these days list.   I'm more interested in HF work because I like listening to and learning from people all around the world. I love the foreign news reports--it's very interesting to get other countries opinions on American or World news.  That's when you really realize how much of a bias we have in America.

Electronic Circuits