I should start before I was born...

Dad's mom was pregnant with Dad, when she was involved in a car wreck, and the car overturned on the ejected mother. The doctors took the child prematurely, but the mother did not survive. Dad was not expected to live either...
66DECMAGGIE.JPG, 35 kB Maggie

Dad's grandmother, Maggie, took over his care. But Dad would not drink any milk. A lactating teenage girl was found that - at least for a while - kept Dad alive. Dad developed rheumatic fever and pneumonia, and again, was not expected to live. (There are properties in real human milk that resists disease.) As a child, Dad slept in Maggie's loft. (This is the area just above the wood piles in the picture. A real five-star.)

As a little boy, he shot jackrabbits for Maggie - literally to survive. He talked about soapstones in watered down soup. He describes a deprived existence, also a lonely life with no mom or dad. They could only afford six 22 shells that had to last an intire week, for the rabbits, and occasional squirl. (Dad had a natural talent that he later demonstrated to me: He consistently shot jack rabbits by just "pointing" and not using the gun sites. With so few shells at his disposal, Dad could have not "developed" this talent. The talent was real. I have seen it.)

At age twelve he began digging wells with a relative and was basically on his own.

67JANDADP1130323.jpg, 46 kB
1967.01 January
Small building was, at one time, "home" untill I was five years old. The left foreground shows a corner of the bigger house. The guy is my Dad. In the back, you see an old '53' flathead ford with the hood - characteristically - in the up position.

Dad and Mom came to California in 1948, and lived in a tent by the Feather river. They built the small building in the background, which I grew up in. Dad hired a man that had a well drilling machine: a homemade flat bed affair with some high metal poles. I was only three, but still can vividly remember the sound of the drill pipe incessantly hammering down into the hole; with a repetitive banging, all day long. I was not allowed outside, so I watched from inside the small 15ft by 10ft building, which was cozy and clean. I remember the rainy day; the new, different colored mud, called "muck", from the hole. It spread out over the ground in pastel colors. Well drilling connotates muddy boots, and drab wet clothing, and men mumbling, burdened with a miserable task. The memories are unpleasant: something like trench warfare of WW1.

Mom and Dad had nine children, and later built in this three room house with no siding: bare hard oak boards. The walls contained cardboard for insulation, cut exactly to size between the studs. The house had a kitchen, a small bedroom, and a large family room, surrounded by bunk beds for all us kids. The house never had a bathroom.
...I need not mention the outhouse.

People ask me about baths...
We still had baths, but I don't think we were that clean. We had them once a week. Mom would prepare two wash tubs in the middle of the floor; Obviously "bath-day"! With every burner lit, she boiled water in pans on the stove, and poured them into the tubs. Normally, one child would bathe in each tub, with a lot of talking and suds. Kids would share suds, gleefully throwing suds from one tub to the other. A little tit-for-tat, and any other no good, spontaneous reason for throwing suds. Throwing suds was used without reservation. However, to save time, Mom used to put two little children in one tub; with three times more splashing and suds on the floor. This weekly, jabbering, soap-smelling event filled the whole house. Mom was devoted to the last detail: She lathered and washed a lot of heads. No other kids could come in - mom was in charge - but Mom was always present to oversee the water temperature and scrubbing with each set. She never - not even once, in all those years - complained. She never faltered. Normal thing for an unselfish mom, and so easily forgotten.

Although we were poor, we ate very well. At every dinner, never a shortage of lots of fresh vegetables like spinach, peas, and cabbage. There was good meat like beef, lamb, and chicken. Mom made real baked bread. And all served with and real cows milk. A shortage of table manners showed itself with many clanging forks and spoons, and talking with full mouths. Despite first impressions, and beyond any dought, we enjoyed higher quality food, and more of it, than anyone eats today. We ate very well.

I once asked Dad the question of why we ate so well, considering a huge disparity in certain aspects of our living style. I could not understand how we could be so utterly poor, and yet, have such good food.

Dad replied; "I am saving on doctor bills!"
His reply was quick and blunt, and implied don't ever question his decisions.
I guess, due to his childhood poverty, Dad knew, very well, the value of food. It seems it ment something totally different for him, a value transcending conventional taste. Often I heard Dad and Mom often quietly talked of good healthy food while we children were sleeping. And not in a reminiscing way; but in a strategic way.

I once asked Dad another question: Why he and mom decided to have so many children.

We were at the grocery store, when I asked, and with our second carload of groceries. Considering the obvious consequences of nine children, it was a good time to ask. We had just bought 100 pounds of potatoes, a crate of apples, and a crate of bananas. Normal people use sacks. We use crates. The trunk was packed too. You could tell we were poor trash. The tires were thin, and they bulged slightly under a lot of weight, and the old clunker had "gushy" shocks that permitted the car to bounce up and down as we went down the road. Now, under all this hardship, you HAVE to wonder - Why.

Dad replied: "You are happy that you were born; aren't you?" (I was the first born.)

I expected a more logical answer than this emotional one. The discussion ended in silence, despite my desperate academic attempts to recover. Sence I was the first born, my question instantly exposed an ugliness that I could not hide: Do I have the shame of not appreciating my brothers and sisters? My stupid academics had just totally killed me. I felt like running away in shame.

And then, one day, I heard a story that summed up my Dad's answer much better. I will paraphrase the story...

A business man, wearing spandex, was jogging along a beach. There were hundreds of stranded star fish along the beach that morning. Just a casualty of nature, he thought; just the way it is. Up ahead, he could see a ragged boy tossing those stranded starfish back into the safety of the sea. Over and over, the boy grabbed another starfish and threw it to safety. The endless process repeated as the jogger arrived next to the hard working boy. He paused, bent over and held his knees while he secured a better breath of air.

The jogger, now takeing on a businessman form, confidently told the boy that his efforts were useless, totally in vain. For there were thousands of starfish. He could not possible save them all. He should stop. It made no difference!

The jogger coldly started to resume his jog; now unconcerned.

The boy, seeming uninterested in such expert advice, was undeterred. He grabbed yet another starfish, gave it a fling.
With his young, determined voice said: "It made a difference to THAT one."

1999-KEDDIE.JPG, 33 kB
(picture:1999) All the houses have been torn down...

We lived in several developments, up and down the Feather River canyon, all near railroad tracks. And, all were poor, Western Pacific, Railroad housing.

One was the town of Keddie.
I was in the third grade.
The old car had a cracked engine block, down by these same tracks that you see in this picture.
Fresh spit would freeze instantly in this cold, "biting" air. The temperature was below zero. I helped repace the heads; and in so doing learned - forever - about tools: wrenches, breakovers, sockets, and such.
Proudly, I could instantly tell the difference between "a 9/16" and "a 1/2" without even reading the engraving. Dad knew everything about everything, and I tried hard to be just like him. That was me and Dad, working side by side, with a common purpose, against the elements, and in the cold.

But despite my pride in working together, my efforts to learn were all to be for no avail: It is here, that I failed third grade...

My teacher sent a mysterious sealed, white envelope home with me, with instructions to give it to my parents. I felt important, if anything. I gave it no thought as to what was INSIDE! I probably happily skipped home, not knowing that I was hand delivering such misery and gloom to my dear parents. Unexpectedly, the next day, I saw Mom and Dad talking with the teacher and principle. They never told me that THEY would be at school TOO! What a shock...

Me1954.jpg, 11 kB Me - 1954 in the third grade, which I failed.
Here is how it all developed...

Earlier, All us kids had entered the class room, at the sound of the bell. We were all to take our seats. And after all the classroom chattering and chair scooting had stopped, we were not to leave them. But after several minutes, the teacher had not arrived. Therefor, I left my seat, opened the door, and stepped outside. I was looking for the teacher. No other kid would do such a thing. But the reason does not matter; It is what I saw.

I was in disbelief and horror... I could not comprehend the shocking sight: To the right, down the sidewalk, about 100 feet away, were my parents! They were talking with the teacher and the principle. Yes, My parents! Mom and Dad were so - utterly - sad looking. It is the profound sober sadness on their faces that I will never forget.

I never made the connection with the mysterious letter, nor did I consider how much money my Dad would have lost from missed work on the RailRoad. I was placed back into the second grade: a difficult grade for me from the year before.
I could not spell words that started with "th", or contained a "gh" anywhere in them. And I mean ANYWHERE in them. - It was fatal. I wanted to read. I really did. I admired the kids that could read. But reading was scary for me, it made no sence, and I was afraid of it. Also, the teacher had spent too much time with me concerning pronunciation. She said that she could not "understand it". I had trouble with words containing "e" or "i" as in the two words "thin" and "then".

But later in life, I really made-up for it: I built a "syllabe concatenator" that spoke, and spoke well; an achievement that has it's roots, in some small way, in the third grade. This thing could not only speak words, it spoke intire sentences. I am sure that none of the kids that did pass, could not have even dreamed of building such a device. I would love to say to the kids: Hey, remember me? ...The one that could not pronounce, spell, or read?

We also lived in Quincy.
I was probably in the fourth grade. Some teenage girls befriended me, and showed me how to make their play house in the woods; a house made of pine bows - but with a girly touch. The girls were pretty, with clean skin and curly hair.
I am sure that most men will remember being in love with much older teenage girls. They came close to me when they talked and caressed my face. The very sound of there voices was exciting. They could take your breath away, and leave you speechless.

We also lived in Blairsden, and we had a long buss ride to school in Portola. When I was in Jr High, my brother, Bob, fell through the ice while waiting for the buss. My sister, Carolyn, pulled him out; a difficult task considering all the slippery busted ice. She could have fallen in too. Thanks to her quick efforts, Bob was able to run - NONSTOP - back to the house. We all watched, as he ran and ran, and eventually disappeared into the house, far up on the hill. There, we knew that Mom would be grabbing him and warming him. With a sad look back, the rest of us kids got on the bus; equally, a hard task without Bobby. Asperger kids put feelings aside, and are dedicated to a task, like getting on the bus.

We slid down pine needles on the brown and green covered hills, on sheets of cardboard. Most people do not know that needles are as slick as snow. It is simple: You sit on the sheet of cardboard, grasp the front edge, and pull the front edge up over your legs. And then you hang on. There were always plenty of brothers and sisters waiting to jump on at the top - even though they did not carry the cardboard back up! There were constant squabbles about "turns" and "carrying". But, with fun in ample supply, freeloaders are always welcome, big and small.

Down by the tracks was a black coal pile: about 10 feet across and 3 feet high. The mound of coal was for railroad employees in the railroad housing. It was free. Bob and I carried buckets of black coal up the hill for Mom for heating and cooking. Coal is a fascinating rock: black and shiny. I never see it any more. Now, I wish I could carry a million buckets to Mom, just so that I could help again.

The house had two rooms; and one was fully lined with our bunk beds, amply filled with children. As whistles blew, and as trains would pass by, the bunk beds would shake. I was fascinated, and loved to feel the trains weight transmitted through the ground. Power from tons and tons weight on steel wheels would gently swing the light suspended from the ceiling, and always rattle something in the room. One after another, each car made a different clackety clack as they passed by; Each a different character of loud and soft, some with broken wheels, and all in an endless procession. All the fascinating activity would last until the train had passed, and heads layed back in the pillows.

Then there was Mr Schwartz, my seventh grade teacher...
With him I could do no bad. One day at recess, I thought that I would do an experiment, for I just had to know. And I did not know the consequences to this crazy experiment: At the sound of the bell, and after all the other kids had went into there class rooms, I would stay. I would stay alone on the playground to see what it was like. I had never experienced that before and it should be something interesting. So that is what I did.

The first bell rang and kids started running and scurrying to their different destinations. As time passed, there were fewer and fewer remained on the playground, and playground noises soon turned totally silent. By the time the second bell buzzed, I was the only kid out there. After the second bell, which is louder and more somber than the first, is uncharted territory, and everything is a new experience. One the playground it feels like a different kind of "lonely". I ran here and there, and seen what it was like to look inside a classrooms from outside. And with vent windows open, I could here classrooms and teachers reading their books.

I came back into the classroom through the back door so as not to disturb the class. But, in fact, I probably disturbed the class even more. There was no way to do this, and it was not a part of my experiment that I had carefully thought out.

But to my amazement, Mr Schwartz never said a word to me. Not the slightest reaction or rebuke. No kid could get away with that. Not with what I just did! No kid! No kid at all! But, it seems, I could... That's amazing. The greater experiment turns out to be with Mr Schwartz and why he let me slide.
I loved science. Once in the eighth grade, I came home and announced that I could now solve any problem: I was taking "Algebra". Dad looked up from his easy chair, and did not say a word. But clearly I had his attention. I eagerly announced I was learning this new math called Algebra. It is the coolest thing; I can solve anything! I remember that day of pride: I was gesturing with my arms.

Dad broke his silence and said "So! You can solve anything, can you?" I replied that I thought so, because we were using "x's" and "y's".

Dad began with: "So, let me tell you a story..."
Two lads (he called everybody "lads" that was young) went out in search of work. They found a farmer that needed a ditch dug. The farmer would pay $20 for this ditch. The ditch would be 20 feet long. Therefor, the lads reasoned, that that is a dollar a foot. The two lads began digging, one on each end of the ditch. Each digging as fast as they could to make as many dollar-feet as they could. Suddenly one lad shouted: "Wait a minute. This is not fair!" Because he was digging in hard rock, while the other was digging in soft loam. So they struck a deal: The one in the rocks would dig for $1.25 a foot, while the one in loam would dig for $.75 a foot. They shook hands. The men finished the ditch, and collected their $20. One had dug 12 foot and the other had dug 8 foot. Dad asked me: "How much money did they each get?"

I remember saying: "That is easy. I do not even need algebra for that!" I retired to the kitchen with a piece of paper, while Dad just sat in the living room smiling. I knew the problem, but could not explain it, and that stupid grin did not help. I was hid-out there for quite a while. Although I knew too the nature of the problem, he explained the whole thing to me, and rescued me from his damn tormenting grin. Specifically, I did not understood, distributive laws. I did not have an appreciation for the Distributive Law of Multiplication. But he - sort of implicitly and without "book-learning" - understood. And, explained it all, without knowing the name for it. Later, at least I had a name for it.

But the problem was trivial, we both knew that in our hearts, and this made his efforts seemed so unwarranted. Dad did not care about the specific problem, it was only a means to convey something more important. The real message was for me personally.
The lesson: "Don't be greedy", and "Be humble, and not so sure. You can not know everything." I remember thinking that his words were counter intuitive from what he was saying, because - HE - knew everything. But his fatherly words were waisted on me. I never listened at all, and this later caused great pain. I wish I could remember all his words; I only remember the problem.

I had mentioned Mr Schwartz earlier. Mr Schwartz later became the principle of Las Plumas High, were I also coincidently became a student. I was called into his office because my car was parked in Mrs Sligar's parking spot. It seems that we were both late, and both needed a fast place to park. But his concern was not the parking essue.

His concern was whether I had memorized my addition and subtraction tables yet. He knew as once my teacher that, at least in the seventh grade, I had not. I had to admit that still I had not. Mr Schwartz was in total disbelieve. He was shocked. How could I get by this long, clear into High School, without knowing my addition and subtraction tables? To this day I add by "counting dots". But I can tell you that pi is 3.1417 and e is 2.71818. I really did mind upsetting Mr Schwartz, he has been so super good to me. Truly, I did not want to cause that, that day.

ME66DEC19.JPG, 19 kB
Grandma's house ARK
I joined the Air Force in 1966.
(Picture at Grandma's house.)

The future appeared to be nothing but pretty girls and fun...
Selfishly, I choose not to look back.

ME68FEB18B.JPG, 35 kB
Vandenberg AFB
I was involved in a classified program, involving remote control.
I am ashamed to say, that I had nothing but fun in the Air Force. In this picture I am a Sgt at Vandenberg AFB...
"Solomon" years: Every thing to excess with no bounds. The path was traveled with urgency, the path was lined with fragile beauty to be exploited and tasted. And tasted again and again. How can such a wonderland road be so utterly vane, and lead to such profound pain? But it does.
For me, such hedonism led to great pain and regret.
I was with good programs at work: special programs, classified programs, and exciting programs, with wonders that few get to experience.
My eyes were wide open, but unfortunately with gross immaturity as the picture suggests, I could not see at all. I could not appreciate the bounty before me, and it was utterly waisted. I thank God that I now see the fool that I once was, and bear the constant pain as a reminder. Scars are a luxury that you can trace and never forget.

"Bear in mind that you should conduct yourself in life as at a feast."
There were constant parties and good times. It seems they never ended, with a policy of almost every evening. My good times were in the same era that others my age were dying in Nam. I struggle to grasp the unfairness of this whole era, and I feel guilty for my fellow friends. Many were lost; one was a chopper pilot full of life, a good friend. The bountiful generosity of life was given, free to me, for no good reason. I hate it. Sometimes I wish I could trade.

WHERE art thou, my beloved Son,
Where art thou, worse to me than dead?
Oh find me, prosperous or undone!
Or, if the grave be now thy bed,
Why am I ignorant of the same
That I may rest; and neither blame
Nor sorrow may attend thy name?

William Wordsworth
I think the same for my son, just as my parents thought of me.
Payback is a bitch.

Mom and Dad died very young. All the hard work, and all that sacrifice was not visible to me untill they were gone. WAY too late! I could not hear them, as they pleaded for me to come and visit. They only wanted to see me, as all parents do. That was all they wanted.

" Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."
Mark Twain

Dad had applied stucco to the inside walls of the house; nothing unusual about that. Dad had done a nice job on all the walls, applying stucco evenly. That is - until he got to the entrance. What is unusual is that Dad used his finger to write an inscription into the wet stucco. He used an indelible surface to permanently write about something dear to him: His children. Other people care about their children, but they do not write inscriptions in their house on the walls. Everyone could see it. It was right there, as you entered the house. And believe me, plenty of neighbors saw it! With such an unorthodox writing surface, they thought my Dad was a "little strange".
Dad had boldly wrote into the very plaster of the house:
"The glory of a man are his children." ...A quote he took from the Bible.
I never felt what it really meant. When children ran and played in the house, we were always under the writing. As a child, I traced my finger through every letter, and still did not know the meaning. As I traced, my little fingers searched the grooves and contours for the meaning. Through all those busy years, the writing became absolutely invisible to us children. "The glory of a man are his children" was just a thing on the wall, quite invisible to young eyes, with no hint of a fathers pride and hidden smile. But quite often, I could turn, and find him smiling.

Mom and Dad purchased a new mobile home and placed it to the north of the old house. At least they had a couple of bathrooms!
It is hard to imagine that this property (almost an acre) was planted in pure clover. The property had no debris and was landscaped by that old tractor that can still be seen in the far background. Even back before the tractor, when I was three or four years old, I can clearly remember most of the land in beautiful clover. Before the old house was built the ground was in total clover and was lined in concord grapes.

Mom did have a sink in the old house. There was a hose that connected the bottom of the sink to the outside. The weeds grew unbelievable tall on the outside, at the end of the drain hose. The hose was extended an additional 100 ft to the edge of the property. And there, again, the weeds grew thick, green, and tall. Mom had a refrigerator, a gas stove, and an outside cloths washer with a double ringer. When I close my eyes, I can still see mom outside, in the shade of a maple tree, working busily beside that washer. I can see her slamming the double ringers back together; which had sprang apart from too thick of a blanket. I can see the clothes squeezed through the ringers, all smooth as if just ironed, and fall into another tub: a rinse tub, full of cold, clear, water. Oh my poor Mom...

CB750 Honda
I bought the second-one-in-Chico, CB750 motorcycle. I had been reading about this "super" bike before it came into full production. And as soon as it hit the shores, I bought one!
I walked into the store to see two of the new super bikes, revolving around on a show carousel. They twirled in color and sparkling chrome. One was red, and one was black. I didn't stop to look at either of them. Instead, continued directly up to the front desk. I asked if either bike was sold. The guy says, "no". I proudly replied that the red one was. I love drama...

1980JUL19TwoBrothers.jpg, 13 kB
1980 Two brothers
We did not like the taste of whisky, and we did not like the smell of smoke, (either tobacco or marijuana); but we loved to ride. We rode to live, as long as there was no purpose for the ride. A ride to the store to buy a part had too much purpose. With vanishing of good forthought and reason, my brother and I rode all over northern california from sunup to sundown. The dazzling sun and the free pavement and the rushing air were reason enough. In fact, irresistable. We thrived on bikes, needing only just a couple of bucks in our pockets for gas, and a generous handful of throttle. We were two brothers sharing our smiles and miles. The twisty roads and towns were free, and never ended.
The second most funest thing - in the whole world - is to ride along side a brother; and to hear those powerful engines roar as one, as we were one. And we truly shared the "roar", as only two brothers can. Our jackets rattled together in the wind, and it seemed to make ordinary highway sounds fade away in comparison to being brothers.

For several years we rode, side by side. Common motorcycle practice is to ride in a staggered formation: Inside left, followed by outside right; giving two degrees of safety. But, generally, we did not ride this way - we rode side by side. Riding in this manner requires absolute trust. And a fair amount of skill. When taking a curve, both brothers lean together; one brother will always graciously lean down and place the top of his helmet to withen mere inches of the bottom of an oil stained engine, or a vast spinning rear wheel and dizzying chain. Although the other bike is a big noisy thing, during a tight curve it is mostly out of site, and more or less "felt". It is by faith that you know it is operated by your brother. Obviously, the CHP discourages this kind of hazardous riding, unless, of course, as was in our case - you are brothers! We proved our loyalty and trust (and stupidity) a thousand times; All spoken without words, over and over, on the many roads.

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Building a shed
These are fun years too...
We are building a storage shed. We had seven acres with a stream. We built chicken sheds, a huge electric fence, and put in a well. We purchased a mobile home. We had so much.

"I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake - which I also keep handy."
W. C. Fields 1946
"Zorba-the-Greek" years:
The tall pines smell of sweet green resin from pine needles, and the air is fresh and vitalizing. All around, in myriads of places, are Yellow-Pine, Ceder, Douglas-Fir, and Sugar-Pine. In this lofty paradise, there are more than five senses. It seems you can "taste" the mountains; you can "feel" the mountains in some strange, exotic way. Intoxicating; just like John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High".

Closet entertainment center
Power would be lost during storms.
I had five automotive batteries (configured in series) under the house.
This rack charged the batteries which ran everything.
I had a CB Radio, an old fourtrack tape player, a patch pannel for audio, and a TV.

I also had a WW2, Jeep engine, generator in a shed, which I only ran to recharge the batteries, and to re-chill the refrigerator. The generator was a 5kw "two phase". Also, it would run the washer and dryer (if turned on). The generator also would run the well pump. We were never without water, lights, or heat.

There was an additional battery in the chicken shed, which ran the shed lights and the automatic shed door opener. I used my acetylene welder to fabricate a double screw driven door; powered by an automotive windshield wiper motor. I used Radio Shack electronic parts for the logic. The chickens were locked in at night, and I did not have to worry about the many civet cats, racoons, and foxes.
Every day the door would come open, and every night the door would close.
A vox operated intercom was connected throughout the house, and to the chicken shed.

I had an alarm system for when the station was "off-the-air".
I certainly had my toys, and I invented them all.
I built a solar hot water heater that supplemented the propane hot water tank. I built the electronics that measured the roof temperature, hot water temperature on the roof, and the cold water temperature in the tank. It made all the decisions all by itself. I built it from scratch - on my own - before the hippies thought of it. At 3000 ft elevation the water could freeze. To prevent this, the system would flow warm water from the hot water tank into the heater lines on the roof, just enough to keep the water in the lines above about 35 degrees. I built all this from discrete logic - no microprocessors.

And everything still worked when power was lost. I thought that I was really cool! I was cooler than cool. (I should have known - Nobody is that cool.)

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Even a faster ride... 1998.07 JUL

I should mention somewhere in this story of an unpleasant event: my divorce. I only include the unpleasantness in the name of completeness. I am certainly not proud of it. At the time, I felt there is no greater pain than a divorce. And I do not mean for a day; The pain would not go away for years. My weight went down from 144 lbs to 119 lbs.
I tried to exercise to put weight back on, but I had no energy to do such. My ex-wife was a good cook. I saw no reason to eat very much anymore. Depression leads to thoughts that turn inward: to "self". To escape depression, you must realize that the self is not the center of the universe.

I purchased this house.

I insulated, and sheetrocked the garage; and I put down carpet befitting my GPZ 1100 super bike. This was no longer an ordinary garage: this was a big "fun" room. (Why am I so immature?)

I used leftover carpet from the rest of the house for the garage floor. I put in florescent lights and made the garage into a nice huge room. I could work in here; in the middle of winter or summer, in comfort.
(This is where I fabricated many of my prototype boards for my control systems; and after preliminary testing, carried the boards to broadcast sites, where I would complete the tests.)

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Mom and Dad passed away early. Dad at 66 from two decades of problems, a heat attack and several strokes. Mom from emphysema at 71. Moms emphysema was caused by poisonous second hand cigarette smoke.

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I planted azaleas. They, and all flowers, have a certain enate glory that can not be owned. And worse: are ephemeral. They shine brightly only to fade away. I don't know about my neighbors azaleas, but the azaleas that you see in the picture are only on loan.

I planted several colors of azaleas in a corner of the back yard.
I reflect on Moms pretty flowers and those "poverty years"...

I now can see with better eyes; And worldly grandeur I despise, And fortune with her gifts and lies.
William Wordsworth

"Posterity is just around the corner."
George Kaufman
Do I treat my past as a burden; something to hide? My past gives me joy and fullness, and it gives energy and confidence. It is sort of a "base". One must use the blood in their veins - without denial, wither good or bad - to their advantage. Never deny it! Embrace it; it is "you". All sticker weeds and thistles are pretty too - in a myriad of ways. I embrace the pain, and see beauty in thistles. I love those "poverty years".

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Computer Room

My computer room.

"We should take care not to make the intellect our god,
it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality."

Albert Einstein
Link here. This is not an ordinary desk...
There are air filters near my knees, under the desk. Air is drawn in on the left and right. The four cabinets, two on the bottom and two on the top, are air sealed. Air is drawn through all the electronic equipment on both lower sides, then sent to the two upper sides, through electronics, and finally, ejected at the top. Equipment is not only kept cool, it is also kept clean.
This is the coolest desk ever!
I have seen nothing like my desk.

There are great places to get ideas:
I get my greatest ideas resting or asleep in bed, followed by while I am driving a vehicle, to ideas while at the desk. The desk ranks about third.

The second place, driving, has caused me much grief. When I "awake" while driving, suddenly I realize that I am on the totally wrong side of town, and on some strange street. And to make matters worse, I can not remember what I was doing, or where I wanted to go. Chico is only seven miles across, for heavens sake!

I find myself sitting at stoplights waiting for some unknown color. "Green" can go by several times, I choose it not. There are only three colors to choose from; I do not remember any of them. Twice - that I remember - I have chosen red, and took off across the intersection. It feels like the damn car has a mind of it's own. Perhaps I should see a doctor. The suggestion has subtilely changed to a kind of accusation - with bad implications - by some of my so called friends. I really do not think there is a problem. I have had it all my life, just like Dad, and he was ok. Before he died, you would practically have to knock on his forehead with your knuckles to get his attention, and then, only in return, to be suddenly yelled at. It was all or nothing with him.

There is a rainbow luggage band around my chair. The rainbow colors are not exclusively mine. They are used at the bottom of all my web pages.

To me, they signify the "Beginning and the End".
And, as used in the bible, the rainbow colors signify both a "Promise" and "the End".
And in meteorology, a rainbow can punctuate the end of a storm, and be the beginning something else.
If I did it right, there should be eight bands in that rainbow.
The number 8 in numerology signifies Beginning and End.
The number 8 in some ancient cultures signifies Birth and Death.
In computer science, with 8 bits in a byte, the number 8 denotes the End and the Start of a sequence.
(Sorry for being so philosophical; I thought I would throw that in for no apparent reason.)

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This picture was taken in 1982.
The "Workshop" were I spent my early years: about 2 to 5.
Back then this "workshop" was our house. I remember mom cleaning it. It was always clean and tidy. That might seem strange for a kid to remember, but, indeed, I remember the cleanliness. I had a crib on the right hand side of this small building, with clean sheets and pretty dangling toys.

Where I stood over thirty years ago, now stands my son.

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Coat Of Arms
In the house of Joseph Pennock: Born 1677

It means "people of the high hill". The picture shows a shoe above a mountain. This picture is in the home of Joseph Pennock (from Ireland), and now a national monument. The house was constructed in 1738 in West Grove, Pennsylvania.