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About Me

Last Updated: April 05, 2017 04:17:44 PM

Background

Me being air blasted by my (ex)wife. (1990)


Born in Germany on a U.S. Army base, just like Bruce Willis. He is 10 years and 364 days older, though. My family moved back to Bakersfield when I was less than a year old. I grew up in Westminster, Huntington Beach, and Ventura County, California. School wasn't quite the place for me because I had so many interests that kept me from doing very well. I passed all my courses, but I was more hands on than a reader. Fixed my bicycles, built things and liked to ride with friends around Orange County. Started to do some BASIC coding with a TI99 in the mid 80's and almost bought a TRS80 from Radio Shack. That was the end of my programming until the mid 90's.

My dad steered me into buying a C8 telescope. I met some people in the OC Astronomy Club and went out at least once a month to do astro-photography.

Orion

I met Bill Schaefer through my geology teacher at HB High School, Ms. Carol Stadum. She was the first female on the CA Geology Board.

Carol Stadum on the right. The Grouards donated their fossil collection to UC Irvine. We presented a plaque to them and transported the collection to the university.

Bill was in his late seventies when I met him and bought a 12.5" f/6.2 Newtonian from him along with an 8" mount he built.

12 Inch on 8 Inch Schaefer

12.5" f/6.2 on 8" Schaefer Mount

I used that for a few years until he started building an 11 7/8" mount. I was in his shop as he was building one for someone in Texas. He said he'd build mine next. I was there when he drilled holes for the DEC circle and missed one of his marks, so the three holes are not equal distance from each other. Anyway, a couple weeks later he told me my mount was done. He decided to sell the mount he was working on to me and not the person in Texas. On top of that, he sold it to me at a discount; total price was $3250. The last I heard is that they were being sold for about $12,000 in early 2000. The 12.5" scope was purchased by Tony and Daphne Hallas, whom I met at Lockwood valley in 1986 when Tony saw the scope peeking over my van.

Tony at RTMC

Sadly, the only photo I have of Tony at RTMC. A truss tube frame is in back of him which was the top of my 17.5" f/5.6.
(Film was not stored well and not developed until some 15 years later.)

He was just getting into astrophotography, which was perfect because he already had a lab in Ventura. Because I was working with Tom Hames and his cousin Tim Swann grinding mirrors, I built my own 17.5" f/5.6 scope to put on my new mount.

Tom and Schaefer Mount
Tom Hames with his 8" Schaefer Mount (~1987)

12" Schaefer Mount, RTMC 1995

A sad photo; my 12" Schaefer mount for sale, RTMC 1995.

Dave Holland purchased the mount after this meeting. He replaced the 110lb tripod with a lighter weight version and painted it brown. I hope he was smart enought to keep it!

Ok, now with kids and not too much into the astronomy as much as working and learning computer stuff on my new 486xs, everything was changing. I found a job with Aeronautical Systems as a fabricator working with carbon, kevlar, fiberglas and aluminum. The job was easy to get since I had worked for Aerovironment for a while building the Pointer drone.

GNAT Drone

GNAT Drone, CIA, 22 built (More Info)

After nine months of working on everything from the Predator fuselage and wings, to engine cowls, I was chosen to replace Keith, who was leaving for another job. I was now building the landing gear and tail sections for the GNAT. Lots of fun people to work with and ping-pong during breaks and lunch! The Aerovironment people were fun, too, but the dark skies of the desert loured me away from the suburbs into the nowhereland of Lancaster.

October 2000, we now have 3 girls keeping us busy. Carrie had been working at the media library on South Base, Edwards Air Force Base. Her drive into work included a direct view of the B2B hanger on the east side of the parking lot. And, she was at the end of the runway where the space shuttles would land. Now we were moving back to civilization - Thousand Oaks, where it was somewhat green. I found a job grinding and polishing optics for Navy scopes, and silicon for train braking systems.

For whatever reason, I decided to learn more about computers and networking, so I got my MCP+I and A+ certifications. My first job was the IT (Manager, since I was the only one there at the time) at Baja Fresh Mexican Grill in Thousand Oaks. Mmmmm. The job was in the building on the corner, about a 10 minute walk, and we had a restaurant at the front door of our apartment.

Baja Fresh lasted a couple years, until they almost went public and Wendy's bought them. I quickly found a new job as a contractor for CSC, working at the Port Hueneme Navy Base. We had an awesome group of 5 who worked together to take care of all of the servers and networking, and a good portion of users including B1000, IT Contractors, and the construction battalion. We were there before and during the time the Navy implemented the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI). Again, I was fortunate enough to have made such an impression on someone leaving their position supporting the IT Contracting department, such that he recommended me to take his position. I was now working for CACI, the designers and supporters of the Standardized Procurement System (SPS) or Procurement Desktop Defense (PD2). CACI sent me to training in Virginia for both SPS and the Sybase database system they use.

There was a point where a Navy contract specialist signed the contract I was on, but he didn't have authority to sign the contract. I was out of work because of the incident and wasn't paid for almost a year; 4.5 months of that year I worked with no pay and the rest I was unemployed. During that time, I went to classes for Cisco through New Horizons, but did not test for the certification. Eventually, I went back to the Navy as a Windows System Admin. This was short lived because the contractor lost the contract and most of the existing individuals were let go without question. There is now a rule that contractors cannot let go of current employees when a new contract is put in place.

November 2010, we lost our 13 year old, Lauren Cassey, to suicide.

More non-sense. Divorced in 2011.

Worked for Gold Coast Health Plan for nine months. Some good people to work with, most are under extreme stress for no apparent reason. I tried to make their work simpler by designing apps to do what they need it to do. That didn't help. Contractors were coming from everywhere but California, being paid huge amounts of money. I was paid well, too, but it didn't help since my family issues were on my mind. I started programming a web based app for the health plan, but nobody seemed to want to fix anything. I ended up quiting, but continued with the application. It's now called Sequoia Medical Network (dev.sequoiamedicalnetwork.com), but I can't seem to get anyone interested in even looking at it.

Out of SMN, I was able to strip it down into what I call the SuiteOrganizer. I know it has great potential. I am using it to write this post, and host this and most of my other websites. I can't do it all myself, but I'm trying. There's a lot more experience I have accumulated in all this time.

My hopes are that people will climb out of the slump they are feeling slow them down and start listening closer so they can find ways to make life better for everyone. (Maybe it's just Ventura County, or California?) Listen, learn, share, patience, effort and forge on.



Examples of completed projects:


Acqman (Acquisition Manager) - Custom MS Access application created to track which contract specialists are working on specific contracts, used for reporting the progress being made on all IT contracts for the U.S. Navy.

Veteran tracking application (MySQL, PHP, HTML, CSS) used for continued support of veterans needing support for healthcare, legal assistance, clothing needs, and virtually any other needs our veterans are entitled to.

Production and order management application in MS Access for a trumpet mouthpiece company used to take orders, manage workloads, organize packaging, and retrieve status of any order.

A complete health plan processing application from credentialing of providers to assigning contract detail to all providers. Available features include contact management, email, newsletters, website creation, content management that can be shared using methods including websites and pdf reporting, data exports including Excel, csv, and XML, 100's of chart types, and private messaging. Security options include encryption, password protected sites and pages, firewall, and intrusion detection and prevention services.