I am a true geek – in every sense of the word. I was the guy in high school with a pocket protector filled with multi-colored Bic pens, a protractor, compass, slide-rule and small spiral notebook. (I have a box of these little notebooks from 1966 or so to today, even as I stare at one next to the keyboard) I was the guy that belonged to the science club, the math club, the radio club. I got my first job in a TV repair store from Mel when I was 12 – and I thank him for caring enough to put a kid like me on such a great path.
I built my first stereo when I was 13 from scraps harvested from old TVs at Mel’s shop – all tube of course. I learned current flow, color codes, soldering, measuring voltage, reading schematics – all in his spare time on a back bench or my kitchen table.
I got my first CB radio kit as a Christmas present a year or so later – a Heathkit GW-22, my mom was amazed when it worked!
I later worked for them in their Ham Radio department on radio frontends and transmit driver band pass filters for their new line of solid state transceivers.
This gear is still in my shack and gets a workout every once-in-a-while.
The Air Force fed this hunger – a career in radio and avionics positioned me for degrees in Industrial Electronics and Computer Systems Engineering. I built my first home computer in 78 with my new born daughter in a seat on the workbench watching carefully as I soldered, tested and smiled.
A life long passion for the space program started in Mrs. Atkins 5th grade class as I drew the flight path of Alan Shepard’s flight through sitting in a Taiwanese military academy’s class room with my conversational English students as we watch Apollo 17 touch down and the first foot prints made. I was proud of the fact that the attitude control rockets on the lunar lander were my Uncle Victor’s design.
I was at my desk at Rockwell working on new communications gear I still can’t talk about as Enterprise was launched and recovered.
I was installing fiber optic cable in a nearby power plant when Challenger exploded and our confidence was shaken.
I dream of travel when I explore with my old Mead 2080 telescope and think perhaps its time for one of the new models, just because they are so cool!
And last night I sat in my recliner, tears of joy streaming down my face as I watched Curiosity make its stunning landing.
We have forgotten so much. We have allowed our natural spirit of exploration and discovery to become so clouded that we forget that we can do great and wonderful things. I watched in pure and utter joy and wonder at the engineering feet this team pulled off . . . .
And acknowledged . . . . .
I love being a geek!!
Congrats to everyone . . . .