So you didn't heed the warning that I'm a very boring person on the front page... a shame, for now I'm going to bore you to death with the dull details of my existance. As I mentioned, a good deal of my spare time is devoted to chasing around what's left of the old Denver & Rio Grande Western - to the left is a photo of me sitting in front of three D&RGW units (lead by SD40T-2 5360) here in Colorado Springs on 1-Apr-2001. More about my strange obcession with the Rio Grande later...
Quick Version of My Past
I'm not a native Colorado resident by any means - I was born, raised, and educated back in Iowa, and eventually I do hope to return. Quick summary of my life: Born 7-Jan-1977 in Walcott, IA, and raised in the shadow of the CRI&P and now the Iowa Interstate. Went to high school at West in Davenport, IA, and then on to Iowa State for five years in electrical engineering. After that, it was out to Colorado to work with FedEx in a field more than slightly unrelated to my major - programming and analysis (and just about anything else imaginable). Also coming along about the same time was my marriage to my long-time friend and more, Michelle Thayer (err, now Holmes). While I used to have an entire page devoted to her, I'll just leave it at that and let her say anything she wants over on her own site. That brings us up to today, where we live out on the east side of Colorado Springs, just about a mile north of the airport, with our three cats (Boomer, Quinn, and Hamlet), our two servers (Charybdis and Frontrange), and the pesky squirrel that is bound and determined to ruin our gardening attempts, in addition to eating part of the gutter and destroying the birdfeeder.
(Probably should update this at some point - Michelle's gone. She left me about three years ago. Still haven't managed to get over it. So if you're looking for her, don't email me; I'll just ignore you.)
Trains and Railfanning
Myself at Crater, CO, looking dumb... As if you couldn't figure it out, I'm a bit of a train nut at heart. Okay, to maybe "a bit" is the understatement of the decade. My primary fascination is, was, and has been for a good long time the Denver & Rio Grande Western - a network of narrow and standard gauge lines operating in Colorado, Utah, and at some points in history New Mexico, travelling through some of the most spectacular scenery in the continental US and seemingly surviving against all odds during most of its history. My current goal is to capture and present as much information I can about the historical D&RGW online for others (hence DRGW.NET, as well as getting off my lazy rear and photographing the final days as the remainder of the Rio Grande fleet is painted, sold, or scrapped. In some ways, it's much like an overblown state of denial - since I only was able to see the real Rio Grande in action once as a kid, I'm trying to make up for lost time, and fighting a losing battle. I still refuse to believe that the D&RGW is really gone until the last piece of black and gold power is painted and the Moffat line is abandoned. People call it dead as though it hasn't come back from worse in the past... :) Either way, railroading in Colorado and Utah is still spectacular, no matter who owns it or what's doing the pulling. If you don't believe me, just check out the trip reports section of DRGW.Net - that's the results of my travels throughout Colorado and the western US, both in pursuit of Rio Grandes and for a little railfanning along with my job (when I'm out on the road rolling out new software).
For those that care, I'm quite heavily into railroad photography, digital imaging, website stuff, and so on... Being an engineer and a technophile at heart, I moved away from shooting film several years ago and never looked back. My transition went from a Yashica 230AF (film SLR) to an Olympus D600L to an Olympus C-3000 to my current camera of choice, the Canon EOS 20D. It's a semi-professional grade digital SLR body that takes standard Canon EF-mount lenses - darn handy for those really odd shots.
I'm also a model railroader, and having bought and moved into a larger house in the fall of 2004, I can finally start my layout. I'll post more as progress is made.
As has been mentioned elsewhere on this site, my vehicle of choice is a 1995 Honda del Sol. I used to own an '01 Yukon, and traded that off on a new Honda CR-V during the winter of 2004/2005. However, while either of the former are far technically superior, neither the Yukon nor the CR-V is particularly fun to drive, unlike the Sol. So, most of the time when I'm out, except for bad weather, I'm driving it.
For those of you who think my whole life revolves around railfanning, you'd only be half right. I do actually work on other things, and I have a wife and friends that also get a sizable chunk of my time. I'm also an insulator and electrical hardware collector (everything from electrical insulators to metering and switching equipment) and a collector of old railroad paper and hardware. I'm also a big supporter of the Free Software and Open Source movements (both have their merits, I won't get into that), and I spend some amount of my life writing and/or contributing to several software projects. (Be sure to check out the software I've released that we've developed to operate DRGW.Net over on the Software section.) I also spend time tinkering with electronics (since, after all, that is what my education says I'm good for, despite the fact I'm a software monkey at work). In addition to all of that, I'm also a certified scuba diver, and once time and budget permit I intend to start spending more time underwater. As far as more passive past-times, you can also put me down as a Chicago Cubs fan and just a guy who generally likes to sit and fish. If that doesn't cover it, I'm sure I can think up a few more things I've undertaken...