I am afraid of storms. It is one of the driving forces to why I have a connection with the weather and one of the reasons I eventually chose Meteorology to study. There is a reason, I grew up in a small town called Plainfield, Illinois, which is a suburb of Chicago. On August 28, 1990, we had a devastating F-5 (the Enhanced Fujita scale wasn’t operational yet) tornado the day before school started. There is no video of it, but the destruction was massive and it changed our lives as a community forever. I went to school in mobile units for my first years because the school I went to took a direct hit. Luckily we lived outside the direct path, but I remember that day vividly. It actually spawned an idea called the “Plainfield Syndrome,” where out of precaution, severe weather would rattle off the tornado sirens “just in case”. It felt like we were going through tornado drills and the sirens were present just about every storm. This is the reason I’m afraid of storms. Before leaving the house, I would always ask if there was a basement where we were going. Here is a photo courtesy of the Plainfield library of some of the damage.
“Where are you from?”… “Chicago”…well not really, but when I talk to folks outside of Illinois, that’s the easiest response. Being a 35-minute drive outside of the city, it felt like I was from the windy city. It did rub off on me though, I am a major Chicago sports fan. Growing up during MJ, Pippen, Rodman, Phil and the others, I got to witness some amazing basketball. I’m also a huge Cubs fan, Bears fan, and Blackhawks fan. My dad would take me to Cubs games growing up. It was an amazing day when the Cubs won in 2016 after such a painful drought.
You’ll notice that I’m a guy of hobbies. Growing up in the midwest, you had to create some fun and it mainly came to sports and hobbies. I took organ lessons growing up but I eventually was graced with a guitar when I was about 10. I didn’t pick it up until I was 14 and I haven’t stopped playing it since then. This is one of my personal guitars that I bought in high school, it’s a 2000 Gibson Les Paul with custom stars on the inlays. I’m not a huge fan of the design these days, but I’ve put some major time into it and it has some good memories (some awful high school bands). These days I just practice away for my own good.
As I mentioned, I have a lot of hobbies. With the growth of computer technology, I have been sucked into the computer world. My dad was into computers and we would always have a new improved computer around. I recall playing real early computer games in the early 90s with him and my Uncle. Well, fast forward to the late 90s and I was building computers and playing competitive computer games with friends. We would travel to nearby states to play competitively and I still enjoy it to this day. This is just a stock photo to get the idea. I’d have to search way back to find some personal ones.
If you have followed me on social media, you probably know that I’m into tie-dye. That is true and that will continue for a long time. Here is a photo of a tapestry that I did a while back. My favorite work is actually old Grateful Dead shirts, but there are a lot of artists out there that I admire.
I am afraid of flying. I hate airplanes. I dislike being near airplanes. Being stuck in a tin can at 30,000 ft just doesn’t sit right for me. I like my feet on the ground where I can admire those who are courageous enough to get into one of those objects. If I’m going to the airport to fly, it feels like it takes years off of my life. However, I totally dig airports to just hang out at or to be there for when someone is coming to visit!
I have an older sister (bonus 11 things), so naturally, I had to spend a lot of time as the younger brother going to her sporting events and dance classes. Well somewhere along the lines I got the chance to pick up a volleyball and it’s been one of my favorite sports since. I was fortunate enough to have a coed volleyball team from 5th to 8th grade and then Men’s volleyball through high school. I’m 6’1″ and I am the short guy when I play volleyball. I had the chance to play through high school and shortly in College. Here is a snip from my high school team photo.
It’s debatable what my first job actually was, but the first job that required me to wear a uniform and be on a schedule was at a local roller rink. I was 15 and my parents would drop me off about 3 times a week to be a skate guard and fill-in DJ (I would just toss a mix on and go). This was really fun. I learned quickly that people do not like to listen to you and that a whistle is necessary. It’s hard to persuade someone who is 10-40 years older than you to go the right direction, while the little ones move in mysterious ways in all directions. Let’s just keep the counterclockwise motion going, alright peeps. I also learned that there is a pretty intense skating culture and I support every second of it. People are amazing on roller skates, I’ve seen coworkers do flips off walls and rotating splits. INSANE. I didn’t’ have a photo of my pair, but they resembled these:
Lastly, I didn’t grow up on a farm but I did have some friends who lived on one and it was always a real blast getting to go there and see the animals and ride the tractors. Well these days, I have a few chickens at least.