Various Interests
(Stuff that isn't mentioned elsewhere on my web page)

Various Interests page index:

Goats
Boy Scouts
Mission trips
Stamp Collecting
Making Maple Syrup
Creation/Evolution
Hiking
Camping
Life Goals

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Goats

My wife has been raising a small herd of dairy goats for over 15 years before we got married. I felt this was a good match for my life style and goals, so I looked for a place for us to live to accommodate her goats. Now together we work to take care of the goats and upgrade and maintain the farm. Becky makes home made soap with the goat milk, we sell some of the baby goats, and we benefit from the milk in other ways as well. For more information on our goats, soap business, and other things Becky does, see our farm web site: Dixie Does Alpines.

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Boy Scouts

In the Boy Scouts, I was a Patrol Leader for one year. In this position, I led a group of about 8 boys. Our patrol managed to stay together with very little fluctuation throughout the year. There were two other patrols in our Troop, which fluctuated wildly in size, and were, in general, more poorly behaved. Our patrol consistently earned more "honor" points than the other patrols, primarily by wearing our proper uniforms, earning various awards and contests, and doing special projects.

During my years as a Boy Scout, I attended the Boy Scout camp Sabattis, in Sabattis, New York, deep in the Adirondack Park. At this rustic camp, I earned numerous merit badges, which are included in the list below. Our troop went on numerous camping trips, which included places like Sandy Hook, the New Jersey Pine Barrons, Gettysburg, Treasure Island (accessible only by boat), and numerous state forests in the northern New Jersey area. I also joined many other boys and adult leaders from troops in Northern New Jersey on a trip to Philmont, a Boy Scout hiking ranch in New Mexico. This trip was a week long hiking expedition deep into the woods and high into the mountains of the area. We carried everything we needed in packs for up to 2 days at a time.

I obtained Life Rank, which is just one rank below Eagle, the highest Rank in Boy Scouting. Though I remained a Boy Scout until I was 18, a primary reason for not obtaining Eagle Scout was pressures from school work. Even after I was 18, I remained in Scouting for an extra year as Assistant Scout Master. In this capacity, I continued to go on camping trips and attend Scout meetings, though not quite as frequently. I also helped organize our troop's equipment closet, which contained numerous tents, cooking utensils, fire building equipment, and many other tools used for camping and other activities.

The Merit Badges I earned include:
Camping, Canoeing, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Environmental Science, Finger Printing, First Aid, Mammals, Orienteering, Personal Management, Railroading, Rowing, Small Boat Sailing, Soil & Water, Stamp Collecting, Swimming, and Weather

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Mission trips

During my Junior High and High School years, I attended a church youth group, which organized a mission trip every year. I was able to attend each of these mission trips.

Our first trip was to Portland, Maine (1989). We worked with Habitat for Humanity, helping to build a house. A side project involved building a small shed on a separate plot of land.

The following year (1990), we went to Zywiec, Poland, where we worked closely with a small Presbyterian church. They had just moved into a new building, which needed a lot of yard work, as well as numerous chores inside the building. This involved cleaning up a plot of land and leveling it, placing drainage stones around the edge of the building, and laying cement in a few specific locations.

The following year (1991), we went to Philadelphia, where we worked with numerous inner city missionary organizations on various projects, including serving dinner to the homeless, yard work, and "street corner evangelism" in unconventional style. The street corner evangelism involved setting up in Liberty Park near the Liberty Bell, where we provided games for kids, painted pictures on their hands, and blew soap bubbles, among other activities. We were in Philadelphia from Sunday Morning until Wednesday Morning.

On Wednesday, we drove to Washington DC to attend DC '91, which was a Christian Youth Conference attended by some 14,000 other high school aged youth. We listened to dynamic speakers including Ron Hutchcraft and Becky Terabassi, and listened to Christian music by groups such as DC Talk and Carmen. It's amazing to see 14,000 teenagers at an age where kids tend to be the most rebellious, cheering for the Lord, cheering for things that Christians stand for, and pledging to make a difference in their world when they return from the conference.

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Stamp Collecting

Every stamp issued signifies a significant object or aspect in our world. Stamps come from all around the world, and travel great distances. I have a stamp collection partially inherited, and partially added to by my own efforts. While I am currently not actively keeping my collection up to date, I am always on the lookout for stamps to add to my collection. Some day, I hope to go back to my collection, and get caught up with the huge volume of stamps to be catalogued and placed in albums.

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Making Maple Syrup

During the spring of 2001 and 2002, and the Winter of 2003, while staying with some friends in New York state, I made maple syrup. My friends have a number of Sugar Maple trees on their property. The first year, they showed me how to use the equipment to make syrup. The syrup I made didn't turn out too well, it was overboiled, and the sugar crystalized in the mason jars it was stored in. The first year, we had 8 taps, and ended up with less than a gallon of syrup. The second year, I was better prepared. With 25 taps, I collected far more sap, and boiled it down to 8 1/2 gallons of maple syrup. Using a hydrometer, the syrup turned out far better. It takes a lot of boiling to make maple syrup, but since the house was heated with a wood stove and the evaporating pan was made to fit on top of the stove, the process was actually quite efficient. Since we needed to heat the house anyway, there was little additional effort for energy use. The biggest time consuming jobs included setup (drilling holes in the trees and placing taps and buckets) and cleanup, (removing taps and cleaning the buckets). If I have the opportunity to make syrup again, I will, and I have several ideas as to how to make the process more efficient. To the top of this page
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Creation/Evolution

During my senior year in High School, I went to the Grand Canyon with my parents. We joined the Institute for Creation Research on their annual Canyon tour. While my mom went on a bus tour to other nearby landmarks, my dad and I hiked into the canyon and learned many things from our leaders. This was perhaps my first big intruduction to the science behind the theory of Creation. I have been to quite a number of seminars and read a lot of material since then, and I enjoy discussing this topic. I have summarized some of my thoughts and what I consider to be among the strongest evidence for Creation on my thoughts page.

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Hiking

I have enjoyed Hiking, walking, and jogging most of my life. I particularly like to hike, and I have hiked in many places. These include a week long trip to the Boy Scout ranch Philmont, which was virtually all hiking, a week long trip into the Grand Canyon, which involved hiking just about every day, hiking up Whiteface Mountain, Tongue Mountain, Noonmark Mountain,and part way up Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks, hiking various mountains in New Hampshire and at least one in Maine during summer camp there, and many other shorter hikes, including virtually all the trails above Silver Bay Association. I have recently made it a goal to hike all 46 of the 4000 foot high peaks in NY. As of 11/10/2002 I have hiked 6: Whiteface, Rocky Peak Ridge, Giant, Cascade, Colden, and Porter.

I also like to walk, particularly if I am going somewhere not far away. I can and usually do walk very fast when I am by myself, and for certain short trips, it is often just as effective to walk as it would be to drive. It may take a few minutes longer, but when you consider you are getting exercise instead of burning gas in the car, the difference balances out. I keep this fact in mind especially for trips of up to a mile or if I am going to a place within a short distance of public transit.

I used to jog a lot for the exercise benefit, as well as just to be able to get out into the fresh air. I did this in college a lot because I had friends who often went with me. Since then, I have not jogged very much mainly because of a problem with cramps. However, for the most part, I have replaced this activity with walking and hiking (see above).

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Camping

By reading the above section about hiking, you can see that some of these trips involve overnight outdoor living. This would include things like cooking meals over an open fire, setting up tents, and other outdoor activities. Also, being in the Boy Scouts has exposed me to many more camping trips, where we participated in numerous outdoor activities ranging from survival skills to a klondike derby.

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Travel Experience

Most of my recent long distance travel has been by train (Amtrak), and most of my shorter distance travel (up to a one day's drive) has been by car. I did not travel by plane from 1990 until 2006. Since then I have flown several times. Before 1990, I travelled to Germany and Poland for a Senior High church mission trip. I have also travelled all over North America, including Portland, Oreogn; San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami, the Virgin Islands, Montreal and Quebec; Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico; and many cities both big and small in between. This has given me experience with Mexican border crossings and travel in Mexico, as well as knowledge of ground transportation systems in many cities, including a significant collection of city transit and commuter rail system maps and schedules. I have been in all but 2 of the continental United States: South Dakota, and Wyoming. I have not been to Hawaii or Alaska. Most of my travel experience involves the northeastern states and about 75% of the Amtrak long distance network. Specifically, I know where to get some good deals on Amtrak, and I also have a collection of "schedules" for many major northeastern interstate highways, listing approximate driving times between major intersections, interchanges, and rest stops.

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Life Goals

Professional Goals:
One of my biggest life goals is to have a family based on Christian values. see my Parenting Seminar page. Good news: This is starting to happen!
Perhaps my most important goal is to point people to the Saviour Jesus the Messiah, also known as Yahshua and the Creater of the universe (Yahweh). See my Bible lessons page.
My two biggest visions for my life are somewhat conflicting, and which way I go will depend largly on how God directs me. One vision would be an outgrowth of the first goal above of having a family, where my wife and children would be involved in ministry in some way, perhaps linked with David Caldwell's camp planting efforts. See my Mexico Challenge page.
The other vision would be to live increasingly independently of the worlds systems: the electric grid, the need for vast amounts of oil imported from long distances, and the need for food that is also imported from long distances. This vision is not at all to live isolated from humans or even from access to these items, or even to avoid completely using such resources. Instead, it is living such that should one or more of these resources be cut off for a period of time, we could continue to survive and perhaps even be in a position to minister to others in need at that time. For more thoughts on thisk, see my Self Sufficiency in Basic Needs page.
I want to learn more about my various interests.
I want to help others reach their goals.

Hobby/Recreational Goals:
I would like to climb all 46 NY state high peaks.
I would like to ride on as many rail based transit systems as possible (ideally the entire system in as many cities as possible).

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Summit High School

Summit High School
125 Kent Place Boulevard
Summit, NJ, 07901
(908)273-1494 (Main Office)

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Computer Languages

In addition to the languages listed on my resume, I have also programmed in the following languages:

Ada
APL
assembly language (VAX/VMS and Macintosh)
BASIC
CLIPS
ECLIPS
Fox Pro
Java
Lisp
Macintosh Toolbox
Visual Basic

and others

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City of Summit, White Paper Recycling

In 9th grade, I took up this job in pursuit of my conservationist nature. This job did not require a lot of brain power, but it did allow me to interact with a variety of different businesses in my home town, from a rug store to a supermarket, to an insurance agent, to several Realtor agencies, to the lady who worked as the money collector for a city parking lot.

By doing various jobs at the local Community Youth Center, you could earn points that you could then purchase almost anything you want with. This particular job was set up by the city of Summit through a grant to the Youth Center. The grant was for about $1000. This job was divided up into several routes, for which you could earn 4 points for doing each route, once per week. There were 3 routes, so a total of 12 points were available each week. If several people did the particular route, the points would be divided up between those who worked. For a little while, this worked fine. But after several weeks, I was the only one doing the work, and I eventually took over doing all the routes, earning 12 points per week!

The job took just 2 hours a week, and each point was worth $2, so the pay was great for a rather meanial job. If just one other person joined me, however, the pay would be half. But this rarely happened. After a while, I had accumulated a considerable number of points. When I tried to purchase something, the money had to be approved by some that were higher up than just the director of the Youth Center. I also came to the conclusion that I was (in good conscience) taking advantage of a perfect example of government waste!

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Richland-Knowles

Richland-Knowles was an independent insurace agent office that was one of my stops on my white paper recycling route. My work at Richland Knowles involved a great amount of shuffeling files around. This project consisted of moving many boxes of folders containing insurance records from one room to another. One room contained several cases of shelves laden with these boxes. Another room contained perhaps 30 file cabinets, many of which already had folders in them. I was instructed to move all the files into the room with the file cabinets. I also alphabetized many of these folders, and labelled the file cabinets according to the letters of the alphabet that they contained. During the course of the summer, I was able to complete the bulk of this project, leaving undone only the currently active files that needed to stay with the insurance agents as they worked on their own projects. While this work does not necessarily require a lot of brain power, it did require a lot of diligence, patience, and to some degree, physical strength. I also got to interact with the employees of the organization, from the head of the local agency, all the way down to each of the insurance agents. We all got along quite well, and I even occasionally helped them with a few other small projects during the course of my work there.

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Silver Bay Association

I worked at the Silver Bay Association for the summers of 1994-1996, and full time from the end of the summer of 1996 through the end of the summer of 1999. My first year, I worked on a project involving the creation of a database to contain inventory information for the campus. This involved counting items around campus, taking pictures and video tapes of the various buildings, and building several database files in Fox Pro, including a database for a file cabinet of blueprints and a database for information about the various campus buildings. At the end of the summer, I helped Silver Bay establish an account and an E-mail addresses on America Online.

My second and third year at Silver Bay I worked in the Summer Program Office, where my responsibilities included gathering the schedules of the various campus events and creating a Daily Prompter that listed the schedules of those events. As the name implies, the Daily Prompter is a daily one sheet publication that lists the times for activities, meetings, and events.

I was also responsible for making copies for the various departments, as well as newsletters or information sheets for the conferences that visit Silver Bay. Things that fall into this category range from 300 copies of a 3 page, double sided, collated and stapled newsletter that one large conference puts together on a daily basis for a week, to single copies for individuals. Over the course of these summers, this two-person office typically generated over 60,000 copies.

I also helped people on a variety of computer projects that are generated by the various departments. In one case, the boat house wanted to type up their note card file of people who had passed a boating class. Smaller requests come in on a regular basis from people who want sign up forms, signs, or other things easily done on a computer.

During my second year, I was able to establish 3 new e-mail addresses under the America Online account that Silver Bay already had. While one of them was used only once before being deleted, the other two have been used heavily. One is for Guests and Emps who wouldn't otherwise have access to E-mail, to be able to send and receive messages from friends. In the course of the first full summer of use, we exchanged over 300 messages on this address. The number of messages doubled the second summer and doubled again the third summer. The other address is used by the director of conference services, to communicate with people who bring conferences here so they can easily communicate to us the needs of their particular conference.

I am also known informally as a computer know-it-all type person. The level of computer knowledge at Silver Bay is pretty low, so my status in this area is somewhat relative. While I do know a lot about computers, I also know that many of my computer science major peers know a lot more about certain aspects of computers than I do. None-the-less, when there are computer problems at Silver Bay, or if people have questions about why their computer isn't doing what they expect, I'm usually the one who gets called for help.

During the summer of 1996, I started to design Silver Bay's web page, doing virtually all of the HTML programming myself. This web page can be viewed at Silver Bay's web site at http://www.silverbay.org

At the end of the summer season, the program office is no longer needed as the number and size of conferences dwindles to a trickle. At the end of the summer of 1996, I was placed in the position of working on a major database project for Silver Bay. This project involved creating a program in Microsoft Fox Pro that could handle the annual giving and membership database files, and provide an interface for these files for easy entry of new data and the querying of existing data. I started by spending time getting familiar with Fox Pro. I then spent about 4 and 1/2 weeks transferring the data from Microsoft File into Fox Pro, converting the data from its flat line form into a truly relational form. In doing so, we refined considerably what the final database files would look like. I then built a program around an existing sample that came with Fox Pro, with a variety of screens for interaction and input of data. When this was mostly complete, we had changed the makeup of the data files so much that most of the query writing had to be redone. Fortunately, this process was much faster than before, since I had learned a considerable amount about Fox Pro while developing the screens. By then, a considerable amount of time had passed since we had last transferred the data and when the input screens were finished, so we decided that it would be better to retransfer the data than to reenter all the changes made to the old data. We were able to begin using the new system by then, which was sometime in the early spring of 1997. I spent most of that summer comparing data in the new system with data in the old system and correcting differences. The database system still needed a lot of work, particularly with developing reports and refining the overall system. We attempted to make the system multi-user but ran into limitations with the Fox Pro system. I created a work-around that did what we needed. At least part of the system was still in use as of September 25, 2001.

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Scholarship

During my senior year of High School, I was told about a scholarship that could be obtained by someone who had worked on a programming project of some kind. I was unaware of the scholarship, or the qualifications, so I decided to take a look at it. It turned out that the game that I had been creating in Hypercard was sufficient to write up the essay the scholarship application requested. So I submitted the application, and to my surprise, I obtained the scholarship. The value was $500.

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