1. World War II
From museums, to air shows, to books, to historical board games. As early as I can remember I had an insatiable appetite to learn about that time period. As I got older, I have had the opportunity to meet many veterans and hear their stories. In my travels, I have been able to visit several of the ships that took part in the war. However, planes have always been far and away my favorite. I have had the chance to fly in two WWII era planes, and hope to do it again in the near future. I also have an extensive collection of autographed WWII artwork and photos, along with high-end model exhibits that some say would rival any museum. Also, I started but never finished getting my private pilots license. Over the years I have accumulated about 20 hours of flying including a two-hour flight a summer ago.
When I was 8 my family moved into a new house and one of the first things we did was get a dog. To me a house is not a home without one. We would eventually adopt another, and another. I was very close to all three until it was time for me to leave the nest. For the next 25 years I would not have a dog to call my own. However I would still be around them, whether it was my parents, my friends or someone I was dating…or where I worked. Finally when I settled down and bought my own house, I heeded my old words. We adopted a dog who was dumped and needed a home, and our house became one. Seven years later we adopted a second puppy with a similar story. I can’t imagine life before them. When I’ve been asked “You mean you would put your dogs before…” I stop people right there…because 99% of the time I would answer, “Yes I would.”
One of the first games I watched from beginning to end was Superbowl X. I asked my Step Dad which team he wanted to win, and he said the Steelers. I rooted for the Steelers that day, and I have ever since. Throughout high school and college I was always associated with the Steelers. Even in my wedding vows my wife swore to never schedule anything during a Steeler game. We even waved Terrible Towels as we walked back down the aisle after our “I Do’s”. Just look at a Steelers schedule and you’ll know where and when to find me. For being a rabid Steeler fan, I was even interviewed by and got my picture in Newsday. Next year I hope to attend the Steeler’s Fantasy camp and go through drills and practices run by present and former Steeler players. (see #5 below)
My college became part of Apple’s University Program. In March of 1984 as a freshman, through the school, I received my own Apple Macintosh. I watched as an entire undergraduate class learned how to navigate the software and use a mouse. I was hooked and never looked back. Even though I graduated with an Engineering degree, my knack for the Mac was what propelled my career. I would ride the wave of Mac popularity. I also had to survive Apple’s near extinction but luckily the company rose back up again. I would have to defend the purchase and their use in the leanest of times in Cupertino. For 25 years I gave three companies/organizations my expertise and my commitment to the Mac platform. I am currently hoping to catch on with a fourth one. I have always stayed true to my passion and have been rewarded. In a way, I owe everything I have now to that little 128K Apple Macintosh I received over 30 years ago.
5. Knee Injury
“You’ll never be able to play sports again” or so the first doctor told me. It was January of 1986 when playing hockey, I went one way and my knee went the other. I completely tore my ACL, partial tears to the MCL and LCL and torn meniscus. Instead of giving in to that prognosis I did my own research. The surgery I chose was one they still perform today (however now microscopically). I also did my research on selecting a surgeon too. The one I chose performed several of these surgeries with great success. After my operation, he was so proud of the results, he would often track me down during rehab to show off his work to his colleagues. Almost 30 years later I still play hockey (along with skiing and other activities). I have had the chance to play hockey in tournaments in Boston, Lake Placid, Montreal and most recently Reykjavik, Iceland.