Engineer, photographer, trombonist, mechanic, and husband. I’ve been called a renaissance man (species Homo Universalis), and I guess that’s a pretty good description. I like to be self sufficient, and hate to get help from anyone. I’d rather learn to do it myself. I used to joke that my photographic and musical endeavors were necessary to compliment the geekiness of my profession to restore some semblance of normalcy. However, Engineering is, itself, the art of applied science, so the reality is I’m an artist at heart.
I graduated from Berkeley High School, class of 1977. I then attended The College of Alameda and City College of San Francisco before matriculating from San Francisco State University (the other Gators) with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering. Since then, I’ve worked for the U.S. Navy as an Aerospace Engineer. I’m currently the lead engineer for Reliability Centered Maintenance and the Integrated Maintenance Plan of the Navy’s aging EA-6B Prowler.
Photography was very important to my father, and he passed on both his passion and knowledge of photography to me. I went further with it, taking it beyond a hobby. In 1998, with a lot of support from my family and friends, I started Arved Grass Photography.
I started to play the trombone in 4th grade. In the sixth grade, I started to play Sousaphone, and in 7th grade began to play the Baritone horn, but my heart was always with the trombone. I also got to attend the Cazadero Music Camp in 1973 and 1974, and worked at the camp in the 1975, 1976, and 1977 seasons.I had to give up music in my senior year of high school because of a conflict between the band class, and a class I needed as a prerequisite for college. However, I kept my trombone, and in 2000, I started playing again. I’ve studied for several years with Dr. Marc Dickman of the University of North Florida.
I guess a little out of necessity, I’ve worked on all my cars myself. Another skill I learned from my father, we did a lot of work together as I was growing up. One project started with a 1976 Chevy Vega station wagon, where the only option was the rare 5-speed manual transmission. I went to wrecking yards with my father, and learned a lot by taking off components from other Vegas, and installing them on my own car. This went from the GT suspension, gauge cluster, and steering wheel, to swapping the motor, rebuilding the clutch, installing air conditioning, power steering, tilt steering wheel, power brakes, and the rear window defogger. Every possible option, with the exception of engines (shucks – no Cosworth engine) was carefully removed from the donor junkster, and carefully installed in my car.
Before moving to Florida, I was in the process of building a Datsun 510 to SCCA IT-C road racing specifications. Unfortunately, this project had to be abandoned when the 1993 Base Closure and Reallignment Commission closed NAS Alameda, and forced my relocation to Jacksonville, Florida. Only so much could be brought with me, and there is no place in Northeast Florida to go road racing.
I met my wife, Anna, on AOL, before meeting online was cool. In 1990, the Internet was still in research labs and universities, but companies like Compuserve and AOL pioneered forums that went beyond the local BBS, and chat rooms for live interaction. We married in 1992. We came to Florida in 1995, but Anna bought the home she grew up in, in Cusick, Washington, shortly thereafter. That may be our retirement home, but we have no firm plans yet. I love Washington state, but I think I’m spoiled by having grown up in California and living in Florida. I don’t know how I could cope with Eastern Washington’s harsh winters.