Biggest. Geek. Ever.

Earl and I began our packing and such for our trip to the Midwest this evening. The first order of business was to take Tom up to my dad’s so he could stay with “Grandpa” and his cousins. My sister saddled my dad with two cats a couple of years ago. He won’t admit it to your face, but I think he and his girlfriend like having the cats around.

Anyways, while I was up there, Karen, my dad’s girlfriend gave me a couple of things she found when clean up my old bedroom – including a couple of little journal notebooks and some other things.

First of all, I’m glad that I consider Karen to be family, or I would be mighty embarassed by the things she found. Thank God I had the sense to get rid of my meager collection of porn when I left for college — just kidding — I was never much of a porn collector back then.

The journal notebooks were from a trip our family made to Dearborn, Michigan in 1982. My mother, being the excellent mother that she is and was, encouraged us to write our trip experience in a journal so we could stretch our creative chops. A 1980s blog, if you will.

Being the huge geek that I am, I wrote all about the roads and road signs. You may have seen that this obsession lives with me to this day, with my UpstateNYroads web site. Among other things, I remarked that the motel we stayed at in Parry Sound, Ontario was “the best motel I had ever seen in my life!” (I think it was the third motel I had ever been in – the previous two were the two nights prior), and I also made a comment about how much I loved supper at A&W (that part is still true). But my entries also got me to thinking about how much of a geek I’ve always been. My geekness hasn’t always been limited to roads…

– My first geek obsession that I can remember was with powerlines. The high tension wires fascinated me for some reason, and to this day, I can instantly tell anyone around me when we’ve crossed from Niagara Mohawk’s territory in to NYSEG’s territory here in Upstate N.Y. Why one would need this knowledge, I don’t have the slightest idea, but I can tell you just in case. Call me the life of any party.

– Powerlines were quickly followed by the beginnings of my road geek obsession. As a kid I laid out a map of the woods behind our house and made all sorts of paths, with bridges made out of pallets (complete with re-rod arches) and road signs printed out neatly (mounted on overhead posts made out of scrap wood). I probably should have followed my gut and became a traffic engineer, as to this day, when I get bored when Earl is out of town, I still design road signs (to federal specs), but now I use a freebie AutoCAD program.

– I was always fascinated with clocks, especially those found in school, as evidenced by my other web site. Last night I just finished a project installing synchronized clocks at the radio station I work for. I pity the people that buy my father’s house some day and wonder why “Simplex” and “Standard Electric” is written on the inside of the sheetrock and under the floorboards throughout the house, leading the way to wiring for a clock system that doesn’t exist.

– Then came my computer, more specifically, database obsession. This was spurred by the cash registers at our local Ames store, because they kept track of inventory using three-digit department numbers, with all the information stored on IBM punch tape and I just thought that was just way too cool for words. Did you know that those old mechanical registers made an IBM punch tape? Didn’t think so! I still lean towards databases for just about everything I need to keep track of these days and if I ever settled down to just one aspect of information management, it would be in relational database technology.

As I look at the list above, the one thing that sticks out is that my geek obsessions all have one thing in common… I’m interested in all things _connected_. I could get all existential and say that’s why I have a moderate obsession with metaphysical stuff and new age spirituality, because I believe that everyone is connected and my geek hobbies are just a material manifestation of these beliefs.

But it’s probably better to write it off to something else… I’m just one big geek.