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Greetings from Austin... and Texas
Posted: March 5th, 2006, 9:50 am
Howdy! I am Spike Parker. I was born in Austin, TX in 1945 and finished High School there in 1964. I spent 2 years in the Navy as a photographer aboard the USS Canberra (CAG-2) - Viet Nam.
I then attended Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas and graduated with a degree in Accounting in 1972. I lived and worked for many years in the Houston area with my wife and two daughters, working in the energy industry for such companies as Tenneco, United Gas Pipeline, Gator Hawk, ITR Petroleum and Swift Energy.
I am currenly an assistant to the chief executive at Eastex Crude Company - we buy, transport and sell crude oil.
My new bride and I married in 1996. Between us we have 11 grandchildren. That is a boatload, I'm here to tell ya'.
I have been riding motorcycles (touring) since 1975. I currently ride a 2002 Illusion Blue Honda Gold Wing 1800. I have been active in swimming, bicycling, softball and racquetball over the years, still playing racquetball 3 days a week (supplemented with 3 days of Bowflex per week).
I am all into open source, Linux and everything positive that the internet brings to us all. And if you ever need an opinion (I call it "the truth"), I'm your 'go to guy' - perhaps the most opinionated person on the planet (but I ponder before sharing. No quicky fixes.)
I have also been what Stephen King and others refer to as a "constant reader" for a number of years. For the past several, I have been listening to novels from "Audible". A friend who was aware of my passion for listening, and who apparantly has enjoyed some of my storytelling, heard about LibriVox and forwarded a link to me on Friday. Here it is Sunday and I have my Logitech 250 headset and Audacity software downloaded, installed and working. I am pumped.
In the name of Frank Muller "Let's begin!"
Posted: March 5th, 2006, 10:18 am
Hiya, Spike! Welcome to librivox! You seem raring to go, so if you haven't already picked out something to read for us, go right ahead! And of course feel free to ask questions if you have any :)
p.s. hooray for Linux, open source, books, and Frank Muller!
Posted: March 5th, 2006, 10:54 am
Howdy, Spike! Wow, another Austinite! By my count, that's at least four.
I grew up in the Houston area and after a stretch in the Air Force attended school at UT Austin. Graduated in '74 and went back to Houston where I worked for 12 years at HL&P, first in the local area and then down in Matagorda County at the South Texas Project. Moved back to Austin in '86 to help run a small manufacturing company, and been here ever since.
Grab something short, and start recording. The folks here are very helpful and encouraging. I'm suffering from cedar fever right now so I haven't been doing much -- I need what voice I have for my volunteer work reading for the blind. That should change significantly by the end of March.
Posted: March 5th, 2006, 12:11 pm
Well, Ted, that is a hell of a note for an Austinite. There's no getting loose from cedar around the central Texas hill country, I recon.
Do you go to a studio to do your volunteer work for the blind (like over near 45th and Burnet) or do you work from home?
My Austin house is quite close to there. I'm near 45th at Loop 1.
My first wife was from Pledger, Texas and we drove South to Bay City and beyond on several occasions to "see what all the commotion was about". That, of course, was the STP. I never did keep up. Austin was on board at one time... then not? I was at Tenneco in the summer of 1973 when the first "energy crunch" was declared. All of the "responsible" businesses were expected to make immediate reductions in energy use. HLP's first visible effort was to cut off the flood lights which used to bath the building with light at night. Tenneco turned off the lights of their letters on all four sides of the building and Gulf turned off the lights in the beautiful orange disk that used to revolve above their headquarters building. All of those were beautiful to see before the "change" (all of which was quite unnecessary) And, concarn it, gas went from $0.299 to somewhere around $0.389 in the freakin' blink of an eye. I should have seen it coming, though. I had just spent over $3,000 for a new Cutlass Supreme. Gadzooks!
Posted: March 5th, 2006, 5:15 pm
I remember the energy "crunch" well. The bureaucrats at DOE dictated that all businesses turn their thermostats down to 68 degrees. What they didn't know was that office buildings in Southern coastal cities (Houston, New Orleans, Miami, etc.) aren't heated. There's enough heat generated from room lights and office equipment to require air conditioning year-round, so of course the A/C's kicked in overtime. Big spike in load, before somebody talked some sense into the DOE jerks...
Changes can really last
Posted: March 5th, 2006, 7:27 pm
That's so true. Something else happened the following Winter that only a few people really "get" - I'm sure you are among those who do.
It was really only in the early 70's that women were beginning to graduate and be hired by major companies as professionals. NO woman would have dreamed of doing an interview in anything but a dress or a 'proper' skirt and blouse; or of coming to work in anything else.
In the Summer/Fall/Winter of 73/74, a couple of things of real significance happened. Texas Governor Dolph Brisco proclaimed that neckties were cumbersome and unnecessary and he pulled his off in front of the cameras at a press conference. I got really excited. I wore mine TO work the next day, but was naively confident that I would go home without it. Ha! Too much old school for that shit. I NEVER noticed a change for the good in that department.
Later on that Fall/Winter, Tenneco (and I'm sure a number of other 'big boys') told their female employees (both the old line secretaries/clerks/administrative assistants AS WELL as the 'new' professional females) that they could wear slacks or pants WHEN the temperature on the news was predicted to be under 35 or 40 degrees. Man O' Man that burst the dam. Within weeks, girls were being questioned about wearing pajamas to work. Giving up in frustration, the formerly 'good ol' boy' network of leadership just stopped complaining.
Now, I can invision a girl being born, living a full life, and dying without ever wearing a dress.
And so goes the world.... I don't even necessarily disagree, but the change has had great import in our society, and from such humble beginnings. Soon after, Helen Gurley Brown and her ilk were a phenomenon of everlasting significance.
Posted: March 5th, 2006, 11:14 pm
Welcome to LibriVox, Spike! It's great to see another motorcyclist in the crowd. It's been 4 years since I sold my last car; these days my transportation is a Kawasaki Concours. It drives like a Maserati, sips gas like a Mini Cooper, and with the trailer on the hitch behind it hauls like a Ford F-150!
Oh year, I read a little bit around here too...
It's great to see you in here, Spike - always nice to hear a fresh voice in the mix!
Posted: March 6th, 2006, 4:35 am
Thanks, Chip. I have heard many great things about the Concours.
It is a joy, when on two wheels, to note that you just got 40+ MPG rather than 17.3 in the Yukon.
Posted: March 6th, 2006, 5:29 am
Not quite as long lived as the Gold Wing, the Concours is nevertheless celebrating it's 21st model year in 2006. Though there were some changes made in 94, the bike is essentially the same as when they designed it back in 1986. Built around the bulletproof 997 Ninja motor, it's about the best all-around bike I've ever ridden. Plenty of power. Full Fairing. Bag space galore. Wet-load carrying capacity of 800lbs (more than the Wing!) And tons of fun to ride!
It took me a little getting used to. I had been riding cruisers for years (Honda Shadow) but when I sold the car I realized I needed something more attuned to a daily commute and went looking for a sport-tourer. I found a Concours at a good price and bought it. But when I started to ride it, I noticed that the body position was just plain different from the cruiser position.
Well I'm now on my second Concours and there'll be a third. The current one is about to turn over 76k miles - I bought it with 6k on July 4th weekend 2003.
Keep the rubber side down!