2001 through 2003 were an absolute blur, and I’ve had to spend the better part of a week pouring over old emails, files, photos, and notes to attempt to piece it all together. And even then, some of the dates for events are approximate.
This project is ongoing and I will continue to add events and whatnot as I recall them, find old media, or I have more time to expound on things. So check back on occasion. 🙂
In January 2001 I invited a friend of mine from England to come give us a hand with the DMV project, and have a bit of a vacation while he was here. Geoff was an amazing electrical engineer, and helped with some of the motor controls on the mast. While he was state-side I took him to see the horses and the B&O museum there in Baltimore on the 8th and 9th of January.
On February 8th we purchase the final parts needed to make the DMV camera and assembly of the first prototypes begin on the kitchen table on the yacht. By late February the prototypes are done, the late beta firmware is loaded, and we’re sent to RMA’s office near Boston to show it off.
On March 4th Scott and start the drive back to Baltimore. On the way I drive through Framingham, stopping at Fun and Games for old time’s sake.
And then I take us down through New London for more strolling down memory lane.
On March 20th the finished PegaMast boards arrive from fabrication.
April is mostly filled with install and support for DMVs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Ohio.
On May 30th I make what will be my last visit to see the Scott and Ken’s horses.
In June we discover that the DMV project has become the last hurrah for RMA, and we start to get conflicting information from Richard, Mike, and Ronald as to what’s going to happen.
This coincides with the sudden spike in unemployment due, in part, to the tech bubble problems of last year:
In late June Richard, who sits on the board of Marianapolis Preparatory School in Connecticut, asks us to help out the school with an internet upgrade to a fractional T1. Scott and Ken head to Connecticut for a few days to get it all working.
While Scott and Ken are away, I seriously start to ponder moving back to Colorado; neither Matt nor I are exceptionally happy with where we’ve ended up, and on June 27th I illustrate our characters arriving back home.
It’s now July and Ken has moved to England to live with Geoff, leaving the yacht to Scott and Johnna.
Steve Bliss, the head-honcho of the school in Connecticut, asks us to return and spend the summer upgrading their computers and network the various buildings on the school grounds. Being as it’s a boarding school and it’s summer so most of the students and faculty are gone, he offers to put us up in one of the wings of “St. John’s”, the boy’s dorm – on the condition that we are okay with looking after a couple of summer students who are still there.
Scott and I agree to go while Johnna stays on the yacht until she can either get a job and live there or do something with it.
On July 10th I make the last entries into the PFM financial database, make a backup of everything on my computer, toss it and what I figure I’ll need for a month into the Caprice, and head for Connecticut – again.
I keep having Navy flashbacks for some reason…
Starting in July Scott and I build a new wireless network to connect the various dormitories and resident student houses on the grounds of the school, as well as build a new Apple xServe based computer lab and install Apple iMac systems in the common areas of the various houses and dorms.
In August I’m offered a teaching position for the 2001-2002 school year. I accept.
It is now September and I’m teaching comp-sci to a class of 15 students… Scott and I are in charge of the senior’s wing of St. John’s:
We take our meals at the school’s cafeteria:
And I work with the students after hours to help with both school and personal problems:
And September 11th happened…
While all of this is going on the school board has been asking me both create a new website and move all of the old data from the .com address to the .org address. On October 10th I show the new Marianapolis web site demo.
The end of November rolls around and so does the end of the first term for the 2001-2002 year.
On December 1st I do some colorizing for one of the students:
On December 6th I turn of the DSL on the yacht; Johnna still hasn’t gotten a job and has been spending every waking moment playing Everquest – so Scott tells me to cut her off.
Right after this the Christmas break arrives and on December 19th Scott flies to Baltimore to gather up the stuff we still had on the yacht. He then runs down to Virginia to install one of our digital recorders and do some thin-client terminals for Dan at Express Auto.
While Scott is in Virginia I turn out a Christmas card and email it off to everyone I know:
Scott returns on December 30th with his truck, jet-ski, and some additional odds and ends from the yacht such as our color printer.
On January 23rd, 2002 the final version of the Marianapolis web site published at the .org address.
On February 8th 2002 I drive down to New London and spend the day walking around the Connecticut College arboretum. The last time I was here was my birthday on February 7th 1990, and I spend the afternoon reminiscing about old friends and Lazer Tag.
March – May 2002
In March Johnna loses the yacht and the storage unit where everything Scott, Ken, and I didn’t have with us was stored. This happened due to her not being able to get off Everquest to get a job, and not telling anyone she was financially fucked so we could save it… Scott, Ken, and I loose pretty much everything we aren’t wearing.
Back at Marianapolis the school is having a bit of a problem with the headmistress and the politics that put her in her position. Over April and May there’s a big shakeup in both administration and board.
It’s now June 3rd and 2001-2002 school year ends.
With the politics going on at Marianapolis I decide the teaching thing isn’t for me, and there isn’t much opportunity at the school if I’m not teaching. I give my notice, Steve gives me a couple months of pay for all of the above and beyond I’ve done over the last year, and I start finding an apartment in Aurora Colorado.
Scott sells his truck and jet-ski.
On Thursday June 20th I make a large backup of my computer, we throw all of our crap in the Caprice, and I finally make good on that threat I made exactly a year ago to move back to Colorado – and drag Scott along as well. We hit the road the next day, Friday.
We pull into Aurora Sunday evening, the 23rd, where I immediately stop at El Chubby’s to get a to-go burrito before we check into the hotel.
Monday, June 24th, I get the keys to my new apartment at 1747 Peoria St. To offset the cost of the rent I’m doing maintenance again for the lady who manages the building while I try to nail down a new job.
For me, it seems like my life is simply repeating 1991-1992…
July – August 2002
Over the next couple of months, I get a few positions though a temp agency. They give me all sorts of placement tests that indicate I’m perfect for high-tech jobs, but all they ever send me to are weird day-labor jobs. One is working second shift at a plastics factory making rubber pond liners and another sees me doing concrete work.
Scott is having even less luck and I’m rapidly running out of money to keep us afloat.
In September Richard and Mike from our RMA days reach out to me and ask if we’re still doing development work. They’ve started a new company and are promising me the moon and stars if I can make some more magic for them. They commission a website.
On October 30th I finish the Vistech website and get $500 bucks for my effort.
I can’t support Scott any longer, so Scott and I discuss; I can move in with Robin and Tad for a couple of months and extend what little money I have left while I continue job hunting, and he can move back to Virginia and get a job with Dan who has been pestering for more recorders and other tech work.
November – December 2002
I take the couple hundred I got for the website work and fly Scott back to Virginia in early November. I once again make a backup of everything on November 10th right before I move into Robin and Tad’s spare room at Lowry.
I spend the rest of November and December with Robin and Tad.
In late January I reconnect with Larry, who I worked with on some projects back in 1996. He has a proposition for me: He runs a pawn shop up in Vail and thinks there might be some potential for a computer repair business there. He has a big stock of old Compaqs that need fixed up and sold as well. He also needs someone to watch his mansion in Vail while he’s away most of the year and handle things when he rents the place out during the ski season for $2000 a night… So, he’ll give me a room in his 6000 square foot monstrosity, cover all of the bills, and pay me a small wage plus 30% of any repair business I generate.
I move up to Vail on my birthday in February.
March – May 2003
By March 2003 Scott has been working for Dan for a couple of months and I’ve gotten the computer business off the ground in Vail.
March through May is spent dealing with Richard and Mike trying to screw everyone in their collective address book. It eventually embroils Ken and Geoff in England, Myself and Matt in Colorado, and Scott in Virginia…
The threat of legal action eventually makes Richard and Mike back off and vanish.
June – August 2003
June and July pass fairly uneventfully.
And the rest is chronicled from there.