Skills & Hobbies

Do you do any of this? I don't know, but if you do and have questions, comments or even suggestions, let me know. Hearing from others who have more experience, knowledge, talent or training in any of these fields is always an enjoyable thing. And I'd love to learn from listening to what you have to say about any of this. to e-mail me. 

Hobbies

Computers

On a Radio Shack 4k MC-10 TRS-80 (or "Trash 80") computer in 1983, I was trying to find out what made a program work. I didn't begin to dable into programing (using BASIC and GW-BASIC) until 1989. However, years sooner (1985), we got a 16k Aquarius computer by Mattel Electronics. The first computer used cassette tapes the load programs (using the CLOAD command to load programs and CSAVE command to save them) and only had eight colors. The Aquarius computer had 16 colors and expandable up to 16k of RAM with a little black cartridge and you could buy an adapter that would connect two cartridges to the back of the computer. Video games we had included: Night Stalker, Utopia and even Tron before having to take it back. This system also used cassette tapes to save programs. However, its version of BASIC was more "complicated" that the Microsoft Basic copyright 1982 on the TRS-80.

In 1987, we bought an Apple IIe 128k RAM computer with a 5 1/2" floppy drive. It was also the first computer we bought with a modem (at the time 1200bps modems were used more than the newer 2400bps modems at the time but we owned a 2400bps modem). It was sold for reasons beyond my recolection.

In September, 1990; we bought a 8088/10xt with two 5 1/2" 360kb disk drives using MS-DOS version 3.0 accompanied by a monocrome monitor. This machine is what I learned to type on, using a typing tutor program. In 1991, we bought a 2400bps internal modem but due to the careless installation of the simple device--the entire computer had to be taken somewhere to be fixed. That modem had never been the same since. Meanwhile, it had been my family's intent to download educational public domain software (or shareware) for me and my brother's use. Little did they know, no such thing existed for the most part.

In July, 1991--we subscribed to the Prodigy Interactive Service and, most of the time, I spent my time using the Bulletin Boards but also played a variety of games including Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, F-I-T-B (Fill-In-The-Blanks); visited educational sites such as NOVA, National Geographic and also read information from Ford Motor Company. It's most intriguing feature was online banking provided by Wells Fargo.

We moved over to Electronic Bulletin Boards in the Los Angeles until finally primarily using systems running Wayne Bell's WWIV (World War IV) Bulletin Board System (Version 4.12 through 4.24 in fact).

In December, 1992--purchased a 386/16sx w/2MB of RAM, a 106MB HDD w/one 3.5" 1.44MB FDD & one 5 1/2" 1.2MB FDD accompanied by a PS/2 type mouse and 256-color monitor. We removed the Hayes 2400bps modem from the 8088 and placed it within the 386 so that I could run WWIV Version 4.23 and run The InfoLink Cosmos--one of the best looking boards in L.A. :) In November, 1994--we bought a Zoom 14.4k-bps faxmodem and encountered the joys of non-compatible v.standards. In October, 1995; a 28.8k-bps modem was donated to the 386.

Even though I had internet e-mail via my BBS which was on four WWIV-type networks (WWIVnet, IceNET and TerraNET as well as its own: NOVAnet), the board closed on its third year of operation (December 23, 1995) so that we could explore the Internet via Cyberverse Online.

I was Cyberverse Online's 17th user in April, 1994 and worked for them during the summer of 1996 as Technical Support/Web Designer/Server Administrator for minimum wage. Its most valuable occurance in my life remained to be its presense on my resume prior to my employment at LinkEasy Network.

In May, 1997--a 486/50dl Clone w/8MB RAM, a 116MB HDD w/one 3.5" 1.44MB FDD and a malfunctioning 256-color monitor was donated to us. It runs RedHat Linux (Vanderbilt release) on the Internet as lombard.dialup.cyberverse.com. It is connected to the 386 via a 1k/sec. null modem cable to/from each serial port. The 386 communicates to the 486 using Telix (modem comm program) and trades files effectively with the Zmodem file transfer protocol.

In 1999--we plan to establish a home LAN using MediaOne's cablemodem using four computers (leo, main gateway Linux box; gemini, my X-Windows machine; aquarius, my brother's windows machine and tarus, my mother's computer). It's supposed to be called Base-IX Communications. And they're to be linked using a four-port 10-base-2 Ethernet hub to RJ-45 jacks in each computer's 3com Ethernet card. 


Music

(This story promises to be much shorter, honest.)
Since 1985, I've always had natural sense of rhythm. In September, 1986; I was bought a half-length 49-key 20-sound keyboard with song memory keyboard by Casio and facilitated jacks for drum pads. For all intends and purposes, it had good sounds for my educational needs. In 1991, a 60 note keyboard with 100 sounds, 50 percussion effects, song memory, drum kit and various effects was purchased but strangely had no MIDI, foot pedal or even attack/decay/sustain capabilities (it was pretty obvious, whoever was buying my instruments never played one in their life or hadn't for decades). However, ahead of time, I learned how to play the guitar in 1987. I played the guitar until 1992 because of my above computer escapades but returned to playing the piano in August, 1994 because of being inspired by Elton John's material on Disney's "The Lion King". (In fact--I watched the movie because I heard the soundtrack; I don't watch Disney movies until I've heard the soundtrack. And if the soundtrack is good, I'll watch the movie.)

Since then, I've written almost one hundred pieces of music, half of which have lyrics. I've gotten into pro-audio through the acquision of some used and inexpensive gear including a Fostex X-26 Multitrack Cassette Recorder (4-tracks, 2-band EQ, normal speed) and Alesis' NoiseyVerb (or the NanoVerb; as they call it). By the way--it's in my humble opinion that Alesis systems to make gear for the professional who can tolerate poor equipment (either due to sound quality or durability) because they can't afford anything better. To me, that's the only reason why there are 70,000 ADATs in use worldwide despite their consistant tape trouble. All things considered, some of the equipment I'm looking to get include Roland's A-33 MIDI Controller, the ADAT-XT, Mackie 1404VLZ Mixer, TASCAM dual-deck DAT recorder, TEAC dual-deck cassette recorder; the Roland JV-1080, E-mu Systems' Proteus/1, KORG A3 Guitar Processor and in the distant future: Kurzweil K2000Rs and TASCAM DA-38. More information about the studio will be available at the Artist Bros. Audio web site. 


Photography

Dairenn Lombard at less than one day old. I was told that the very first photograph taken of me resulted in a fit of screams and cries from yours truly but, after all, I just went through the most traumatizing 18-hours of my life; at the beginning of my life. However, you can see the first photograph taken of me on my very first birthday (June 5, 1980) here.

However, ever since then--I loved having my picture taken--especially when I stopped losing all of my teeth at age seven. :p However, I never realized I enjoyed taking pictures until 1996 when I got one of those one-time-use cameras for my birthday. 35mm prints came back of my work and was utterly amazed. Although, in retrospect, I always wanted to make our ancient Polaroid camera work in 1990. 


Kodak 4100ix Zoom Advanced Photosystem Camera

Kodak 4100ix Zoom APS Camera Until the Kodak 5800 MRX Zoom camera was released by Eastman Kodak, this was the best consumer camera of the compact type. It features a 60mm zoom lense, multiple flash modes for differently illuminated settings as well as a flash-off mode for when you're not allowed to use a flash, an easy to read and understand LCD display, date/time stamping, one-button operation and even self-timer. This little black beauty with a built-in flash features a socket for tripod mounting as well. However, its greatest feature remains to be it being apart of a family of Kodak cameras that use the new Kodak standard of film: Advantix.

35mm Film is larger than Advantix film, so, professionals may feel cheated and also a huge difficulty with obtaining inexpensive equipment to develop the negatives themselves. As, with APS film--you do not receive negatives. The film is contained entirely within the dust and light free film cassette where the negatives are stored for safe keeping. Advantix film is designed to be idiot-proof for the non-photographer that just wants to take great looking photographs of themselves at Niagra Falls, the Sears Tower, the Grand Canyon or somewhere in Hollywood.

Besides its size, Advantix film is superior to ordinary 35mm film in many ways. The first of which is complete automation. Once the APS cassette is inserted into your advantix camera, it is automatically threaded and wound up to the first exposure (no need to waste that first shot in case your thumb print during film load or the light from the room you were in ruined that exposure). The cassette has a magnetic disc on the bottom of the camera that reads a variety of information. This allows for communication between you the photographer and they--the photofinisher. This communication is important because with the Information eXchange (IX) system built into the APS cassette, you can instruct the person developing your exposures to use a different aspect ratio (size of print, basically) on particular pictures. This way, during mid-roll, you can use the camera's selector to shift from C mode (Classic) to H mode (HD-TV, wide) to P mode (panoramic) and receive all three kinds of prints plus more:

Within the envelope with your photographs, you receive an index sheet which shows a numbered thumbnail of each picture on the included APS cassette.

Another benefit to the IX system in Advantix film is the ability to look at the cassette to see its status. The first status is unexposed film. The second is exposed but undeveloped. The third is fully exposed and undeveloped with the fourth being developed film. As mentioned before, your negatives are contained within the cassette so all one must do is send the cassette back to their favorite photofinisher for redeveloping.

The reason there is a third option and not only three is because on certain cameras (such as the MRX which allows for the 'MRC' or Mid-Roll-Change feature), you can `rewind' your cassette and eject it and then put it back in later. The camera will automatically fastforward to the last exposed picture on the APS cassette. This gives artistic photographers the felxibility to change speeds of film. If you are in an environment where you will be taking pictures of both still objects in pretty good light as well as fast moving objects in probably not so good light, you can use 200 speed film for the first and, in mid-roll, eject it. Then load up your potentially half-exposed roll of 400 speed Advantix film for when you think you will be moving around alot, your object will be or the lighting situation is bad but you can't use your flash.

The professional photographer used to manual SLR (or similar manually operated cameras) who load and develop their own 35mm film would probably find all of this automation inhibiting to their creative flow. Composing a professional photograph involves patient adjustment of light, aperature, focus depth and other factors. The Kodak 4100ix Zoom may not provide all of these features but when you see a photo-opportunity staring you right in the face and there is simply no way you can carry a bulky SLR camera to wherever you might be, this 4100ix camera will deliver for you professional results for an affordable price.

For what the Advanced Photo System gives you, it is remarkably inexpensive. The Kodak 4100ix Zoom camera can be purchased from any camera shop, Sav-On, Rite-Aid or K-Mart for as little as approximately US$150. It's price is dropping because of of the new Kodak 5800MRX-ix Zoom. And because I have, and do not work for Kodak, it is advisable to visit their corporate website for official information regarding their cameras. For more information about the KODAK ADVANTIX 4100IX Zoom Camera, click here.


Kodak 5800MRX-Zoom Camera In the near future, I would like to obtain the KODAK ADVANTIX 5800 MRX-Zoom Camera because of its MRC (mid-roll change) function and its exception 120mm zoom lense for a compact camera.

Canon EOS IX

Perhaps the world's best camera (and given that the most expensive I've seen being at least $1,100, this one costing $600 is amazing). There are litterally too many features to go into here, which is why, for the official information about this camera, I would visit Canon's web site about the Canon EOS IX camera by clicking here.

I never had any interest in an SLR camera, primarily because I never knew what one was. However, one day during my vacation in Canada, I was in camera shop where it was explained to me what SLR meant (single-lense reflection). This means you're dealing with a WYSIWYG (wizzy-wig) camera. What You See Is What You Get. Which is what I have always been looking for. It has always disturbed me that the view-finder and the lense were apart (even by a couple of centimeters). However, SLR makes it so that you can adjust aperature for just enough exposure, even shutter speed for faster/slower/still objects in high/low light; adjust focus depth (so you can shoot through a fense at an animal without your auto-focus camera focusing on the fense instead of the animal) and various other things.

However, the Canon EOS IX is much more than just an SLR camera. It is an APS SLR camera; and the EOS IX APS SLR (tongue tied yet?) is a brilliant combination of automatic and manual merged to ultimate perfection. Plus, automated attributes to the EOS IX are more advanced, allowing the ameture photographer to get his/her feet wet in the domain of professional photography without completely getting lost and making a mess. Over time, experience and the need to "take control" and manually set everything from the shutter speed to the focus depth will grow, allowing you to become a big time photographer.

Not to mention, this thing has an awesome body style. It is small, yet big (length-wise mainly). And, word has it, it is a chic-magnet. I have heard stories from friends and other testimonial of people wearing SLR cameras having (pretty) women approach them, asking them about this camera. This is not surprising since not a lot of people walk around with large, silver (not black, so it's easily seen) cameras. And attractive people aren't attractive by accident. And, though they aren't necessarily vain, they see it as an opportunity to be admired by such a professional eye. They have to have one, otherwise they wouldn't have the camera, right?

Well, you will gain one with time. The automation of the EOS IX will allow the artist in you to simply think of what kind of picture you would like to compose. And as you watch your pictures, you will reflect on what you can do next time to take better photographs. And with that, you will begin to want to experiment with manual settings.

Polaroid OneStep AutoFocus camera

Why in Earth's name would any true photographer buy any camera that uses 600-speed film? It's grainy and there is no setting best illuminated to make pictures seem even remotely professional. Not to mention the film is ridiculously expensive at 10 exposures per package. Polaroid cameras have been purchased and will always be purchased as long as professional photofinishers refuse to develop sexually explicit exposures. Also, the cost of developing photographs plus the roll of 35mm or APS film is actually more than each 10exp 600-sp. Polaroid insta-film. Polaroid cameras are also used by the motion-picture industry to maintain continuity. Between takes, crew will shoot pictures of actors and actresses heads and/or full body so that when hours (or even days) go by and they need to duplicate the setting and/or way a cast member looks, they can examine "close-enough" photos so that woredrobe and make-up know what to do. Asside from that, it has always been fun to take a picture and then instantly see it. And most importantly, it is an inexpensive way to show proof of ownership for insurance purposes in case of theft and/or denial of claim. (Although, this should never be used to replace important documentation such as recepts, warranties and other paperwork commonly included in products purchased from any store or manufacture. Private party merchandise is another story, however.)

If you would like technical information regarding the Polaroid OneStep AutoFocus camera (which is why I bought it for the really nice price of approximately US$60), please, click here.

Canon ES170 8mm Camcorder

Canon ES170 Camcorder Using Sony's Hi8 (8mm) videocassette standard (superior in quality to even S-VHS, which still uses VHS technology and JVC's VHS-C, C for compact, format for camcorders, this inexpensive mono camcorder has more than enough features for its price. It includes special effects, automatic exposure settings, neck strap, shoulder case, carrying case, remote control battery, DC adapter and battery recharger and is easily mountable on a US$20 tripod. The video quality is not exactly exceptional but then again, no camcorder has anything like "good" quality. If you would like more information about the ES170 8mm Camcorder, please click here.

Martial Arts

Merely for exercise purposes, I do a variety of punches and kicks (tornado, hurricane, sweep, spin, side and front) but I'm more interested in the kind of Japanese style used for on-screen stunts and less so the actual self-defense methods. Although, eventually, I plan to train in tae-kwon-do for self-defense and to increase my speed, power, focus, agility, alegrity, dexterity, strength and endurance.

Last Updated: Tuesday; October 27, 1998


Copyright 1998

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