- John Middleton's Hobbies -
Wish I could afford to do more...
but, don't we all!

 iPod Video 30gig with a Logitech mm50 Portable Speaker System, 5,500+ songs available any time and any place. This system is small enough to take with us on vacation and it has a rechargeable battery which comes in handy.

Music

Seems funny to put music as the title when I can't play any instruments. But, I love music and my taste is very eclectic! When I was a kid I wanted to be a DJ. I got my first 45 RPM record in 1959. I won it at a street dance in Houston, TX. It was Santo and Johnny's Sleep Walk. I listened to top-40 radio and watched Hit Parade with Snooky Lanson every Friday night. When I moved to Jacksonville I started collecting 45s. By the time I went into the Army I had 2,000 45s and a few albums (long since sold.) Last year I got a USB Turntable for my birthday and dug out my old vinyl that was collected after I returned from Vietnam. I've been ripping vinyl to mp3s using Audacity and I'm very pleased with the results. My 30gig iPod is almost full, only a small part of it is from the vinyl in case you were wondering. The boxes of Vinyl had been packed away for years. I found albums from the likes of Gino Vanelli, Tower of Power, Enoch Light and his orchestra, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Paul Simon, The O'Jays and Chaka Khan that I'd totally forgotten about.

 

Motorcycles

I started riding motorcycles when I was 18. I sadly gave it up 2 years ago. But, the desire is still there. My first bike was a 1964 Honda 50 Super Sport. I had that bike for 45 days and put over 3,000 miles on it. We realized that I was wearing it out and that it was not really big enough for the highway ride in to Jacksonville every day. So, I traded it in and bought a Honda 250 Dream Touring. I had that bike for a year and really loved it. It would easily run 70 MPH on the highway with two people. Back then nobody wore helmets, but I did wear a pair of goggles to keep the bugs and trash out of my eyes. A year after I bought that bike I joined the Army and the bike basically rotted while I was in Japan for three years. While in Japan I had a few bikes and even bought a Honda 600cc sports car. My last bike was the one on the trailer. It was a 1997 Honda Gold Wing 1520cc. It was a nice bike, but was bad at slow speed turns. On one trip Linda and I road the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway to include the small section called Skyline Drive.

 

Coin Collecting

To the left is one of my nicest finds. It is a 1797 British Two Pence or Cartwheel. I picked it up in England while on a business trip. I paid about the equivalent of $45 US.  Note that King George III is on the coin, does he sound familiar?

I started collecting coins when I was in Japan in the Army. I was moved off of the payroll desk into disbursing where I handled money all day. In the down times I started going through the change in my drawer and got the bug. I met a fellow soldier name Jerry Wojatas (sp?) who had been collecting for a while. He introduced me to Japanese coins and to a private dealer out of Tokyo. I ended up building two complete Japanese type sets starting with their first minted coins starting in the 1860's (Meiji period). My biggest problem was that I could not specialize. When I left Japan I shipped my collection back to NC for my Mother to put in a safe deposit box. When the coins showed up, the FBI follow and carefully inspected each one. Scared my Mom and step-dad to death. The agents said nice collection and left. All that stuff was sold years ago.

 

Finding ET or SETI@Home

I started building my own computers in the 386 days.  I had always tinkered with them and found that I was happier building one than buying it. In early 2000 I found out about SETI and joined a TeAm. It was amazing how competitive it got with races, etc. Well, I started buying parts and built cheap systems that were overclocked and dedicated to running SETI. At the end of the project for SETI I, I was in 201st place out of millions worldwide. Considering I was doing it with my own resources and not using corporate resources made it a huge accomplishment. I also met a lot of very nice people along the way. The site above is my corporate apartment in Shreveport, LA.

 

Linda and Me at border by you.

Travel and Photography

I love to travel! I could do a whole web site just on my travels. So, instead here is a link to our 2007 trip to Alaska on Flikr.com. Linda bought me a Sony Alpha 100 DSLR camera the Christmas before our trip. I am really pleased with the great job it does. And it has really come in handy for baby pics since then. I recently picked up a 50mm f1.4 lens for natural light baby pics. When I first got into photography that lens was the standard on any Japanese made SLR camera and that was at the $100 price point. Now the lens alone cost over 3 times that.

Some of our favorite U.S. vacations have been to National Parks: Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Zion, Grand Canyon (both rims) and Mesa Verde. Some favorite foreign spots would be a little more difficult. But, let me try: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Scottish countryside (around Balmoral, Aberdeen),  Cotswolds and Vancouver Island/Victoria. I did a lot of traveling while in the Army that didn't include Linda. I was fortunate enough to have lived in Japan for 3 years, Germany for 3.5 years, Belgium for 3 months and a 10 month tour in Vietnam. While in those places I traveled a lot, both alone and with my first wife.

Pages last updated 5/1/09