The Thunderbolt -- Webmaster Biography

The Thunderbolt -- Webmaster Biography

Contents
Overview
My Hobbies
Website and Personal
Picture Of The Webmaster and his late wife


Overview


To return to the previous page, press the BACK BUTTON on your web browser. This page was last updated on Dec. 28, 2023.

The above was a wedding day picture of The Thunderbolt webmaster, and his wife, Janice...who was a Co-Sysop in his BBS (computer bulletin board system), detailed below. Sadly, she died on April 27, 2007...this website is continued in her memory.

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My Hobbies


Here's a brief overview of my hobbies, that I do for relaxation, and to try to keep the loneliness at bay:

* Amateur Radio - After taking and passing both the Novice and Technician theory license exams for the No Code Technician license in late June, 1991 (the Morse Code requirement had been eliminated as of Feb. 23, 2007). I used HamTestOnline, in the summer of 2007, to upgrade from Technician to General in 14 days... then to from General to Amateur Extra 13 days later. My original callsign history is as follows...the first one was sequential, the other three were known as vanity callsigns:

N5VLZ -- 1991 to 2009

AE5WX -- 2009 to 2012

WX1DER -- 2012 to 2019

WX4QZ -- 2019 to 2023

N5VLZ -- 2023 for the rest of my life

More details on my involvement in the amateur radio hobby, are available here -- scroll down, and click on My Ham Radio Biogpraphy.

* Square Dancing - I graduated from class (with levels of Basic, Mainstream, and Plus) in December, 1985...have danced through Advanced (A2), and attended various festivals when my schedule permitted. After a 5 year hiatus from square dancing after the 2002 National Square Dance Convention in Minneapolis...due to job and health concerns...I restarted square dancing in 2007, a few months after my wife's untimely death. I am Editor, Webmaster, and Circulation Chairman, for the Arkansas State Square Dance Federation. Most of my work is done OFF the square dance floor, behind the scenes, as it were, as I rarely had danced for several years, due to severe arthritis in my left hip, which radiated pain down through my leg, where it was nearly impossible to walk. However, after successful left hip replacement surgery on Nov. 13, 2023, the pain is gone, and I hope to be able to resume dancing in the spring of 2024, if not before. I even did some amateur square dance calling several years ago...but can no longer do it, due to health reasons. It's not as easy as it looks, and you now MUST have a license to be a caller...which is obtainable from either the American Callers Association, or Callerlab. These licenses, which require yearly payment for renewal, are due to license and royalty agreements with the American Society Of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI)...for the use of the music for dances. The fee paid is dependent on the amount of dances the square dance caller, round dance cuer, or line dance instructor, does over the course of a year.

* Gospel Songwriting - I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour on March 28, 1978, during a ''revival'' meeting with Evangelist Rick Ingle...who was at one time, a ghetto gang leader in the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The next day, I had all four wisdom teeth removed...talk about a baptism by fire!! However, the decision to accept Christ was the SMARTEST one that I had ever made in my life...and it can be for you as well. I've been writing Gospel Poetry...some put to music...for over 45 years; and did free mini concerts at area churches from time to time, when health and schedule permitted...but, that's no longer the case. My Gospel Poetry collection, has over 820 poems to the Glory Of God (mostly sacred, and some secular, on my hobbies, plus some tribute poetry). Be sure to click on the Get A Free Gift link...you'll be Eternally Grateful for what it has, if you accept it.

* BBS Sysop - I started running a computer bulletin board system (BBS) on a Radio Shack 32K Model 100 laptop computer in December, 1990. The BBS is run in loving memory of my late wife and Co-Sysop, Janice E.H. Stout, who died on April 27, 2007. For more details on what a BBS is, click here. I was also computer guru for my late Mom (my Dad and brother hated them). I lost my Dad to pancreatic cancer in February, 2007, 2 1/2 months before my wife died (as noted above), and lost my Mom to congestive heart failure in August, 2019. I was diagnosed with that in early 2022, but I've known people who've had this condition for years.

* Weather - I'm a certified National Weather Service Skywarn Severe Weather Storm Spotter, providing severe weather reports to the Little Rock National Weather Service Office. Unfortunately, I can no longer watch weather videos, as they give me horrifying nightmares. Note that I am NOT a Storm Chaser, because it is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, and NOT FOR AMATEURS. For a comparison of Storm Spotting and Storm Chasing, as well as safety rules, click here. Due to burn out on weather and ham radio for over 28 years, I am no longer involved with ham radio weather nets.

* Trains - I've been a railfan all my life, and preferred travel via Amtrak. When traveling by train, I boarded The Texas Eagle at Little Rock, Arkansas. Being FULLY DISABLED, it was easier for me to travel by train...and by going Sleeping Car, my meals in the Dining Car were INCLUDED in the price of my ticket, and could be delivered to my room. Passengers traveling in Coach may dine for a modest additional fare..but with many trains, they have to get items from the Cross Country Cafe). Unfortunately, due to health and financial issues, I no longer travel outside the State Of Arkansas, let alone Pulaski County (the Little Rock Metro Area). Note that Sleeping Car space SELLS OUT QUICKLY, but Amtrak allows you to book as much as ELEVEN MONTHS IN ADVANCE of a trip. If you have to CANCEL your trip at the last minute (as I've had to do several times), REFUND CONDITIONS APPLY...see the Amtrak Website for details. And, I'm the ''Conductor'' for the weekly amateur radio D-Star Trains And Railroads Net on The QuadNet Array on Friday evenings at 7pm U.S. Central Time. Thanks to the administrators at The QuadNet Array for use of it for the net. You MUST be a licensed amateur radio operator to participate in the net. Once you have checked in for the first time, you're eligible for a commemorative certificate in Adobe Acrobat PDFformat, upon request, to your email address...with your name, amateur radio callsign, and the date you first checked into the Net. The net is done IN HONOR of its predecessor, that ran on RF and Echolink for over 8 years...and is done IN LOVING MEMORY of my late uncle, K3VRM, who gave me my love of ham radio and trains. A YouTube Video, done by Gary Wilt, N2NJY, with pictures, accompanying the story on the D-Star Trains Net, from the Sept. 22, 2017 edition of the Amateur Radio Newsline, is located here. This was done with my former ham radio callsign of WX1DER...the previous callsign, WX4QZ stood for ''Whistled Crossings For Quiet Zones''. Some railroads use W for the grade crossing warning (whistle), or X for warning of the crossing ahead. QZ is short for quiet zone, where the train horn is NOT SOUNDED at a crossing, unless there is an emergency of people, etc. on the track. More information on railroad crossing safety can be found here. For a YouTube Video from the Arkansas And Missouri Railroad Memorial Day Troop Train Passenger Excursion, operating 20 meters HF Railroad Mobile, click here. And for a look at yours truly in his authentic Conductors Outfit, purchased from Train Conductor Costumes, click here, and click on My Ham Radio Biography.

* Puns - An example of a pun is ''when I changed the light bulbs in my apartment ceiliing fan, it was the high light of my day''. Basically, a pun is a ''play on words''. I've taken part in the World Championship Pun-Off at The O. Henry Museum in Austin, Texas. As one punster eloquently put it...''the beauty in the pun is in the ARGH! (groan) of the person you tell it to!!''.

* Quartet Singing - I've always been a fan of unaccompanied quartet harmony...but, it's not as easy as it looks...and it's HARDER than singing in a church or school choir!! They also do Singing Valentines to bring a smile to the love of your life around Valentine's Day each year. More details are located at the Barbershop Harmony Society website. Unfortunately, declining health no longer permits me to take part in these groups...but, I still enjoy listening to them perform.

One of the funniest routines I saw was a quartet by the name of ''Lunch Break'', with a routine done at Carnegie Hall, dealing with Old McDonald Had A Deformed Farm.
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Website and Personal


My website was originally started with some shareware HTML programs...but when I couldn't register them, I went to the DIDA HTML Editor. I use a ''basic template'', as it's easier to update. I also preferred the KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) philosophy...as I got tired of pages that say ''your browser can't view this site'', or pages that ''take forever and a day'' to load. This is because those not able to have the luxury of DSL/broadband high speed internet access, have to settle for slower dial-up access. With the simplicity, virtually ANY Web Browser can view my site.

I am webmaster for the following sites, besides this one:

1) Arkansas State Square Dance Federation

2) Hammin' In The Park

3) Cabot Nightflyers Net (this net is on hiatus until further notice)


On a personal note, aside from the hobbies noted above:

1) I had worn glasses since 1969...but in early 2010, I had successful cataract removal and intraocular lens implant surgery at McFarland Eye Center in Little Rock. I went from 20/2000 in both eyes to 20/20 visual acutiy, with a little bit of astigmatism. I don't need glasses anymore, but still need reading glasses while at the computer. Dry corneas, along with suspect glaucoma in mid-2022, forced me to give up driving and sell my car. Now, I take Lyft, the ride sharing company, out to errands (mainly the Post Office Box) twice a month, and am otherwise at home 24/7/365...and to put it bluntly, it sucks looking at 4 walls all day.

2) I've had arches built into my feet in 1971, as I was born without them. Without them, I would likely have been in a wheelchair many years ago...and I may eventually have to be in one anyway, due to severe arthritis, along with other disabilities. I have been FULLY DISABLED since July, 2004, and they keep finding stuff wrong with me. While I don't have that many medications to take, I have a LONG LIST of medical conditions. These include (among others), daily migraine headaches, daily abdominal cramps, ''sympathy sickness'', inability to regulate my body temperature, hypersensitivity to anesthetics, arthritis throughout my body, degenerative disk disease in my spinal column, allergic to stinging insects, severe sleep apnea, and congestive heart failure. In short, I'm a ''basket case'', health wise.

3) I've worn dentures since 2000, after my teeth deteroriated over the years. While I don't have to worry about cavities anymore, I have to be careful NOT to drop the plates, as they're EXPENSIVE to replace!! However, I was able to get a new set of dentures at Affordable Dentures...for around $450 (prices may vary).

4) I was married to the former Janice Elaine Harvey on May 18, 2003...sadly, a heart attack claimed her life on April 27, 2007. For details on Janice's life, click here.

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