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Now, a little bit about myself.  The California Bay Area is my home, its streets my track.  I graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in May of 1999 with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.  I may decide to go for my Masters degree at some point in the future.  I got a job offer from Ford to work in the EESE (Electrical/Electronic Systems Engineering) group, but I turned it down because I didn't want to live in Michigan; instead, I have chosen to work in the Silicon Valley area as a Hardware Engineer.  You can delve deeper into my academic life at my Academia page.  Basically, I'm just here learning and experiencing all the intricacies of life with the rest of you.

Now on to more important matters (j/k! =), I love cars, with an obvious leaning toward Toyotas.  Even though Toyota as a faceless corporation hardly cares about us (and having some of the most misguided marketing tactics IMO), the majority of their cars and engines are very well engineered and, most importantly, over-engineered.  That's a quality not easy to find and may be disappearing.  Regardless of personal preference, anyone with automotive knowledge, racing in their blood, and memories of the old skool will at the very least look upon the Toyota badge with respect.

My current cars are a US 1996 Corolla DX (didn't escape the wrath of OBD-II, unfortunately) and a 1985 Corolla GT-S (cruiser and light attack fighter =), both of which I am progressively modifying to my vision of their "absolute potential" as time and money permits (may take a while).  I believe modding is about 50% desire, 50% knowledge, and 150% love.  Click here to find out more about them.  I'm also the sole caretaker of a 1993 Corolla DX and a 1992 Geo Prizm GSi (more favorably known as the 1991 AE92 Corolla GTS with a "red hat" 4A-GE engine)...and whatever car that happens to find its weary way to my garage.  Corollas have been in my family forever; naturally, I would end up with a Corolla myself (the A-series engine is a major reason as well).  In the process of modifying my car, I've scoured the Web and searched abroad for anything about this car but found little.  However, I had the good fortune of discovering the Toyota Modifications mailing list on which I found and learned (and continue to do so) a lot of useful information about a lot of things.

This may be surprising, but when I was a wee tike, automobiles actually frightened me.  Their overbearing size seemed to dwarf me, and the roar of their engines made me run.  Rides in them made me nauseous, and high G's were anything but fun.  (That wasn't meant to rhyme. =)  As I got older, my dad made me help him with minor work on our cars, and I remember hating it (oh, how I regret that).  It wasn't until my early teens that I first became even remotely interested in cars.  At that point, however, I knew absolutely nothing about them and had no desire to learn.  By the time I got my license, however, I was addicted to driving, and the addiction led me to the exploration of alternative ways of speeding and getting around corners. =)  It wasn't about racing specifically...it was about being able to control a car with finesse...developing a bond between man and machine, each wheel becoming an extension of your body as you feel the road.  I would, and still, drive with no destination in mind just for the sake of driving.  I didn't have a car at the time, so I drove other people's cars (amazing).  My driving abilities continued to improve, but my knowledge of automotive principles remained extremely basic.  When I got my first car, I became interested in modifying it, a rather difficult task considering that I knew almost nothing about cars.  I proceeded at first with a hondaboy mentality, looking for easy bolt-on parts and quoting power gains as if they were divine.  Luckily, the engineering spirit inside me awoke, and I realized that I must understand the fundamentals of an automobile before I could proceed.  That was when I got on a steep learning curve.  The journey was a lonely one.  While many have car mentors or a group of "car friends," I had to figure almost everything out for myself.  As the years passed, I moved further and further up the learning curve, the grease and grime building under my nails, the cuts and scrapes leaving their mark.  And here I am today...I don't claim to be a pro by any means, but I don't plan to get off the learning curve any time soon.  The sound of a well-tuned engine now brings a smile of satisfaction, tool exchanges bring a sense of camaraderie, and the G's from a roller coaster hardly disturb me.  I'm now teaching myself how to drive again.  Being able to drive well by the seat of your pants is one thing, but controlling a car is a science and an art, and it's something I hope to excel in.  Autocrossing is an excellent test of that skill and a great opportunity to refine it.

Well, aren't I verbose. =)  I also like to believe I have other interests as well.  Actually, I think my breadth of trivial knowledge and interests is quite large...but you have to know me to know about that.  Check out some of my other interests at my, well, Other Interests page.  I'm sure you'll see something you like too – or at least recognize. =)

Ok, to say a little more about myself...I'm an all around nice guy – a bit cynical, a bit idealistic, always hit by reality.  As I see it, the glass isn't half empty or half full...it just sloshes around a lot.  There was a time when I swore I would never go to Berkeley, but as all promises are, I ended up in Berkeley.  Don't get me wrong, Berkeley's a great university, with a few shortcomings...and a few more, but it's as good as public universities get...and better than certain private ones. =)  Anyhow, I enjoy working on cars a lot, as you can probably tell by now.  I also enjoy talking about cars.  I don't profess to be an expert on cars, but I know what I know (and learning!), and apparently, that seems to be enough for me to go on and on and on... =)  I also like working with computers, gadgets, and tinkering in general.  Only a few things stop working after I get through with them...hehe.  I just can't leave well enough alone...if it ain't broke, mod it, and if it is broken, what better opportunity to mod it? =)  I like what I like, but if you pinned me to it, I couldn't really tell you why.  Scorpios really are the best, aren't they? =)

I took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter personality test, and it categorized me as the following.  Of course, you always have to take these results with a grain of salt (and then some).  Nevertheless, I found the result quite interesting.

"The Counselor Idealists are abstract thought and speech, cooperative in reaching their goals, and directive and introverted in their interpersonal roles.  Counselors focus on human potentials, think in terms of ethical values, and come easily to decisions.  The small number of this type (little more than 2 percent) is regrettable, since iNFjs have an unusually strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others and genuinely enjoy helping their companions.  Although iNFjs tend to be private, sensitive people, and are not generally visible leaders, they nevertheless work quite intensely with those close to them, quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes with their families, friends, and colleagues.  This type has great depth of personality; they are themselves complicated, and can understand and deal with complex issues and people.

"Counselors can be hard to get to know.  They have an unusually rich inner life, but they are reserved and tend not to share their reactions except with those they trust.  With their loved ones, certainly, iNFjs are not reluctant to express their feelings, their face lighting up with the positive emotions, but darkening like a thunderhead with the negative.  Indeed, because of their strong ability to take into themselves the feelings of others, iNFjs can be hurt rather easily by those around them, which, perhaps, is one reason why they tend to be private people, mutely withdrawing from human contact.  At the same time, friends who have known an iNFj for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise.  Not that they are inconsistent; iNFjs value their integrity a great deal, but they have intricately woven, mysterious personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.

"Counselors have strong empathic abilities and can become aware of another's emotions or intentions-good or evil-even before that person is conscious of them.  This "mind-reading" can take the form of feeling the hidden distress or illnesses of others to an extent which is difficult for other types to comprehend.  Even iNFjs can seldom tell how they came to penetrate others' feelings so keenly.  Furthermore, the iNFj is most likely of all the types to demonstrate an ability to understand psychic phenomena and to have visions of human events, past, present, or future.  What is known as ESP may well be exceptional intuitive ability – in both its forms, projection, and introjection.  Such supernormal intuition is found frequently in the iNFj, and can extend to people, things, and often events, taking the form of visions, episodes of foreknowledge, premonitions, auditory and visual images of things to come, as well as uncanny communications with certain individuals at a distance."

Well, like I said...quite interesting, and I wouldn't say it's too far from something like the truth (for what is truth anyway =).

Movin on.....the saying "You never know what you have until you lose it" really does have its merit, hackneyed as it is.  Look around you...

I like this quote:  "To fall in love is easy, even to remain in it is not difficult; our human loneliness is cause enough.  But it is a hard quest worth making to find [someone] through whose steady presence one becomes steadily the person one desires to be."

"Happy people are not those who get what they want – but rather those who want what they have."

Here's a poem I'm fond of, but I don't know the author (anyone know?):

Something To Be Said

There is something to be said
For every dream in every head,
But my advice is to be shy
Of every flag that passes by.

For every flag I've ever seen
Was once a fragment of a dream,
Torn from the sky by iron fists,
Nailed naked to a piece of stick.

Why rush to join the brief parade?
That banner bright is sure to fade,
For captive dreams betray our trust
As ranks of iron run to rust.

There is something to be said:
Those who dream are never dead.
But those who give their dreams away
Find iron by night and dust by day.

Now here's a beautiful one from a member of the Detroit SCCA:

Corner Allegro

Full throttle's pulsing overture,
Rises down the straight.
Wheeled dancers strain and whine,
Speed's crescendo signals
The tempo for the turn.

Momentum's second stanza
Bends speed's white noise around
Rainbow chords the circle
Hues power, grip, and angle.

Numbered couples softly two-step
Pedals:  Pause and Go,
Toe adhesion's precipice,
The rhythm's fourth dimension.

Lead her, feel her
Dipping, swaying,
Gentle pressure hand and leg,
Slow waltzing to allegro blur of
Turn in
Apex
Exit.

October 30, 1997
-SRF

On Government

Nature, our father and mother, gave us all we have got.

The State, our elder brother, swipes the lot.

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