Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chapter One--How The Story of The EQ Guy Begins

There were so many of these major earthquakes that I was discovering had been preceded by a major hurricane or typhoon as I stared at the screen on the microfilm machine at the local library that I was literally astonished! I returned day after day each time with a new list of earthquakes to look up and started to continually find the same thing, that virtually all of them all through history had been preceded by the landfall of the biggest of major hurricanes or typhoons. On a few occasions I even walked in there with hurricanes or typhoons and did a few reverse searches and actually came up with major earthquakes that followed them, which I soon began to more and more already pretty much know I was going to find and it became only a matter of moments sometimes finding them. Just a matter of finding out where the earthquake hit after the big windstorm, or what Major Hurricane or Typhoon preceded the earthquake. Until August of 1994 came along and that was when Hurricane John made landfall at Johnston Atoll. It was the first time I was actually faced with a Major Hurricane that had just made landfall, and no Major Earthquake had yet struck but I knew from my research that one was going to! That was the day it was time for me to decide that I would now have to become The Earthquake Alert Guy.

When I was born my first few years were spent living on Old Highway 59 just across the river from Newville, Wisconsin. Not too long after that we moved to a house that I would live at until I was old enough to learn how to drive and then we moved again a couple neighborhoods over in subdivisions that were built along the shores of Lake Koshkonong in the early 1900’s.
One of the first real official acts that I remember actively participating in all by myself was operating my Grandpas old Studebaker Hawk one day when Grandma and Grandpa had just arrived at my house in it. Today I can’t explain how or why they all went in the house and apparently left me scrambling around there outside all by myself or if I just went ahead and let myself inside this car and went about this matter all alone, there.
So, one thing lead to another and before too long I was probably pretending to be driving it and decided to let the brake handle go. It was one of those that stuck up from the floor and could easily be grasped there between the two bucket seats in the front of this car.
It took off down this little hill that wasn’t really that steep and only took a moment to bump right into the nearest tree and I do not even recall it making a thud sound or anything, which it must have done because it was just a nanosecond before all of them very quickly came a running back out to see what that was that just happened.

We were watching the TV in the middle of the day one day when Walter Kronkite interrupted to say President Kennedy had been shot and those moments are still rather fresh in my mind even today! Although like the rest of you who were also there that day and watching any of this, I do not believe I remember too much of what Walter Kronkite said word for word, so here I am just relating the fact that I was right there in the living room in front of the TV that day and would have just turned 3 in August that year.

It was around this time that we had a major earthquake that struck Illinois and I can remember looking up at the stuff hanging on the walls in the living room and everything was swinging from side to side as the whole entire house shook back and forth for probably like a half of a minute or so. Maybe as long as a whole minute or however long the biggest Illinois Earthquakes shake that are felt in Wisconsin. This was a huge one and there are a couple of famous local ones from the early 1960’s so I am not really sure what one it might have been. Looks like that huge Alaska one also struck somewhere around this time with Kennedys assassination being right around that time, too, but as of this writing I can’t exactly say what earthquake this would have been. It sure made me wonder what earthquakes were all about, though, I know that much for sure!

One day I was heading for the bus stop or home from the bus stop, and came across an old what I know today is a mercury lamp in a junk pile out back of Ole Alme’s house up the street from me. Another old family friend brought me several old telephones and still another brought over an old intercom for me to play around with. The result of those gifts and a few more such junk type items was that I began messing around with stuff like that and enjoying the combination of either getting them working. . . or using some of the various parts to make other things out of.
The mercury lamp eventually worked well as a lamp for however much a person would actually need a mercury lamp to light up the place, that is about how much I would use it. Like perhaps on days when I would build a fort in the crawl space under the house or wherever. Just found out only recently while doing some research for the full length version of Life Story of The EQ Guy that it wasn’t actually a reading style of a lamp, rather I found pretty much the identical style of old lamp advertised and being sold as an antique sun lamp. In the process I also found out that Ole Alme, who lived up the street there and had this groovy junk pile, was married in Rockford way back in 1924 and lived on Main Street in a nearby city and ran a tavern there for many years.
Up to this point I hadn’t known where Ole Almes Tavern actually was. That is until just today, August 1, 2013 when I happened to ask a random town person who was just walking along the street of Stoughton, Wisconsin where I went to mail a S.A.G. voting ballot at the local Post Office there. A very kindly gentleman named Carl Sampson who had lived in Stoughton all his life answered that question for me. Ole’s first tavern in the 1930’s was right Downtown along the river, and his second one in the 1940’s was inside a building on Main Street that says “Citizens State Bank” across the front, although the bank folded in the depression. Carl knew Ole and his wife very well and that was a fairly lucky guess on my part just stopping a random gentleman like Carl and asking this random guy if he knew where Ole Alme’s Tavern was. Thank-You Carl!
Ole was also the guy who’s car started up and started running one morning while a couple of us where walking past in the morning on the way to the bus stop. He simply just explained it was an automatic starter, but must have had to have had it set for around 7 am or whatever time we just so happened past that day, not sure.

There was quite a lot of stuff going on down in Chicago that I should probably discuss here. First, long before I was born my Grand Father used to work as a Pinsetter at a bowling alley on the second floor of a building on Larabee Street in Chicago. He and my Grandma lived down in that area for many years before moving back to Wisconsin to raise a family. One of my uncles spent most of his life down there and gave me the opportunity to be the first person that I ever wrote and mailed a letter to when I was in third grade. He worked many years at a Bell & Howell Factory that I see today is now one of those condominiums with a Bell & Howell theme located somewhere along Irving Park Road, but I have not personally seen the place myself.
At some point in my early days I had occasion to be down in Chicago with my family to be in the audience for the Don McNeil’s Breakfast Club Show. This was probably at the Merchandise Mart although I do not know that for sure, just that what I remember about it like from having had a chance to look out the window and see the river below, I would say that would be the place, since it is still there today and still right next to the river in downtown Chicago.

First time I ever had my own radio was one a guy got rid of and gave to me and thereafter I can remember listening to David Gates and Bread on WLS for a while then one day discovering it had FM and after switching to FM never ever going back to that old AM radio dial and the end of WLS eventually came about, too, a few years afterwards. Over the years there got to be more and more good radio stations on the FM dial and the one I was listening to one day had an “Amateur Hour” contest where you send in and get to do a one-hour show if you are selected.
I was eventually selected! Me and one of my friends from High School drove up to 92FM on a Sunday Night and I sat right there in the studio at the audio console and basically just spun records for one whole entire hour. A few of those songs were David Bowie Young Americans, Queen You’re My Best Friend, Steely Dan’s FM, and The Rolling Stones Tumbling Dice without going all the way through the show and trying to name every song that I played that day from my High School years you know! There are still a few old tapes of that show floating around here somewhere, too, and I even run into one once in a while. . . one that was recorded on an 8-Track Tape!!!
So, that old intercom that somebody gave me at some point was next turned into an intercom that I was on at night and talking to my neighbors. Those telephones were used in Study Hall, I’m sure I had taken them for a project for some other class, though, with a hundred feet of wire and a battery in between them to talk back and forth and show all the guys how that worked, and this was also Mr. Walters Study Hall who was also later the guy who went on to teach the Earth Science class where I was to learn practically everything that I would know about earthquakes for quite a few years to come into the future.
Now there was also an Electronics Class at the High School and I actually had this class and rather enjoyed it until all of the math started to get far too heavy for me and I suppose I just plain started to not like all of the math on the calculator and might have been expecting to be using the soldering gun on some of those groovy electronic components quite a lot more, but anyways I do not remember completing that class or Electronics I, nor ever entertaining the idea of taking and learning all of an Electronics II if there even was one. While this sounds like the end of my career in electronics, it was really only the end of my experiences in an actual electronics class. . . there was a little more to do with electronics yet to come, due to there having been some “Ohm’s Law” on the test to get the FCC license that was at that time needed to get a job as a Disc Jockey on the radio. Therefore, I had to learn quite a lot of that math eventually anyways, but eventually did learn enough of it to get the Third Class License With Broadcast Endorsement sometime around the late 1970’s. Again having to drive to downtown Chicago to do that. To the tune of Boogie Nights, by Heatwave if that part matters to anyone reading this!
Of course there was the one time during intramurals we were playing a game of football and right at the end of class my team was on the fifty-yard-line and I told them I had been kicking fairly long field goals and wanted to try it from like 68 or 69 yards whatever because we would win if I made it, and I made it! In fact that kick was so long and apparently so great that the coach actually wanted me to go to college just for football if you can imagine that!
It was the fact that I started to buy and collect 45 Rpm records that eventually started to have a lot more to do with my life instead. I liked the idea of going to college and playing football and possibly even making the NFL, which today I do not see having happened due to the fact that I probably would never have gotten into a Division I school and don’t know how else I could have field goal kicked my way through a college and into the NFL. I continued on past that point that day in the ongoing pursuit of some of my other goals in life instead.

Eventually I had collected almost a thousand of those 45 Rpm records that a lot of you reading this today might not have even ever heard of. Another name for them used to be a seven inch record and there was also a 33 Rpm record that was like a ten-inch record or something like that. A long, long time even before my own days there had been a 78 Rpm record, but I never had any of those! Still see them from time to time at auctions, though.
Went to a lot of concerts back in those days with a band by the name of Blue Oyster Cult having been the first one that I went to! They were famous in those days for a song called Don’t Fear The Reaper. I suppose that song is still out there somewhere still today, I just do not hear it too much but don’t spend much time listening to radio, either. Also that record collection was stolen a few years ago and so I no longer have that nor any of those records from those days!

My first car was a 1967 Galaxy 500 and first job was up at the Newville Drive-In just across the bridge from where I lived right after I was born if you were paying that close of attention. In the years following High School I stayed at my Grandmas house taking care of her and also went on to buy a 1969 Javelin and used to get together with the guys and play guitars. We called our band The Kidders. There are still one or two tapes of us singing out there somewhere, but I’m not sure if I personally have any of them.
There’s probably a lot more about The Kidders in a volume I already wrote a couple years back titled The Life Story of The EQ Guy and so I won’t go any further into the band and all we did there since I’m sure that book will be released as well at some point. I was also in a car accident and am leaving all of that out here, too. Had occasion to meet up with today famous Sgt. Drew Peterson back in these days, too, but I gave all that info to the reporters down in Joliet in the days during his trial and sentencing in the year 2012 and that story doesn’t have a lot more to do with Bringing Earthquakes To Life so I want to leave it at that.

This was the point in my life when I started to do all of those really great things that eventually would lead me up to acting school and working in the movies. The first things I did along those lines were things like working in the junkyard, doing a lot of traveling with the objective being to see a lot of the things that a guy wants to see when he is young like that and doing a lot of those things, too.
Somehow back in this period of time I managed to get hired at one of those huge fast food chains where they come through there all day long ordering burgers, fries, and sodas or whatever. It was one of those really major ones that is still huge today, but I guess I’ll skip over which one it was due to them not exactly being one of my sponsors today and therefore I really have no other reason to give their name. Today I can think back and still recall a lot of the stuff that went into their kitchen there and the ingredients that go say onto one of their chicken sandwiches, and etc. I know they had bacon on one of their burgers if that matters to anybody reading this volume today. Again, not much to do with Bringing Earthquakes To Life, either, but a great build up to a lot of other jobs that I worked at in the 1980’s. I sort of wish I could have worked in that kitchen making burgers all my life but as they say all good things have to come to an end and I never really knew the reason that I just wasn’t kept on there forever.
I spent a number of years working for one of my friends mowing, pulling weeds and all of that stuff and riding bike out one of these nearby roads everyday while living with and taking care of my Grandma in the early 1980’s. They decided to install a satellite dish at their house up in Northern Wisconsin to the tune of Life In A Northern Town and one day I found myself up in Winter, Wisconsin on Fishtrap Lake learning everything there was to know about how to align and focus a C-Band Satellite Antenna. This was a 10 Foot Kaultronics satellite dish which I think at that time were made in Richland Center, Wisconsin. I actually made one or two trips up to that place later on when I went into the biz of selling and installing satellite systems myself, but since again this is not my life story we might just leave it at that.
Continued going to a lot of concerts in those days of the early 1980’s with the guys I was working for at around the time of the old FARM AID series that I think we probably all got together and watched on the satellite TV back in those days. Anyways I know I can’t recall anybody actually going to that one, but it was still back in the days when a bunch of guys would get together and watch something like that on the TV you know!
After a long stretch of going to concerts in Chicago at “Poplar Creek Music Theater” they eventually closed it. My heart, however, always remained back at Poplar Creek! It was just so beautifully laid out there in the middle of that creek! The creek itself literally ran directly through the Music Theater there and was a rather lush setting there. It is today right near the location of the Sears Centre outside of Chicago, like right next door to where Poplar Creek stood. The creek itself probably still remains crossing through that area, too. Even today Tinley Park the sight of Chicagos present day outdoor theatre is hardly beautiful by comparison, you know, and to get there from home, one would have to drive all the way through Chicago and like an hour on the other side of the city. All of those things you could say combined to more or less bring my concert going days to an end, aside from still going to just an occasional one.

The whole entire story about me being a disc jockey in High School, collecting records, and going to concerts again, is probably in my life story which will probably be out at some later date but today I want to stick with the business of Bringing Earthquakes To Life so let us move on.

At the end of one of the lawn mowing and weed pulling seasons I decided to take all of the money that I made during the summer and take a trip out to New York on Amtrak. So I packed a few things in a backpack and must have took a bus to Union Station in Chicago and really enjoyed the ride across Ohio and Pennsylvania and a lot of the sights! One of my favorites was a town that the train enters and drives right down the middle of the street through their downtown while virtually dodging cars on all sides of it and driving straight through intersections and all that. Journeying up and around famed “Horseshoe Curve” that has long been famous all through history, three or four miles west of Altoona, Pennsylvania, was probably about the greatest moment of my life up to that time. Citation: Wikipedia: Horseshoe Curve. After some sightseeing around the neighborhood of Penn Station, where I detrained at, it was all over too soon and I ventured over to the Port Authority Bus Terminal where I caught my ride home on a Trailways bus. I was to return to that city many times and eventually seen everything there was to see there and practically have that script from the NBC Tour memorized and even got to read the starring role in it at least once! Won’t tell you how it ends, though! Especially loved the N-Train to Coney Island and my complete tour of Central Park that came in later years.

To this day there has only been one really huge and big and long bike ride that I can really say I’d been on and that was the day they were taking applications for jobs at a nearby place where I decided it was going to be a nice day and so I would just ride bicycle over there which was about fifty miles. Worked out great getting over there and seeing the sights along all of those back roads that I still journey on once in a while today while recalling that great bike ride of about a hundred miles all together round trip. The problem came on the way home when it became very hot riding and that slowed me down considerable, but I did make it just the same. Just that I seem to recall the last mile or so being a rather tough ride getting to a town that had a store where I could recharge my system with a slice of pizza! It was just very basic science to me in those days, and I had no idea that was how physiology actually worked, but that slice of pizza charged up my system so much that I had ample bursts of great energy in me to charge home at some of my best top speeds on that bike and always wondered exactly how much my system DID charge up from that one slice and in the back of my mind would wonder just exactly how much farther I could have continued on with that one slice of pizza. Would have liked to have run into a pizza place out in the middle of all of those miles, and miles of farm fields that I journeyed past on that trip instead of riding practically fifty miles with no place to stop, too! Today I am even afraid of bike rides that take me out into regions where there is no place to stop and tend to shy away from them. Not sure if it has anything to do with that big ride that I took that day or not. In fact as I am writing this there is one specific ride known as the Capital Cities Trail around the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin that totals like thirty miles if you leave in one direction and circle the South Side of that city and come back into town from the South. It would probably be one very nice ride to take that whole entire circuit, but seems to have no actual stops where a guy can stop for a slice of pizza or a sandwich or any of the things that I seem to have decided a guy needs to make a great bike ride complete.

The satellite TV business consisted mostly of a lot of different types of satellite antennas, mostly the ten foot models, however there were a few eight footers and six footers that it was said did not pick up the signal from satellites as good so far north as we were at up in Wisconsin. Therefore it was best to always use a ten foot dish and that is pretty much all I had any experience using and so I never really worried too much about the matter beyond that. There was also more than one type of electronics set up, however I primarily did my business with the LNB type system which I preferred over the slightly older LNA system that shows up in a couple of locations where I might have been hired to do some sort of modifications on other aspects of the system as needed and not affecting the electronics part of the system.
I ran ads in some of the local papers and sold these right out of the garage at my Grandmas house and at some point put up a nice ten foot Kaul-Tronics dish out in her back yard where there was a great view of the south horizon to pull in the whole satellite band. That system was also the last system that I eventually sold before moving on with my life on my way to Bringing Earthquakes To Life.
So, I went here and there buying all of the stuff that I needed to build the next satellite TV system and then went on to the next one, occasionally having to stop by a bank somewhere to cash one of those big checks when I got paid at the end of a job, you know. That was all good and fine. . . right up until the day that they decided to scramble all of the best TV channels that had been the main selling point for those satellite systems in the first place. The next thing that happened not long after everything became dependant on the use of a General Instruments Descrambler was that they next started all switching over to the much smaller Direct Broadcast Satellite Dish. It was further way unfortunate for little guys like myself that we were never given enough mark-up on the smaller ones to survive! Could have sold them to us for a couple hundred dollars and let us make 50 or 75 dollars on one of them, but instead the mark-up on them was like ten or fifteen dollars and hardly enough to pay for the gas to drive up to a customers house too far north where they need satellite antennas the most you know. I checked and double checked many, many times before realizing that it was to be the end of the satellite TV business. One of those really tough breaks that a person hates to have to face up to, especially when things were going as good as they were in the satellite TV systems business!

The next thing I went on to do was to get some experience working in a junkyard just like I had always dreamed of doing! That job basically consisted of cars coming in and me taking a lot of the best parts off of and washing them, tagging them, and putting them on a shelf somewhere. I would also from time to time need to take a trip out into the yard where all the junk cars were neatly all lined up by make and model and remove whatever part a customer needed. A few of these such trips out back just so happened to have taken place on, wouldn’t you know it, the coldest days of the year! Then there was the one time that I was working on a car that just so happened to be lined up along the furthest row to the west there at this specific yard and naturally it bordered with the farm next door and my tool box brushed up against that ELECTRIC FENCE there! You can guess what the punch line to this story is already! Finally there was the day that one of the bosses horses died and how that ended was with me being sent over to that same farm very near where I contacted the fence with my toolbox and it was my job to bury the dead horse. Probably not something that folks get the opportunity to do real often and I have to admit that so far up to this point in my life it is the only dead horse that I have had to bury.
Other jobs that I had in those years, and I notice this takes up several chapters in the volume I have titled, Life Story of The EQ Guy, are building steel buildings and building silos. Using those tools that are required in both of those two jobs will eventually become more and more important to me in leading up to all of the work that I will eventually be doing in California and towards all the stuff that I am going to eventually learn about how, “Precision Plate Tectonics” works. Thinking back along these lines and comparing the tools used as I was talking about there, you could say building satellite TV systems required a couple little wrenches for cable ends and a couple large wrenches to turn the big bolts needed to adjust the declination on the antennas. The junk yard required adding one or two wrenches and a couple screwdrivers, and steel buildings required a couple spuds and a bar or two that were readily used on them other jobs as well as left and right air force pliers if that is the word they liked to use. Tin snips is the actual name of those tools but one that I had to add when I eventually went into that biz.
Building silos used a lot of even more new tools that I had never came across before including a bolt holder and some other stuff that is used for different jobs specially related to how they build those things, you know. Although I have to admit to never having the vaguest idea back in those days that all of this would ever lead to me being on the leading edge of Earth Mechanics and the tools that would eventually help me in Bringing Earthquakes To Life, you know!

It was a job that was on the road that eventually would lead me up to some of my first jobs in the movie business. One day as the big job in Kinston, North Carolina kept on going and going and going it occurred to me there wasn’t going to be enough stuff going on there to fill up my free time. That was when I noticed that some of the movies showing at the local movie theatre looked like fairly good movies and so as a result that was the point that I started going to a lot of movies.
Some of the movies I was going to see back in those days were Coming To America, Beeltejuice, Bull Durham, Cocktail, Twins, Young Guns, Big, Punchline, and A Fish Called Wanda.
It was the day I went to see the latest Francis Ford Coppola movie, Tucker that I was probably most inspired to get involved in the movie business. This movie had got some press for the fact that it was shooting a lot of the scenes in one of the nearby major cities. Not sure right off hand as I’m writing if it was Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, or where. When it came to the part that I had been waiting for, the actual Tucker Factory that had also apparently been discussed in at least one news story for all the work they did to prepare an old building for this movie. . . it was a shot of Victor Mature taking the last couple steps out in front of the building while the camera Zoomed-Wide to a Wide-Shot of the whole entire building as Victor takes one last drag off a cigarette and drops it to the asphalt. He then steps on it and puts it out with his fancy shoe and steps out of the shot while we see the whole exterior of that building and possibly Zoom-In on the Tucker Factory and then CUT.

In the next scene that relates directly to me eventually Bringing Earthquakes To Life, I was back home and going to another movie back in Janesville at the old movie theatre at the Janesville Mall that’s no longer there it is a Chuckie Cheese Pizza place today. I picked up that program with all of the latest movies listed inside of it like I always still like to do today. I especially like to see how many of the movies listed in it that I have already seen with ten being the number I usually like to hope for and occasionally reach, too.

On this particular day that I am talking about here I was in the theater waiting for the movie to start and taking a look at this program thing with all the movie synopsis’ in it. That was when I came across an ad for an acting class going on in Chicago that promised to teach how the professionals do everything and get you jobs in the acting business!

This was the point in time when the road to Chicago would soon become the road to Bringing Earthquakes To Life!!!