My friend Richard is a very good listener. He's such a good listener that he's involved in the SETI League. He has several antennas on his properties for that kind of listening, and I always look forward to his annual 4th of July party to see what kind of fun things he's up to now. I plan to bring some new chocolates that I'll be making while John's away fishing with his dad in Utah (photos to come next week).
Richard was one of the first people to try my chocolates and was involved in the naming contest for the company. He's generously endorsed me on his site here in his blog entry on chocolate. But, the real reason you should definitely visit his site to is to learn how he's using his Toyota Prius as an emergency generator for his home. He calls it the PriUPS because it's an uninterruptible power supply.
There's a lot to be said for having a variety of friends in one's life. Especially eccentric genius types like Richard. There's an interesting story behind how we met and what a very small world it truly is.
Many years ago, when I was Copy Chief at Electronic Design magazine in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, I also served as section editor of a light and newsy section called QuickLook. Richard had sent me a press release on the SETI League that was intriguing enough for me to interview him about the project. Later, I printed a story and let him know.
Richard asked me to lunch as a thank you and asked me if my last name related me to a fellow he knew through the small airport where he took flying lessons. Turns out, the fellow was my father. Even more interesting, he didn't actually know my father, but rather, Dad's ex-girlfriend who worked at the airport, and who Richard befriended years ago.
Of course, flying small planes is not the most common hobby, but it's an interesting connection nonetheless. Ever since Richard and I discovered our common links, we've stayed in touch. Since I know he's a bit of a chocoholic, I try to keep him abreast of new Deb's Delectables items.
By the way, if you're interested in seeing the type of stuff I've been writing about lately, EE Times magazine just printed a story I wrote on the human brain here. Scroll down to Research: spatial abilities key to engineering. They'll make you register to see it, unfortunately, but it's free, and they won't send you anything unless you ask for it.