Born and raised in Portland Oregon from German great grandparent immigrants. Our father was an art major in the Portland Art Museum School. Our mother was close to becoming a Catholic nun when parents met in 1950.
My grandfather talked often of seeing Halley's Comet in 1910 from the snow covered wheat fields of North Dakota while they cross country skied. The grand parents family moved west to Portland to take work during the depression when the Midwest dried up of farming in the early 1930’s Dust Bowl and Great Depression.. Our mother’s family did the same from Kansas. Our father took an office job at Esco Steel after coming out of World War 2 as a Corporal Technician Surveyor to build runways in the Azores Islands. As our mother’s father was the personnel manager in 1950 at Esco, he put father to work as a production support employee for 30 years. Our father continued an interest in aviation historical modeling as part of an Oregon Historical Modelers society and an art form in Portland. He continued his interest in art outside of his daily office job which was an influence to us three siblings and especially I, as the elder of a brother one year younger and sister five years younger. We grew up in the far northeast neighborhood of Parkrose Heights in new modest ranch homes where the Portland city neighborhoods were adjacent to rural farmland in 1955. Our mother was always in the home as a full time homemaker. Parkrose Heights was a neighborhood of many local successful Portland artists and mucisians. The skies at night were dark enough to see the Milky Way overhead on balmy summer evenings. I used my berry picking money to purchase my first astronomy telescope at age fourteen when our family moved east ten blocks to a larger home on a half acre.
Attending Mount Hood Community College for a year of art studies after graduating from high school at age seventeen in 1972, I fell into a data processing job as a Computer Output Microfiche production lab in the state of the art service bureau for a subsidiary of US Bank when I was 19. Six years later, just after meeting my wife there, we left the banks service bureau company to continue the same work at Consolidated Freightways Computer Center in Northwest Portland. The dependable job there afforded me to design and build my own home for my family. I kept the home after 20 years of marriage ended in divorce; the 2000 year began the downfall of our nations mass job losses and so was mine, eliminated due to outsourcing at the time.
Out of permanent work, I decided to take a 10,000 mile solo road trip with a research-grade solar telescope borrowed from the Portland Oregon Science Museum's Astronomy Club. I met thousands of people on the streets while on this long arduous road trip to Eastern Canada and back within six weeks, providing sidewalk astronomy. Appearing in the news and then soon after to the Fiji Islands to do the same, I was eventually hired by a local university to teach astronomy as an adjunct professor for a term.
Jobs were becoming scarce in Portland by 2004. I met my second wife from the Fiji Islands, a Hindu. I Traveled to Fiji to work immigration paperwork and a short teaching stint for several months there to provide live solar astronomy for the public and schools; meeting their Prime Minister of Fiji while performing this teaching experience. Returning to Portland after several months in Fiji, the job loss also began the demise of the wrongful foreclosure by my bank ending in the homes loss in March 2008 due to a long bout of job loss and economic collapse of our nation.
Now providing occasional lectures of my published, awarded astronomy art on request. My art has been featured in the famed NASA websites Spaceweather.com and Astronomy Picture of the Day; CD covers in London, science calendars at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland Oregon, Semi-retired into an early pension withdraw at age 55 in 2009; fortunate to enjoy excellent health still at age 57 [as of this writing April 2011], with no medical insurance since the job loss at Consolidated Freightways in 2000. Bicycling most of my life and taking an interest since age eighteen in a strict healthy diet may be responsible for my good health. Being active in astronomy for the public may have added to the health of mind. Genetics may be partly responsible. Our parents as intellectual Bohemians were a great influence to us; our mother passed away in March 2005 and we lost our father in May 2010. *Also see > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eV91IPd4Agc
and other recent videos of the sidewalk astronomy as seen here in Google+.
Also being left handed has played an obvious biological and intellectual advantage as I am also self-taught to play several musical instruments aside from my varied visual arts and media interests, helping young students with their motion film projects, music recording and promotion, etc. I have spoken about my arts and astronomy influences on NPR’s Talk of the Nation as a call-in speaker possibly more than any other single caller. I also write into their daily discussion blogs for many years. My first call-in to NPR's Talk of the Nation was on the story of the Andy Warhol line, The 16th Minute of Fame > http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4534090
Productive Procrastination - Mark speaks as opening caller before the guest and he sets the tone for the entire discussion about artists!
Neal Conan puts me ahead of the guest as the first caller on the subject of job loss >
Where to Look for Jobs In the Recession >
Questions, comments and criticism welcomed!