I occasionally get asked for a home page URL and despite having owned an ISP for over
4 years (in 1999) I had never really made my own personal home page. My first home page was
really just a railfan page which turned into a whole network of railfan pages, but it
didn't have anything about me or any pictures of me. I decided to finally make a small page
so my friends on the internet could find out more about me if they really wanted to.
I was born in August of 1961. Not sure if that makes me an old fart yet, but I
sure don't feel like one. I run the Blue Moon Internet Corp
which is our ISP business and Railfan.net
which is a network of railroad/railfan related websites.
I also run a small IRC network. ZUHnet IRC
which is a network of public Internet Relay Chat servers which I helped to
create in 1998. I provide the core network services and technical work.
I was a mischievious youth and a troublesome teenager. Boy do I have stories to
tell about those times, but that will have to wait for later. In my 20's I
worked for the family business, Stritt & Priebe, which is an indusrial
piping supply corporation. The family work ethic was start at the bottom and
learn everything you can before you move up. In other words they were slave
drivers! I ended up being the manager of the industrial instrumentation end of
the business meaning I sold and took care of temperature and pressure gauges
and all the associated support systems for them. Very technical, boring stuff,
but lucrative. After Dad sold his interest in the business to my uncle
(tossing away all my sweat equity!) I sort of floated around doing all sorts
of things I knew how to do for money. I wasn't poor, but I lacked direction.
Thus begins the latest chapter in my life.
I have always had an aptitude for computers. In 1972 (6th grade) I used a school
mainframe to play games and write a few BASIC programs, nothing interesting,
but in 1972 there weren't many people who could do _anything_ on a computer.
Aside from PONG and an Atari VCS I didn't do much with computers until after
1980 when we got an Atari 800 system, our first "real computer." I mostly
played games, but that whopping 48K of memory was just too much power not to
mess around with programming! The Atari 810 floppy drive was problematic from
the start and the number of breakdowns finally discouraged me enough to stop
using the computer very much and I fell back into a routine of partying much of the
time and paying a lot of attention to girlfriends, you know, productive stuff
After a few more years of that we got an Amiga 500 computer to play games on.
That was in 1989. I got a call at work one summer afternoon, "Hank, we bought a
computer, you have to come home and set it up!" I went home and set it up and
when I booted it up with the game called "War in Middle Earth" I was floored at
the complete arcade quality of the graphics and animation. I was instantly
hooked! It only had 512K of RAM and one floppy drive, but man, it was
awesomely powerful! After hardware problems with that I got an Amiga 2000
desktop machine with expansion slots and a hard drive. Now I was really
cooking. I had mostly been playing games, but at that time most games were
floppy disk based with copy protection and being just too impatient to wait for slow floppies, I
started learning the operating system in order to do my own hard drive installs.
Amigas had great graphics and I played with that a lot. I thought I would
start a graphic design business and did the artwork for a few politcal
campaigns and some business card runs for pay and in the process bought a
state-of-the-art Amiga 3000 to work with. I had started to use computer
Bulletin Boards a lot so I had a second phone line. I figured that since I had
two computers and two phone lines which were idle while I worked (at the City of
Buffalo Police Garage) and slept I might as well start my own BBS so other
people could call in and use my computer and phone line when I wasn't. That was
the beginning of the Blue Moon Online System. I found out I was unusually good
at running a BBS and "The Moon" grew in leaps and bounds until I had 20
incoming phone lines pumping data in and out, night and day. By then it was 1994 and
The Internet was starting to pick up a head of steam so I started researching
how to connect the BBS to the net. After going over and over the best way to do
it I decided the only way to go was to become a full fledged ISP. I started
buying unix equipment, terminal servers and banks of modems and arranged for
a T1 backbone connection and soon had everything in place aside from one small
thing, CUSTOMERS! I had borrowed and spent almost $80,000 and it was starting to look like a
money pit that would go down the tubes before it even had a grand opening! I
borrowed another $10,000 and did an advertising campaign blitz over the space of one
month and amazingly we covered our overhead costs that first month! It was
about a year before the business made enough to bring me out of debt and it
grew geometrically after that. I stressed myself out big time working long hours
for several years and it's a credit to my friends and family that they put up with
me during that time.
When I decided to start the ISP, my good friend Tim
(Opus in IRC) gave me a lot of help and stood behind me 100%. A nicer guy you
could never meet!
I learned the hard way that running your own business is one of the most
stressful things you can do. After Dad passed away suddenly in 1997 I gained a
new outlook on life and started to concentrate on enjoying things again rather
than working myself to death. If you clicked on the
Railfan.net link you already know I'm a
hard core train nut, it's one of the things I did with Dad and it helps to keep
me close to him. Railfan.net is basically an online memorial to Dad.
In 2000 I met this wonderful woman named Tammy and I have been with her ever since.
I spent most of my time with her in western Ohio from 2000 to 2006, telecommuting
In January of 2006 Mom passed away. More than any other person, I owe who I am today
to Mom. She instilled in me what I think are most of my best qualities and she was
the one who always supported the most, no matter what direction I decided to take.
When I decided to start the ISP business, it was Mom who loaned me most of the money
to do it.
After Mom passed away I took over the old family homestead where I grew up. Tammy moved
east and we sold our house in Ohio. We have spent the past few years slowly rehabbing
the property and with any luck, real estate prices will eventually rebound so we can
sell this place and escape the oppressive taxation and corrupt governments of Buffalo,
Erie County and New York State and find some nice rural property near a busy railroad
main line in a state that doesn't constantly try to suck the life out of you!
Aside from trains I enjoy reading books, following several types of auto racing, chatting in
IRC and programming web pages and internet services.
Railfan.net - Our train sites
Aquarium.bluemoon.net - Our Tropical Fish site
BuffaloNet.org - My Buffalo, NY history site which I don't have enough time to work on!
ZUH.net IRC - The Internet Relay Chat Network I admin
Interesting Reading - Opinions, Patriotic Ramblings, Fun, Etc.
Click on the thumbnail to show the full sized pic or thumbnail directory
I'm caught suprised by the camera at a local BBS sysop's meeting in 1994|
We used to meet up every few months at a local tavern
My friend Steve and I making a fire in the woods on my family's|
land in South Wales, NY in the summer some time in the 1980s.
This pic was severely damaged by water and took an hour of retouching!
Me sitting in front of the 15 line BBS mess of modems and computers|
It must have been taken in the morning, I don't look awake!
From the look of the pile of modems I would say it was summer 1993
My t-shirt says "Just Visiting This Planet"
Me and my '55 Chevy street rod in front of my house back in 1985|
I still have the '55 and still live in this house in Buffalo, NY
The car's name is "Aunt Bea" and although she's pretty well stripped down, I hope to make a 572 Rat Motor project out of her someday :)
This one was taken on the roof of Buffalo Central Terminal on 9-7-97|
That's me in the hard hat shooting video of a train on the Belt Line while standing on a concrete "fleur de lis" with downtown Buffalo in the distance. My friends weren't too comfortable watching me do that, but they're used to that kind of thing from me :)
My 1997 Cobra ragtop shortly after I got it in June 1997|
It's a lousy vidcap from a Snappy, but the car is awesome!
Another vidcap of the Cobra in my driveway|
You haven't lived until you've cruised at over 140 in a roadster!
Some of our pets are at this link, that's Creampuff (R.I.P. 2008) outside the kitchen window in 1998|
whining to come in.
More of our pets are at this link. We had kittens in April of 2006, I call them the Brat Pack.
I was given an American Flag that flew in Iraq after doing a website for a unit stationed there. It is
one of my prized possessions.
Tammy's and my Aquarium website, we like tropical fish.
A Cooper's Hawk in our backyard January 11, 2009.
Night Photos Around Buffalo from June 2010
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I'll do more photos and scans and add them here when I get time!