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How I got here

1960's & 1970's
mid 2000's

I was born in Orlando,FL in 1960 and grew up with the Space Age, which makes me part of Generation Jones. (It also makes me officially "over the hill" in the 21st century.) They used to stop school and send us out to the playground so we could watch the Gemini and Apollo launches. I still collect (well 'accumulate') space program related stuff.

I earned a BS in Physics from the University of Central Florida; but never used it, because potential employers were more interested in the fact that I paid my way through school programming computers than my degree. The lesson I learned was that having a degree is important, but which degree is unimportant. I was also a member of theZeta Omicron chapter of Delta Tau Delta fraternity.

I spent most of the 1980s in Washington, DC doing a variety of computer related jobs and really enjoying the cultural life there. It is a great place to live for a year or two - you get to a front-row seat for the government's workings, national news for everyone else is local news for you, and the Smithsonian is your local museum. I learned cities have a characteristic energy that colors the life there. At 22, I thrived on it. By 30 it was wearing me down.

From 1991 to 2004 I lived in Denver,CO, which is a great city. It's big enough to have the cultural things I like, but I could still hop on my motorcycle and be in wilderness in half an hour, despite the incredible growth it experienced during the time I was there. And who could argue with 300 sunny days a year; you just go right on believing that it's always winter, but I know better. In fact, I rode my motorcycle every month I lived there except for one August when we were on an extended vacation and four months one winter when the battery was dead. During this time we were an Up With People host family.

From September 2004 to November 2006 I lived in San Francisco. We moved in the fall of 2004 for my partner's job. There are more similarities to Washington than I expected, both good and bad. For example, I haven't had to deal with big city crime, dirt, or really bad roads since DC in the 80s. On the other hand, the options for entertainment and culture are consistently good. Winter is proving to be difficult in both cities - the rain and cloudy days in San Francisco are as oppressive as DC's cold. On the other hand, both are beautiful places when the sun shines, and both are near lots of options for weekend getaways. Ultimately we decided that that challenges of living in San Francisco outweighed the benefits and moved away.

While in San Francisco we often commented that we "would like it to be 10 degrees warmer and sunnier". We decided that would be San Diego. Since both of us were working at home at the time, we could live anywhere and so in November of 2006 we moved south. San Diego is proving to be a good fit. Socially slower paced, politically more moderate, and culturally less intense than San Francisco, it feels to us like Denver without winter. There are of course a few downsides to every place: This being California, the cost of living (specifically housing) is still very high and we've found the museums and such to be smaller than their northern cousins. Living in the shadow of Los Angeles is both a blessing and a curse - it is nice to have world-class cultural facilities and events just a 2 hour drive away, but it also means fewer things happen here compared to a city like Denver. Likewise, living in a border city has advantages and disadvantages - the cross cultural influences enrichen city life, but there are environmental and other issues that cross the border too.

During the period in 2008 when California allowed such things John and I officially married in October. Yes we are one of the 18,000 couples who took advantage of that 142 day window.

For an 18 month period in 2008 and 2009, both of us were unemployed for 12 months each. Needless to say we had to make make some adjustments. For a while this meant maintaining a long distance relationship when John working in Austin. It also meant that we gave up our in-town residence for a less expensive suburban one. Yes there are gay people in the suburbs - and we've met some others in our neighborhood.

This page, and all contents, are Copyright (C) 2011 by Steve Heyl, San Diego, CA, USA.