About Me

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Hi, I'm Darryll and I live in Pullman, Washington with my wife and two kids. I'm a licensed Architect and am employed as a Project Manager at Washington State University. In addition, I have my own business doing residential designs in the greater Palouse area. I am a self-taught pianist, song-writer and singer and am involved in the music department at my local church.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Imagination - Playing Army!

I read a blog post recently where the author was commenting about how kids today had so much electonic stimulation of what isn't real that "...they are forced to imagine what reality actually is".  That's a really powerful and rather thought provoking concept.  Like most of you, I grew up playing with the neighborhood kids and we all actively employed our imagination in almost all of our play times.  And I am thankful that we had that in our lives.

I grew up in North Seattle and lived near the Puget Sound.  Some of the best times we had as kids were when we went down to the big park by the water and played army.  It’s a lot more developed now, but when we were kids it was a mainly a huge hillside of sand and Scotch broom bushes.  You can check it out here:

…here's a view in google maps that shows it pretty well.

I remember that we would literally spend hours there playing war.  Even though there was only half a dozen of us, we would scamper up and down the hills – hiding in scotch broom outcroppings, behind old rusted out cars, sidling up to the few lone trees – and taking every chance we could to “kill” each other.  In our minds eye, we were all Vic Morrow on the TV show Combat! – taking out all the ‘krouts and Japs – not very PC today, but definitely the verbiage of our generation.

Mind you, we didn’t have fancy electronic guns that would make shooting noises for us.  No – that was all up to us – and the kid who could make the best “pekuuu” (single shot)… or “pphthththth” (machine gun) sound was cooler than everyone, even if he did get killed.  And some of the coolest guns we had were those that we hand made out of old broom handles, hunks of 2x2 and a mass of black electrical or duct tape.

I drove through our "battleground" last time I visited my family - it’s now full of nature trails, BBQ’s and playground platforms, and lots of amenities for the family.  I’ll never forget that in my youth, it was a hillside full of imagination of intense warfare in a Wolrd War 2 setting, and made for endless hours of awesome memories.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Future Pilots in the '70s!

Someone said something the other day that sparked a memory and I had to write about it.  This was one of those times when I realized that we did a lot of simple things growing up and had a lot of fun doing them. 

We lived on the west side of Washington state, and we often vacationed on the east side of the Cascades.  It was almost always warm and sunny over there and we would go stay in campgrounds and state parks.

We often went to a place called Entiat, a beautiful state park on the Columbia River.  We would spend hours as kids playing in the river, playing frisbee, playing on the camping playground and generally just having a lot of fun being kids.

One thing that was a real treat was when we would go to the little general store in town and buy those little balsa wood airplanes that had the wind up rubber band to power the propeller.  Entiat was a nice park and had a huge green grassy area which was perfect for playing with these planes.  If I remember correctly, they came with an extra rubber band which was good, because that ended up being the limiting factor on how long the planes lasted.

The whole length of the park had a row of huge Poplar trees that acted as a windbreak and were cool to climb in.  Sometimes we had to climb the trees to retrieve our planes and we weren't always able to find or reach them.  I bet to this day you can still find 40 year old balsa wood plane skeletons in those trees.

Sometimes, we would splurge and spend a little bit extra to buy the planes that had the little set of wheels on them.  While the grass wasn't ideal for take offs and landings, it was really cool to have them and made us feel like we were running our own little airport.

These were really awesome and gave us hours and hours of outdoor, fresh air fun.  I bet kids to day would love to play with them, too.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

My 1973 Camaro

OK - I know you can see this above - and I know it's oversized on the screen - but here it is!!!

I've seen a couple of early '70s Camaros recently that reminded me of my beauty.  Here it is in its hey day!  It was 'only' a stock 350 4bb, but it could bury you in the seat when you stood on it.  and yes, that's a fiberglass L88 hood that really added to the cars sexiness and sleekness.

If I ever get rich and famous, I wonder if I'd get myself something like this again?  It is really sweet and fun to drive - and what better way to promote the '70s that to drive a car from the '70s?  If I play my cards right, I could write it off on my taxes as an expense necessary to sell my books... :)

Anyway - with the weather getting nicer and the hot cars coming out, It would be awesome to have this to cruise around town... I'll let you know how that goes.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What's Your '70s Addiction?

So - I haven't had many addictions in  my life...

Diet Pepsi - I could easily drink a 6-pack a day. (I've actually sworn off the stuff - in fact I haven't had any pop in 18 months!)
TV - I watch too much, but at least I can do things like design houses and write blogs while I watch! :)
Donuts - Again - I could really down them, but I've also sworn off of them.  In fact - I had my first one in 18 months just yesterday - a maple bar.  It was good, but I think I have to wait another year and a half.

But - one of my biggest addictions was the video game Defender.  There was a game located at a bowling alley just a half a mile away from where I lived.  This also happened to be right between where I worked and my home.  It was TERRIBLY convenient and very easy to just stop on my way home.

The bad guys
Defender is an incredible game.  If you're unfamiliar with it, the mission was to fly your spaceship over an alien planet surface and pick up a bunch of humans that were stranded on the ground.  You flew either left or right on the screen - which was a long wrap screen - and you could both  fire a laser gun and you could drop a "smart bomb", which would obliterate everything currently on the screen.  
You were up against an arsenal of landers, mutants, orbiters, bomber, pods and swarmers that came out of an exploded pod.  All of  these had only two purposes... to kill you, or to capture and mutate all the humans on the ground..

The game was fast paced and though only two dimensional it was very challenging.  One of the neat features was that it had a "radar" type screen that was a horizontal band at the bottom of the screen which enabled you to see everything happening on the entire surface.  For instance, you could see when one of the landers was trying to grab one of the stranded humans.  They would then rise on the screen and into mutants if they got to the top.  If you could see them getting picked up on the radar, you could race over there, shoot the mutant and catch/save catch the falling human.

I spent a lot of time playing it... a lot.  And I spent a lot of money.  Sure - it only cost a quarter, but when you play a lot, the quarters add up.  However - the advantage is that when you play a lot, you get better... a lot better.  During my early times of playing, I would play for a long time and spend a lot of quarters, but at the end of the time I was playing, I play for 30 or 45 minutes on one quarter.  I did actually turn the machine over a million points - a feat that I only ever saw one other person do.  Of course - back in the '70s - it wasn't like my family could just call me on my cell and ask where I was... I just wasn't home yet.  I'd just get home late and had a variety of excuses as to why I was late / where I was / etc.
Should I do this to my office?

So - I came to the realization - and I think my brother actually did an intervention (although we just called it "talking some sense into you" back then) that I needed to stop letting the game rule me and start ruling the game - or more importantly - my time.  Eventually, I chose to totally quit, and it has been YEARS since I've played.  I have seen that you can actually play it on line now. but I don't think I'll go there.

I suppose that if I ever really got back into it I'd probably lay out my office like this picture.  I wonder if having it there to play at any time would ruin me or if I could better control myself?  Of course, now I have a wife who can have a *wee* bit of influence on how I spend my time.  I'll probably never know.

How about you all - did you have any video game addiction?