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Yak, Yak, Blah, Blah, Blah...
So you want to know about me!?
Cleveland skyline
Click for Cleveland, Ohio Forecast
This is downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
I live in a western suburb of the city about one mile south of Lake Erie.
I'm married and have four great kids.  I like swimming, ASCII art, and crafts. I have a graduate degree in Exercise Physiology but spend most of my time driving my children from activity to activity.  I officiate swimming/diving and spend a lot of time in the swimming pool.
  • Some things about me:
    • birthday: November 19th, late baby-boomer era; Scorpio
    • color eyes: brown; color hair: dark blonde
    • favorite colors: yellow, purple
    • favorite season: fall
    • favorite holiday: Halloween
    • favorite food: spaghetti, seafood
    • favorite dessert: cream puffs, RiceKrispie treats
    • favorite flowers: lilacs, pansies
    • favorite animal: rabbits
    • favorite sport: swimming -obviously
    • favorite spectator sport: Cleveland Indian's baseball (even when they lose)
    • favorite TV shows: E.R., Star Trek (NG, Voyager, DS9)
    • favorite actors: Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Patrick Stewart, Mel Gibson
    • favorite author: Stephen King
    • favorite recent movies: Toy Story, Twister, Nightmare Before Christmas
    • favorite music: almost everything!

    • oldies, R&R, musicals, MoTown, hip-hop, reggae, big band
    • favorite singers: Phil Collins, Jimmy Buffet, Pink Floyd
    • favorite musicals: Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret, Chess
    • favorite comedy: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Ni!)
    • ideal vacation: sitting on tropical beach w/pina colada in hand
    • favorite past-times: (besides swimming and ASCII art)

    • learning new things on the computer, garage sales, bingo, miniature golf, road rallyes, eating, sleeping, and family time with our four kids-
      (ages 13, 11, 10, and 8)
    • patron saint: Saint Anthony, patron saint of lost articles

    • "Help me from losing my mind!"
    Let Me Introduce My Children to You...
              / ,,, \        .===.         
             ( /6.6\ )      ////\\\       .===.
             )(  _  )(     ((/6.6\))     /_____\__     .===.
            ( ,'---', )    )(  _  )(    `\/6.6\/--`   ////\\\
             / (\-/) \    ((()---()))    (  _  )      \/6.6\/
            /_ /o o\ _\    /  `@`  \     ,'---',      (  _  )
            | _\ Y /_ |   /\/     \/\   /   _   \     ,'---',
            \(_ `~` _)/   \ |     | /  /_/ (_) \_\   /       \
             / /   \ \     \|     |/   \ | (_) | /  /_/     \_\      
            / ()/^\() \     |_____|     \|_____|/    \|     |/
           /. . . . . .\    |__|__|      |  |  |     (|_____|)
           `"`"|`|`|"`"`     | | |       |  |  |      |__|__|
               |_|_|         |_|_|       \__|__/       |_|_|
     jgs      _|_|_|_       _|_|_|_      _|_|_|_      _|_|_|_
             (___|___)     (___|___)    (___|___)    (___|___)
              MAUREEN        MOLLY         IAN         PETER
               age 13        age 11        age 10       age 8
    spunk (spungk), n. Informal. courage, spirit, or mettle
    So why am I called "Spunk"?
      I can't even count the number of times that I've been asked "why'spunk'?"... It goes back several years ago when I purchased my first new car. It was a little red two-seater and my brother made the remark that it was pretty "spunky". The name stuck and I applied for special vanity plates. "Spunky" was already taken but "Spunk" was not. I still have those vanity plates on my car after a dozen years. Of course it's not the same car- it's a sedan but it's still red!

      I'm one of those people who tend to burn candles at both ends. I'm always doing something... hence, my roadrunner .sig: "...always on the go" Others have said that I'm "spunky". So in another way, the name has stuck.

      Before I go much further... Yes, I know of the connotation that the word "spunk" has in the UK- It is purely coincidental. I do not use the name with that meaning. 

    An ASCII art friend from Germany gave me some additional
    information regarding the word "spunk". Apparently, the
    spunk is a little gnome-like creature...
    The translation from Flemish to German to English is as

    >>> SPUNK is een lieve guitige trol.
    Spunk is a nice and funny goblin,
    >>> Geboren uit een lotusbloem, is hij niet bang voor
    Born out of a lotu s flower, and he isn't afraid of
    >>> spannende avonturen en grappen maken.
    great adventures and having fun.

    >>> SPUNK is dol op de natuur,
    Spunk loves the nature,
    >>> de bijen zijn z'n grootste vrienden.
    The bees are it's biggest friends,
    >>> Zelfs waterspinnen krijgt hij aan het lachen
    Even waterspiders laugh with him,
    >>> en als hij lacht, hoor je dat dan ook van heel ver.
    And if he laughs, you hear it from far away.

      and here is the spunk itself:
      -- thanks to Holger Korn, <spunk@diamonds.albnet.de>
                        mm        MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMm
                       MMMMMm   mMMM  MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
                           ~~~~~   jMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
             1 __ `-.____jMMMMMMMMMMM~~~~~~---~~~~MMMMMMMMMMg
             1   \_  ~~~~~"MMMMM'  1                1 "MMMMMMM
              \_   ~-___    MMMM6  1   jmq    jmq   1  MMMMMMMM
                \_    M    jMMM~    \  M M    M M   /  MMMMMMMMM--______---_
                  \_   \  qMM~     __---"~~~~~~"--_     MMMf                1
                    \     MMF   __/      -~T~-     \     4M1  ______----~~ /
                     \__ jMM   ~ T_        1        T_    M#    M        _/
                       "MMMM0      \_      1      _/  ~  jMM   /     ___/
                        MMMMMMM      \_         _/     _MMMM'     /~~
                         MMMMMMMMmy    MMm__mMM~      gMMMM#  _/~~
                           MMMMMMMMM0M   \_ _/    wMMMMMMMMMMM
                             MMMMMMMMMMp   ~  mMMMMMMMMMMMMM
                               MMMMMMM ~T~-~T~~  MMMMMMMMM
                                  MM    1         MMMMM
                                 /~~\_            M
                                _1   1       ~\    \
                              _/ 1   1         \   1___
                            _/ _/    /          1    1 \
                           1  /      \_         1    1  1
                           1           ~-___     \   1  1
                            \_              ~-_  1    1 1
                              \_       _------~  1    1 f
                                \_    1_ --~    /      1_
                                  \ ____\       1      1 \
                                  /   \____  ___1      1  1        ___------______
               _--_ ----_   ______1_    \__~~~ /        \_ \__---~~    _---_~    _Z
            __/    ~-   _/~~        ~      ~\/~           \_                \   /  \
           / /                            __/      ____     \_          _-^\ 1  _ _/
          1_ 1                         /~~     _         _    ~-_      /    `---_~
            ~\___   ________________---\________\       /_______/\   _/      /
                 ~~~                             \_   _/          ~----~~---~
          {{{{  }}}}}}}}}     
         }}}}} _   _ {{{{{  
         }}}}  6   6  {{{{  
        {{{{{    ^    }}}}}
       {{{{{{\  -=-  /}}}}}}   
        {{{{{{{)   (}}}}}}}'
         `""'"':   :'"'"'`   
       jgs      `@` 

    Do I look anything like the "spunk"? :)

    How did I get hooked on ASCII Art?
      Believe it or not, I "discovered" ASCII art in winter of 1995. I think I saw a tiny bicycle made in ascii characters and was totally amazed by it. I joked that someone must have had too much time on their hands! But still I was in awe of it... I didn't even know what it was called. After e-mailing several friends, I found out that it was called "ASCII art". It was then that I found the USENET newsgroup <alt.ascii-art> and started lurking to find more of these computer pictures. 

      I then started collecting as much of the ASCII art as I could. I began wandering through the internet and realized that there was way too much to save. I would forget my idea of having a huge collection... I know where to find the pictures if I want something.

      Being a "crafty" type person, I decided that I would try to make the ASCII pictures myself. I've always like to doodle on paper, so I figured it couldn't be that much different. My first project was to make a signature for me to use. I started diddling around with the keyboard in May/June of 1996 by doing lettering. Someone then told me about "FIGLET". For those of you who don't know, FIGLET is a computer program that creates fancy lettering from text. Hearing about figlet took the thrill away from making the fonts- I could spend an hour creating an alphabet by hand and someone else could just press a computer key and have the letters pop up "pre-made". [FIGLET LINK]

      And so I went on to the pictures... I know that there are programs available to create ASCII art -- (I don't know that much aboutthem...) -- but the programs usually create solid-type ASCII art. Even then, the pictures still are pretty rough and need touch-ups to make them asthetically correct. I have collected some conversion software information from <alt.ascii-art> and offer them to you-- no guarantees-- [CONVERSION LINK]

      I make the line-style ASCII pictures and I don't believe that there are programs for this style. Basically I sit down at the keyboard and start typing. ['HOW I DO IT'/TUTORIALS LINK]

      OK-- so I can't consider myself a "newbie" at ASCII art any more. The honeymoon is over! I've been making the pics since 1996.   Some people are anticipating my "burn-out"-- but I continue to make the ASCII art pictures and I still look forward to improving. I'd like to be able to look at each of my creations and say "wow!"-- there are some that I like a lot and there are some that I consider "ok". Most of the crummy ones have met their demise at the hands of the delete button. Despite this, I've included some of my early works in this gallery so you can see how my artwork has evolved. Perhaps I may inspire other budding ascii artists...

      I am just amazed at all ASCII artwork. There are a limited number of characters available on the keyboard and they are all fixed. Considering this fact, it is truly remarkable that there are so many different ASCII art pictures.

      I don't know how long ASCII art has been around. I've been told that it dates back at least to the 1960s when computers consisted only of large main frames. There were no PCs and no monitors. Transmissions were done through terminals that were very much like electric typewriters. Games and pictures were done in ASCII. (Remember the orignial "Zork"?) Some of the pictures passed around then are still being passed around today. 
      See History of ASCII Art.

      For me, the ASCII art is still pretty new ... although I remember as a kid, my father would take me to work with him on an occasional Saturday. While there, I would play on the secretary's typewriter and make pictures on a sheet of paper using commas and lines-- my "first" ASCII drawings!. (I would also link all of her paper clips together-- shhh, don't tell my dad!). I had a lot of fun those weekend mornings... I guess you could say that I've been making text art -- even before computers! :) 

      But times have changed! Gone are the typewriters, papers, and carbon copies. I doodle as I did as a child... but now I don't need a new sheet of paper or white-out when I make a mistake. Sigh... and my children have already connected my paper clips together! :( But that's OK, I don't need them! :) I just have to fight the kids for computer time!

      ___,_  _,___  ___,_  ___,_  _,___  ___,_  _,___  ___,_  ___,_  _,___

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