'The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold
two opposed ideas at the same time and still retain the ability to
function.' - F. Scott Fitzgerald
'I have sworn eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the
mind of man.' - Thomas Jefferson
'No matter where you go, there it went.' - T.S. Lawrence
y name is Todd Sherman.
I was born in Point Pleasant, New Jersey
on January 15th, 19-sumpin-somethin. (sigh) We moved around a few
times while in New Jersey, at least twice that I can remember. I think it must
have been when I was around two when we moved to Long Branch. Then
finally, probably when I was around five, we moved to a three story house in
The BEST pizza in all the WORLD comes from a little place called
Pete and Elda's Bar/Carmen's Pizzeria
in Belmar, NJ! If you're ever in the area you HAVE to check that place out.
They've been around for fifty years! Be prepared, though! Call ahead.
The lines can get long! (If only they could deliver 950 miles in just ten
In 1975, we moved from Ocala to Gainesville, Florida, where I've lived ever since.
In 1977, I attended Gainesville High School, where I graduated in 1981. Our
logo was a `purple hurricane' which, actually, looked more like a purple
dust wheeze and, seemed to do more towards making people scratch their
heads and do a double-take than in striking any horrific fear in their hearts
during a football game. (Though I will say we were 5A State Champs the year
that I graduated.)
My three little favorite pet fur-balls
Bran, have all made
their way to kitty heaven, now. And then let's not forget our Pesky Pet Mosquito, `Bzzt!'
My current kitties also number three. Their names are Stormy,
Cloudy, and Reiney. Stormy is a perfect black American Shorthair.
Cloudy is a smokey long-haired Himalayan. Reiney is something on the order of a
long-haired Maine Coon. Stormy likes to sleep next to me now, but as a
kitten liked to sleep under my chin. The other two prefer the end of the bed
with us at night. Stormy also likes to jump up and hug my left shoulder. Kid you not, if I let him go he'll just hang there. He was given to me as a kitten as a gift from my girlfriend in 2009. He likes to sleep in odd places: in the upper storage area of the master bedroom closet, in the towel rack in the master bedroom, and atop the window couch in my office room, catching all the outside activity, there. Cloudy likes to eat...and sleep...and eat...and sleep. Doesn't matter where or in what position. And if not doing that, she likes to sit guard in the backyard Florida Room, catching all the outside action. I call Reiney "neurotikitty" because he was a feral kitten and he kinda tends to run all around the house chasing things that aren't really there, or chasing his tail, or coughing up furrballs in the most inconvenient of places. ...And when he meows there is sort of a neurotic/paranoid sound to his voice combined with a sort of wild but lost kind of look. LOL.
These days I am the Founder and Coordinator of Alachua County SKYWARN.
SKYWARN is a National Weather Service-sponsored program. Started in 1997, the
program's main purpose was to educate people about severe weather and in how to
spot the signs of severe weather and how to properly report them to the NWS and
to local authorities. We call these people "Storm Spotters". Storm spotters
help give advance notice to the public of dangerous severe weather events, and
in so doing, it is hoped, they could help to save lives. As of 2010, ACS has
been around for 13 years. I'm very proud of this program and of the good that
it is doing for people. We even have a
Blogspot blog site, now, as
well as both Facebook and Twitter pages.
Feel free to visit both.
Another spinoff program that I created and that I run as Project Manager and
Coordinator is called the Alachua
County EMWIN Project. EMWIN stands for the Emergency Manager's Weather
Information Network. Quite simply, we can download the latest weather
bulletins (and some low-res graphics) from the GOES weather satellite and
then redistribute them by various means - to email, pager, cellphone, PDA,
web pages, and even to client programs connected to us over the Internet.
So, say, if you wanted the latest thunderstorm and tornado watches and
warnings sent to your cellphone or pager, we could do that for you...at
no charge whatsoever. It's all offered free to the public as a
public service. Very proud of this program, we well. :) See the
above link for more information about the project and how to make use of it.
In 2002, I received an email from Ken Allen, then Asst. Emergency Manager at
the Alachua County Office of Emergency Mgmt., advising me that the Florida
Division of Emergency Mgmt. had a spare EMWIN receiver that they were looking to
give away to an organization that would actually make good public use of it. (I
still have that email, somewhere.) The Alachua County Office of Emergency Management
didn't want it because they already had one of their own, and they really didn't have
the manpower or the funds to afford a second one (as Dave Donnelly put it to me).
...So they thought that Alachua County SKYWARN would be the perfect
organization to handle something like this. I called the contact, John Fleming, of
the Florida Division of Emergency Management, and made arrangements to receive the
equipment. The only caveat John gave us was that we make the bulletins available to
the public over-the-air. I agreed. A week later, John personally drove all the
way from Tallahassee to my house, and the equipment was given to my custody. I knew
that there was MUCH more that could be done with an EMWIN system than just
over-the-air retransmissions, and I liked the idea of the ability to also
give the local public a means of receiving free weather bulletins distributed by
cellphone, pager, email, and a plethora of other means. So I grabbed at that
opportunity. In the next few months we found a place to put the equipment - originally
inside the Gator Amateur Radio Club station and atop the Shands Dental Science Building
on the UF campus. But in 2009 a GARC club member actually hacked into the
server and the equipment has since been moved to another more secure location where it
could be better supervised and controlled. The over-the-air transmissions never really panned out. The equipment required by the end user was just too cost prohibitive, really. Even five years after we'd started, John reminded us that "You know, no one really uses the over-the-air transmissions." So we all agreed that it would be okay to shut off the transmitter. In the meantime, AC-EMWIN has provided so much more than the OTA transmissions to the local area public - providing free weather alerts to the general public via email, pager, cellphone, FAX, and to personal web sites. To our credit, we provide nearly a thousand percent more than was originally asked. We're very proud of that. With all the hardship that we've had to endure from jealous ham radio organizations who stalked and harassed and interfered, we never let the adversity and the hard times get in the way of the MISSION. The mission was what was important. You know...we even distribute our bulletins to a number of various Facebook and Twitter pages, including Bradford County EMA, Gulf County EMA, and possibly very soon (as of August 2013) the Lee County EMA Facebook page, too. Today?...a few EMAs. Tomorrow?...the world! :) Feel free to visit both our
Twitter, and Facebook pages.
I work as a Field Representative for the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Basically, aside from doing the well-known census every ten years, the Census
Bureau also sends out important survey forms for U.S. citizens to complete.
The surveys are Congressionally mandated (i.e., required by law to be
completed). If nothing is heard from the respondent, then they will atttempt
to call them. If no results, there, then they send out the Field
Representatives. "FR's" are sent to locations that did not return a form, for
whatever reason - incorrect address, refusal, or whatever. If they have a
phone number, we make an attempt to call them. If the number is no longer in
service, disconnected, or attempts by phone fail, then we will drive to the
location to verify that it is still occupied, still even there, or occupied.
If occupied, but there is no answer, then we are authorized by law to make as
many attempts as is necessary at different times of the day to get ahold of
the respondents and complete the survey. We're actually authorized to ignore
"no trespassing" signs as many times as is necessary until we can make that
first contact. The Census Bureau considers those surveys that important.
Basically, I read survey questions off a laptop to the respondents. I type a
Y or an N or a figure into the laptop. I smile. TOUGH JOB, HUH???
Obviously travel in your own vehicle is
required, but the Bureau reimburses you at a very reasonable current
government rate. The rate of pay varies between about $12 and $14 an hour for
the average FR. The job is perfect for college students and retirees because
they can work varied hours that they can choose. But you get to see so much,
and meet so many new people, too. So far, my range of travel has been pretty
much all over northeast and north central Florida, encompassing various cities
in the counties of (starting north) Suwannee, Columbia, Alachua, Levy, Marion,
Putnam, and Flagler. It's not a bad job at all. I like it. It's fun. I get to
meet lots of new and interesting people, and see lots of new and interesting
places within my own and surrounding cities and counties. ...And you feel like
you're doing something important because the answers to the questions in these
surveys are used in so many ways to help the country, and I consider myself to be
in the service of my country while doing this job. You can live in a city all
your life and then you work for the Census Bureau and you end up in all of the
places that you never knew existed. That's actually kind of fun and exciting,
especially if you've got the explorer bug in you. :) Yup. I like it.
I should probably point out that there is a difference between a "Field
Representative" - which is what I am, and a "Census Taker". A Census Taker is
a person who is hired on a temporary basis JUST for the purpose of helping
with the 10-year census. A Census Taker is the person who goes door-to-door
during the time of the "Decennial Census" ONLY. Then the job is relinquished at
the end of the Census. The "Field Representative" works with surveys
and while the job is still considered "temporary", it a little more permanent
than the Census Taker's job. As long as there are surveys to do, the
Field Representive will have work to do. Both the Census Takers and the
Field Representatives are sent out AFTER the forms have been mailed out.
Where there was no response to the mailed out forms, and where phone contact
attampts were unsuccessful, a live person is then sent out to see what the story
is, and to obtain the data. People might be ignoring the form. People might not
trust who we are. The address could be temporarily vacant - such as an apartment
dweller who moved out. The address may have been demolished or burned down. There
could be any number of reasons for a non-response. They send live people out to
get a live eye on the situation and to see what the story is. If occupied, they
try to get the respondent to do the survey.
So there yuh go. I work and volunteer for two branches of the
Department of Commerce: the U.S. Census Bureau, and the National
Favorite music? (sigh!) ...ANYTHING! I have pretty eclectic tastes. ...From
classical to rock, oldies to new stuff...I can handle it. :) You know what
I'm especially into though? ...soundtrack music...stuff that
can really move you. There's some things to be said for soundtrack music.
You should sit back and listen to Apollo 13, Stanley & Iris, Meet Joe Black,
Dances With Wolves, Batman Begins, and things like that. I like to make
home movies now and then as well, and occasionally I'll throw some short cut
of movie soundtrack music in the background for an added emotional effect.
I'm not much of a fan of country, however. And I don't understand today's Rap
and I don't think I ever will. I like music with ORIGINALITY. I don't like
hearing rip-off's of someone else's previous work. That's cheap. I like to
hear artists who think and invent their OWN music. I appreciate WORK in music.
Today's Rap...I don't see much of that going on. These people have no brains,
they can't sing, so they just talk...with a background beat. Really hard
work, there. God, *I* could do that!
I like dining out at different places just for the different experience.
You'll often find me in a different restaurant every time I go out.
Unfortunately Gainesville and Alachua County don't have much in the way of
special places. I tend to like family owned places, small places, because
they seem to put more pride and effort into it, and the tastes aren't
bland or something that you're "used" to. I do have some particular favorites.
I like Satchel's Pizza, and if you miss pizza from up north places
like in New York and New Jersey, I've found that Big Lou's Pizzeria on
Main Street is excellent, too. For big portions, and a fun, old fashioned
dining car atmosphere and a menu with a wide variety of food to choose from,
then you HAVE to go to Floyd's Diner in High Springs. Grill Master's
went out of business and I really liked their prime rib. They turned me on to
using Montral seasoning on meats when I cook. Olive Garden is nice for
a change now and then. Outback is someplace I go when I want steak; but
then, Gainesville doesn't have many steakhouse choices. We used to have a
Steak & Ale, and a Lone Star Steak House, but they both burned
down long ago and were never replaced. Golden Lights was THE ONLY
Chinese restaurant in Gainesville that I liked to go to. It was a family-owned
business and I was impressed with how much pride they always took in what they
served and how much effort they put into cooking it the RIGHT way. They didn't
use fry vats to prepare your chicken chow mein. They cut the meat and sliced
the vegetables, and threw it all into a hot wok and they did it RIGHT. Most
chinese restaurants in town nowadays cook everything in a fry vat and it always
tastes HORRIBLE. Golden Lights closed their doors in 2008 because the rent
where they were staying was kind of high, and because the family worked so hard
that they never had much time to take vacations and spend time with family.
Mr. Han's is nice. It's got a dimmed light atmosphere and they, too, cook more
traditionally. But Golden Lights was nearer to me, so I tended to go there
more often. UPDATE - 2009: Golden Lights is BACK! They're now called the
Silver Dragon Restaurant.
I even designed their web page! For subs I prefer Larry's Subs over
Subway. There's another new italian grille in town in Hunter's Crossing
called Piesanoes Stone Fired Pizza that wasn't bad.
No kids. I do have a girlfriend, though. I'm going to keep her name private
however, 1) because she runs a business, and 2) because being a leader in a
couple of visible organizations now I've had some very odd, really bad people
in a couple of local ham radio organizations attempt to actually attack and
harass my friends and associations before. After experiencing that, I began to
take my privacy and the privacy of my friends a lot more seriously.
Regardless though, I will not allow others to prevent me from enjoying life,
and from pushing forward with the things that I've always wanted to do.
Here are my beliefs in life...
I believe that those who say that Santa Clause isn't real are lieing; in
things chocolate or strawberry -- including ice cream and milkshakes;
that things can go better with Coca-Cola (TM) *OR* Pepsi
(TM) depending upon one's mood at the moment; that Murphy was an optimist;
in doing things my own way at the most inopportune time; and in my kitty-cat,
Raisen. (Deja vu?)
I believe that cats can talk - they just don't think we're worth talking
to at this particular moment, and that they are much more intelligent a
species than we. When they finally decide to talk to us they will
announce a Press Conference and share their advanced knowledge with us.
I believe that dogs and men must be more closely related somehow in the
evolutionary chain than was originally thought. We think so much alike.
(Grrr!) When we've compiled our findings we'll announce a Press
Conference and share our advanced knowledge with the public. For now
though, we're in a Pack Meeting and when we have time we'll get right on
it. Just not right now. [`YYYYES!!! TOUCH-DOWN!!!'] Oh, uh...sorry.
Where were we again?
I believe in the human spirit. Before we can attempt to join any
religion (and that can be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or any other
religion), we must first understand what it is to be human. Contrary
to the teaching of many a minister - who will propound that one cannot learn
how to be a good human being until one first has the Holy Spirit inside - I
propose that it is actually exactly the opposite...that before one can know
enough to understand what it is to be a good religious follower, one must
first understand the joys and pains, and the good and the bad of being a human
being; and one must experience it from both sides. Until one has experienced
the bad, one cannot possibly fully and completely understand how important
it is to be good. This comes with the first-hand experience of life, and
not from someone else telling you that this is the way something should be.
This is called wisdom. Anyone attempting to practice religion
without it is just the equivalent of a dog in a Pavlovian experiment doing
what it has been trained and tortured to do, instead of acting based on
conscious, consciencious aforethought and understanding.
I believe that it is important for us to treat each other kindly, fairly, and
humanely at all times. To not do so has the potential to physically, mentally,
or emotionally, and permanetly ruin someone else's life, or quality of life.
To those who are good to me and who treat me with respect and like I matter,
I am a very loyal and dedicated friend. I don't like it when people try to
bend me and mold me into something they think I should be. I prefer to be
accepted as I am, and to be treated like I'm okay just fine just the way that
I am. I accept other people the way they are and I don't try to change them.
I expect the same treatment from other people. I can accept anyone else's
religious beliefs, and I will never be heard to make fun of your religion, or
to berate you if you have none, or to try to "convert" you to mine. I want
people in my circle who are willing and capable of treating me with the same
In my relationships, I am the same way. To those who are loyal and dedicated
to me, I am just as loyal and dedicated and I go out of my way to try to make
the other person happy and to feel wanted and needed and important; and I try
to keep my promises harder than most other people do. Believe in me 100-percent,
without question or hesitation, and I will believe in you the same way. That's
all I've ever wanted in a relationship, really...trust, faith, and belief.
...But I am not a kickable puppy. I am not a trainable show poodle. I do
not appreciate people who try to bend me and shape me into something I am not.
I don't like being yelled at, or forced, or to have reverse psychology used on
me so that you can manipulate me and/or so that you can get what you want out
of me. I don't like having "limitations" or "barriers" to the friendship or
relationship thrown up in front of me. That is, "we can't be friends UNLESS
you're (this)," or "we can't be friends UNLESS you first do (this),"
etc. Accept me as I am or you will not last long with me. This is something
that I have learned in life. If you think that you can MAKE me follow you, or
that you can make me do what you want me to do, or that you can turn me into
something you'd like "better," then we won't be friends for very long. Accept
me as I am...or leave. But I will not be controlled, or abused.
I love thunderstorms and lightning. They are indeed the most exciting
and awe-inspiring naturally occuring shows on earth. I could sit and
watch them for hours, and I'd always end up being surprised and enthralled.
That having been said, I believe that the area of the Midwest Plains states
is God's own, personal, and private playground. He picked the Midwest
Plains for a reason. It is there in that least populated of places where
all of His frustrations are privately vented. For this reason, let only
those who Know and Understand be the ones who dare to venture forth to try
to witness Him.
Anyone else is a Fool, and risks eternal ripping, pounding, squashing,
and drowning. So says me. So...when's the next bus out there
I believe that you're not right and that I'm not wrong, but (to be fair)
it could also be possible that I'm not absolutely incorrect and that
YOU'RE not necessarilly right. (Kidding aside, I actually think in quite
the opposite way of that. I'm prone more to listen to both sides of the
story, to weigh all the facts, and to withhold any judgement until all the
facts are in - regardless of how irritated others might get with me because
of that. When I discover that I am wrong, I'm usually the first to apologize
- even though others might think it unnecessary or a waste to do so.)
I believe that Carl Sagan was an alien, and that Albert Einstein was
secretly his father. Regardless, I was fascinated by both of them in
growing up. (I think I probably heard that in the movie Close Encounters
of the Third Kind.)
I believe that my cat, Stormy, is actually human. (There he is, again.)
I don't believe in haunted houses, ghosts, UFOs, Von Daniken,
Nastrodamus, psychics, or in Mary's face appearing in trees,
windows, walls, cloud formations, or church bell towers. I don't believe in
anchovies as a thing that should be eaten by any sane individual, or
in any of those nasty rumors being spread that Gene Roddenberry died
a few years ago.
I used to have a detailed family history online, but I've removed it for
because it started to seem like insurance companies and were using them more
than the legit genealogists, these days. There are too many weird people out
there. Here's a link to what still remains: Todd Sherman's
Genealogy Page. It inludes links to some family photo albums containing
photos of non-living people, books, old trinkets, and such-like.
Here are some of my really amateur astrophotography
attempts - including some pics of Comet 1996B2 Hyakutake, and of comet 1995-C-O1 Hale-Bopp! (This is really amateur stuff, okay?)