Santa Cruz lies on the northern tip of the Monterey bay. Monterey itself, on the southern tip, was the seat of government in Spanish and Mexican times, and Santa Cruz is the site of one of the 21 California missions the Spanish founded in the late 1700s. Around the turn of the 20th century, there was an influx of Italian and Portuguese immigrants, working the fields and fishing from the bay and the Pacific. There's still a lot of agriculture here, and Watsonville is known for its strawberries, while Castroville calls itself the artichoke center of the world.
Before Santa Cruz, we lived in Bellevue and Kirkland, Washington. They are in the eastern suburbs of Seattle. We lived in Washington for 9 years. We're both natives of Southern California. Heather hails from Riverside, and I grew up in Van Nuys. We owned houses in Sepulveda and Northridge, in, like, The Valley, dude. (That would be the San Fernando Valley, just to be clear.)
I am semi-retired, though I still do consulting -- mostly websites. I am a computer programmer and designer by trade. I have a BS in Computer Science from CSUN, and I've worked for Honeywell, Raytheon Data Systems, Interactive Systems and Microsoft Corp. I've done all sorts of systems programming: C and Fortran compilers and their runtimes, system performance testing and tuning, kernel programming for Unix systems, Windows networking, and more. I have two patents on Microsoft's plug and play networking, which was my design.
In the late 80s and through the 90s I was very interested in brewing beer at home, and especially in trying to match (or exceed!) beer styles from around the world. I've been published in magazines like Zymurgy and Brewing Techniques, and I am the author of a monograph on the Bock beer styles. I worked my way up to Master level as a beer judge in the Beer Judge Certification Program. I also wrote and sold a computer program for the Apple Macintosh for recording and analyzing batches of homebrewed beers.
I have long been a motorcyclist. I bought my first new bike, a BMW R65, in 1981. Since then I have racked up over half a million miles of touring, communting, and sport biking on beemers. I've got 7 of them right now, with one stored in Karlsruhe, Germany for summer travels in Europe. I have travelled extensively around the west coast and southwest US, I've been to Europe many times (including our honeymoon in Germany, in 1983), and also to New Zealand.
Several of my current bikes are vintage BMWs, and I founded and run the slash2 mailing list and web site on Yahoo! Groups for discussion of vintage beemers.
I am also a member of a number of BMW bike related clubs (check my links section), and am the webmaster for the Vintage BMW Motorcycle Owners club.