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Packy & Ronbo make a House Call


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35 replies to this topic

#1 of 36 RAF

RAF

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Posted August 26 2001 - 04:28 PM

(I don't know exactly where to place this post, so this section is probably as good as any....)

Parker was in town for the ScooterFest 2001 this weekend so I was able to get him and some other fellow to come for a visit. I'll let them tell you what they thought.

Posted Image

Here's Exhibit A:

Posted Image


------------------
RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]

My HT (latest update 02/05/01)


RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]
CLICK HERE to visit My HT HTF Rules and Regulations

#2 of 36 Robert Crawford

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Posted August 26 2001 - 07:36 PM

RAF,
Is that a beard on your face? Cool!


Crawdaddy

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#3 of 36 Michael Lee

Michael Lee

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Posted August 27 2001 - 12:37 AM

That would be some serious testosterone levels. I just saw RAF on Saturday and he was very clean-shaven.

------------------
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#4 of 36 RAF

RAF

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Posted August 27 2001 - 02:42 AM

Ouch! No, Crawdaddy, I'm not becoming "Crawdaddy II"

My "appearance" is the result of uploading a very low resolution picture to this site. I inadvertently chose the incorrect menu option in Adobe Photoshop. I was rushing late last night to get the image posted. Now that I have HDTV capability in the HT my VW10HT is rocking like it never did before and I'm trying to do too much at once to fit everything in. Who said retirement offers the luxury of time Posted Image

I've corrected the picture now and it should be a little clearer. (Not that it makes us look any better.)

Posted Image

And Michael, you are correct. There wasn't anything special in Scooter's popcorn and the moon wasn't full, so I didn't pull a "Larry Talbot" ala Lon Chaney Jr. In the Words of Maria Ouspenskaya ....

Quote:
Don't go out in the full moon, Larry!"

Posted Image

Enjoy!

------------------
RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]

My HT (latest update 02/05/01)


RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]
CLICK HERE to visit My HT HTF Rules and Regulations

#5 of 36 Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 27 2001 - 05:53 AM

It has been a very long weekend, but certainly
one of the most enjoyable weekends I have had
all year.

My partner and friend, Parker Clack, was in
town. It was his first trip to New Jersey and
New York, and I think that we managed to show
him an exceptional time.

In addition to ScOoTeRpAlOoZa 2K1, I had
the honor of being invited to Robert Fowkes'
home, just outside of legendery Sleepy Hollow, NY.
(Yes, Sleep Hollow is a bit creepy to drive through).

Although I met his wife Therese the day before,
it was really nice to see her again. She is a
very intelligent, kind and personable woman. What
she is doing with a guy like RAF, I will never know! Posted Image

RAF and his wife share a beautiful home that has
recently been renovated with an addition. It is
stunning to see how beautiful the inside of their
home is and the detailed work they have put in their
living room and kitchen.

Of course, the highlight came when we went
downstairs into the RAF theater.

The first thing you notice is the beautiful
velvet drapes that hang behind his screen, giving
the room a very authentic "theater" feel. On the
floor sits a few rows of theatrical chairs with
one row coming directly out of the old Radio City
Music Hall.

Since I am now considering purchsing my first
anamorphic widescreen television by year's end,
I am torn between rear-view and front projection.
It was great to finally sit down and watch some
demo product being thrown through RAF's SONY
projection (RAF will note the model number).

First up was a HI-DEF demonstration directly
from satellite (Dish network). I was amazed
at the clarity of the picture. Although I had
certainly seen HI-DEF on Mike Knapp's Mitsubishi
rear view set, I was impressed that it looked
equally as good through RAF's projection system.

Next up was a look at the opening sequence
from TOY STORY 2. This blew me away!
The DVD looked like film. Even more impressive
was the amount of BLACK LEVEL in the picture --
something which has been argued that this
particular front projector lacks. Anyone that
thinks this unit lacks the ability to properly
reproduce black levels has no idea what they are
talking about.

We also had the opportunity to listen to
some SACD demonstrations. Anyone that has not
had the chance to listen to SACD, ought to.
This is raw, uncompressed music. You can hear
every breathe and lip movement of the singer.
Even SACD recordings from the 50's sound as fresh
as recordings today.

The detail that RAF has put into his home
theater truly reflects the sort of man he is --
someone that truly has a passion for film and
not only the way it is presented, but the
environment it is presented in.

To top things off, we all enjoyed Chef RAF's
cheeseburgers and wine. It was a beautiful day,
and we all hope to return again soon.

Thank You!

------------------
Posted Image

Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
Circa 2000
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#6 of 36 Steve Hauben

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Posted August 27 2001 - 06:08 AM

What are the things (stickers ?) on the bottom of the DVDs?


-Steve
-Steve

#7 of 36 Parker Clack

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Posted August 27 2001 - 07:48 AM

I just walked in the door about 15 minutes ago but I wanted to step in here with my two cents on the RAF HT.

I have known Robert A. Fowkes for about 9 years now. I remember when Robert and I were about the only two on the discussion boards that had Beta machines. We have talked together in email and in person but I always wanted to take the time and see his HT.

First of all, as Ron outlined above, RAF and Mrs. RAF have remodeled their home to perfection. You are put at instant ease as you enter the front door into their living room. Wonderful detail and craftmanship are present through out.

Second is a HT to only dream about. Well laid out in a room that passes the Mike Knapp "clap test" is room that has it all. Plenty of gadgets to play with, remotes that control remotes, racks of top notch equipment, thousands of DVDs and LDs and at the back of the room two computers. If you didn't know better you would think that you just entered into a DVD processing center at Sony or something.

I need to make two points here. 1)The Sony 10HT has a problem with blacks. It can reproduce them just without a hitch. The black levels are spot on. 2)The M&K speakers across the front stage have a problem with music. They make it shine with absolute clarity. They also have a problem with movies. I can hear what is going on with the dialogue and sound effects without anything added.

The only other thing that I really wanted to say here is that I guarantee that if we all had this for a HT we would never go to the movies at the local theaters again.

This is a room that is as well suited for the concert hall performance with voices spoken in whispers and the keys of the clarinet heard when pressed to the wide dynamics of Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" in Fantasia 2000.

Going to see the RAF HT is something that I wished that I would be able to do. Fortunately for me I was able to do so.
I cannot thank Ron enough for inviting me to New Jersey in the first place. Getting to be able to top it off with a visit to this HT of HT was the icing on the cake. It made this trip all the sweeter.

Parker

"I tried to get my medical records from the company but they say they

are confidential and can only be released to other insurance companies,

pharmaceutical​ reps, suppliers of medical equipment and for some

reason the RNC."
 


#8 of 36 RAF

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Posted August 27 2001 - 01:53 PM

quote:
(sniff) They like me. They really like me.
-Sally Fields[/quote]

Posted Image

Seriously,

Ron and Parker,

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the visit. It was my pleasure. As I told you in person, it's one thing when I watch the expression on the faces of friends and family as they see my "playroom" and all the "wonderous things" (with apologies to Nicholson's Joker). But it's quite another when people who structure their lives around Home Theater and all its aspects make positive comments about their visit to my little world. It validates all I have done and is greatly appreciated.

There have been times when I have made statements about this or that piece of equipment (especially my SONY projector which is, if you don't know, a VW10HT) and have been taken to task for making statements that couldn't possibly be true. I've been accused of praising something because I own it, or because I have some hidden agenda, or for some other ridiculous reason from time to time. Yes, we all tend to defend our purchasing decisions (this is human nature) but I like to speak my mind. If something is good, I'll say so. If not, I'll also say so. But in all cases (at least as far as I am aware) I base my remarks on my own personal experiences and not on hearsay. If I quote a third person I like to name the source and I make this clear.

Some of you possibly followed the threads that abounded on several forums when the SONY VW10HT was introduced. I actually purchased this projector without ever having seen it from a mail order source in North Carolina whom I had never done business with. Even though that was a shot in the dark it wasn't quite as crazy as it first appears. For one thing, I had heard many good things about the dealer (MVS, if you're interested) from forums like this one and, secondly, they had a liberal return policy if the equipment didn't live up to the hype. Also, when I designed the HT I made provision for the possibility of a CRT or other projector, which required some separate power and wiring access positioning (easy to do before the walls and ceilings go up). In other words, I tried to build as much flexibility as possible into my project.

When the projector arrived and became the crown jewel of my HT its performance literally blew me away and I so stated on various Internet venues. And boy, did the merde hit the cooling fan on that one! Some people said the VW10HT was "virtually unwatchable" (usually basing their opinions on rumor and/or looking at the projector improperly set up - very often at the so-called "high end a/v salon") and when I disagreed I was told I was lying or a shill for the manufacturer or even worse. This didn't bother me as much as it did some other people since I am one to believe my eyes, and not rely on others to tell me what I should like and not like. And that's why it was such a pleasure to be able to finally show Ron and Parker what I have always been talking about. This myth about the VW10HT lacking "black level" or exhibiting a "screen door" effect, or any other nonsense is just that. Ron and Packy's words speak for themselves. We can't all be hallucinating!

(Side bar: Interestingly, the owner of one of our fellow forums - a site that often produced the most vociferous disagreement with my assessment of my projector - finally purchased a VW10HT and he then started to sing its praises like I had been. All of the grumbing suddenly disappeared!)
Posted Image

(Side bar #2: The "black level issue" always amuses me for a couple of reasons. For one thing it is NOT a problem on a properly set up VW10HT. For another thing, we could also talk about the "white level" on the Sony which is excellent and perceived "blackness" is the result of the difference between the two. And finally, when we look at an actual film in a theater it is not true that the film has absolute black like a CRT, so which projector is being more faithful to a theater-like experience?)

In a nutshell, Ron and Parker saw the results of a properly adjusted projector and, with this model, once adjusted there is no drift or convergence problems. Set it and forget it.

And audio? My HT contains M&K speakers all around (and an SVS 16-46PC sub-woofer - serial #00001, in fact to handle the very lowest end). The M&K's have a reputation in some quarters of not being musical. I've respectfully disagreed with that position, based on what I've heard. Ron and Packy heard for themselves, as their notes indicate. (Incidentally, the SACD 2 channel track I demoed was "Moon River" by Jacintha - you've got to hear this to believe it! And a bit of Dave Brubeck's Time Out SACD. Unreal for a recording that originated in the middle of the last century! And Parker hit the nail on the head when he mentioned that dialogue is crisp and distinct on the M&K's and punches right through any musical background in a movie.

And SVS? What can I add to what many, many others already know. You don't hear an SVS - you experience it. ANTZ, The Haunting, Fantasia 2000. Who needs bass shakers? Posted Image

Well, I've rambled enough. A few more loose ends to attend to:

quote:
What are the things (stickers ?) on the bottom of the DVDs?[/quote]

Steve,

Those are Avery labels (80 per page return address labels) that I use to number my DVDs. I've found that the best way to arrange my discs is in order of purchase, with DVD Profiler taking care of all categorization and location. It doesn't make sense to try to arrange things alphabetically or by genre, etc. I'd be a full time librarian if I did that! I'm rapidly approaching 4000 total discs (LDs and DVD's - remember there are many multiple disc titles) representing about 3400 titles so I have to streamline things as much as possible. (Actually, I "cheat" a bit with some sets that I collect over time. Specifically, the 43 Twilight Zone Titles and the (on-going) 40 DVD Original Star Trek series. In that case, I renumber DVDs that are in the way of the additional members of the series, adjusting the DVD # in DVD Profiler and replacing the label.)

The Mike Knapp "clap test"
No, that's not what you might think.
Posted Image

Actually, when we were in L.A. touring the various sound studios and screening rooms on one of the HTF trips, every time we entered a new one Mike would go to the center of the room and clap his hands once very loudly. If the sound stopped dead in its tracks he smiled. If it reverberated, he frowned. Echoes help to distort the sound coming from the speakers. A "dead" room lets you hear exactly what the speakers are reproducing - no more, no less. While I'd like to take the credit for "designing" this feature into my HT it actually was something I stumbled across. I had purchased a thick velvet drape for the front of the room for two reasons.
[*] I wanted to block out the light from the three large windows that are in the front (I'm required by code in my area to have a certain square footage of window space for a given room size and I wanted total control over the ambient light so I went with thick blackout curtains.)
[*] Since I needed curtains anyway I wanted the burgundy velvet to bring back my misspent (?) youth at the Park Hill Theater in Yonkers, NY every Saturday morning. Ron already commented on the visual effect.

What I didn't figure on, and which turned out to be a tremendous side (front?) effect was the sound deadening property of a heavy velvet drape. The fact that it is behind the front soundstage also works wonders for the audio characteristics of the room.

But enough for now. I'd like to conclude with one more point that ties the whole room together (with apologies to The Big Lebowski).

More than a few years ago Ron Epstein and Parker Clack had a dream to create a forum where people could congregate and share ideas and dreams regarding all aspects of the Home Theater Experience. When I was given the opportunity to devote some space in a new addition to creating such an environment for myself I was uncertain about many aspects of the project. The many fine people who frequented this forum were an invaluable source of information, inspiration and encourgaement as I charted the course through uncertain waters. Ron and Parker brought this all together and it was only fitting that I brought them together to see what kind of things are possible because of their efforts.

They thanked me for showing them my HT. I must remind them that what they saw and experienced was because of them so I really should be thanking them on behalf of all of us who have been able to create, or who are creating, or hope one day to create our own little corner of the theatrical world in our residences, or, as the title says, our own Home Theater.

Posted Image Posted Image

------------------
RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]

My HT (latest update 02/05/01)


RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]
CLICK HERE to visit My HT HTF Rules and Regulations

#9 of 36 Scott-C

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Posted August 27 2001 - 03:24 PM

RAF,

Your setup seems to be very impressive! I've visited your site quite a few times to read (and in some cases re-read) about your experiences in building the theater, as well as get your impressions of the Sony projector. From a price/quality perspective, this seems like a great product! Do you have it hooked up to an HTPC, or a regular DVD player?

Also, what is "DVD Profiler"? I assume it's some sort of PC-based media categorization program but I've never heard of it. With the software collection you have, I can understand why you'd want something like that.

Last question: do you ever leave your home theater? If it were mine, I'd move into it!

I plan on building a dedicated home theater some day in the near future and certainly do appreciate all the insight and advice I've picked up in a relatively short time at HTF. I'm pretty much a newcomer here and relatively inexperienced in HT when compared to many of the members, but I'm quickly becoming an HT addict!


------------------
Scott



#10 of 36 Jon_B

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Posted August 27 2001 - 08:11 PM

Thanks for sharing. It's always great to see a home theater like yours. It keeps me humble and at the same time gives me something to strive for. I've been doing a lot of research on the Sony vw10ht, positive reviews/experiences such as yours are good to hear.

Once again thanks for sharing.

Jon
I'm Back Online

#11 of 36 RAF

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Posted August 28 2001 - 07:45 AM

quote:
Do you have it (the VW10HT) hooked up to an HTPC, or a regular DVD player?[/quote]

Scott,

A "regular" DVD player, actually two of them. Currently I'm using a Sony 9000ES SACD/Progressive Scan player and a Panasonic RP91 Progressive scan player. I've toyed with the idea of using an HTPC (in fact one of the two computers in the room is fully capable of this) but I just haven't had the time nor the inclination. The picture produced by my two players is so satisfying at this point I see no need to enter the world of HTPC and all the tweaking involved. Please don't think I'm bad mouthing HTPC's. They can produce great results. I just didn't choose to go that route at this point. Other sources into the projector are an LD player via the composite (yes, you read that right!) input, a Dish 6000 HDTV receiver via the second component input set and S-Video linked to all video sources through my Denon 5700. I tried both S-Video and Composite input for the LD and, since the VW10HT has one of the finest 3D Comb Filters available, chose to let the projector process the composite image directly from the LD. It's noticeably better than using the S-Video from my Pioneer 3080 player (the good one, not the 3090).

quote:
Also, what is "DVD Profiler"? [/quote] You guessed correctly. It is a remarkable piece of shareware that many of us here use to track our DVD collections. It's keyed to a database on the Internet and can even use the CueCat bar code reader for data entry. I catalogued over 1000 DVD's in one sitting when I first licensed this product.

Check it out at:


http://dvdprofiler.com


If you have a sizeable DVD collection it's a tremendous aid. I've checked quite a few and I like this one the best.


quote:
Last question: do you ever leave your home theater? [/quote]

Well, I didn't build a Water Closet in it so sometimes nature calls!

Posted Image

Seriously, yes, I do have a life (and some sweet grandchildren) so there is life after HT. That's probably why I have such a backlog of unwatched titles (probably over 1/4 of the collection). But I'm working on it.


Keep those cards and letters coming, gang.

------------------
RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]

My HT (latest update 02/05/01)


RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]
CLICK HERE to visit My HT HTF Rules and Regulations

#12 of 36 James D S

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Posted August 28 2001 - 08:54 AM

Thanks for sharing Ron, Parker, and RAF.

It must be great when old friends finally meet face to face for the first time in a setting like the RAF HT. You lucky devils!



#13 of 36 Gary Rhine

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Posted August 28 2001 - 10:58 AM

A front projection CRT can not be beaten but this is very nice indeed.

------------------
Gary J. Rhine
My Home Theater
Gary J. Rhine
My Home Theater

#14 of 36 Parker Clack

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Posted August 28 2001 - 03:41 PM

Gary:

Quote:
A front projection CRT can not be beaten but this is very nice indeed.

This is of course your opinion. And it all depends on the CRT based FPTV that you are comparing this too. I had a CRT front projection system (and yes it was calibrated to the max and have several friends that have FPTV set ups) and in my opinion this LCD projector is as good as and better than my own CRT based FPTV and many of the FPTV set ups I have seen.

Parker

"I tried to get my medical records from the company but they say they

are confidential and can only be released to other insurance companies,

pharmaceutical​ reps, suppliers of medical equipment and for some

reason the RNC."
 


#15 of 36 James D S

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Posted August 28 2001 - 04:25 PM

I forgot to mention:

Isn't it funny when you read so much from a person that you start to develop what you think that person looks like and then you see a picture of them... and you realize you had nothing right. Posted Image

quote:
A front projection CRT can not be beaten...[/quote]
Do you think this is the best thread to be airing that opinion? Come on, a little tact please...


[Edited last by James D S on August 28, 2001 at 11:27 PM]

#16 of 36 John-D

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Posted August 28 2001 - 04:50 PM

Quote:
Isn't it funny when you read so much from a person that you start to develop what you think that person looks like ...

My thoughts exactly!! well Ronald has his pic in his signature so it wasn't a big surprise.. and I think Robert more or less fits the 'profile' .. but Parker I had all wrong up there.. Posted Image

And u're right again James; Robert has a very impressive setup and it is best if the CRT vs yadda yadda debate is not started. As I would want to hear more often, it's not how 'big' it is.. it's how you use it Posted Image

------------------
The things we own end up owning us


The things we own, end up owning us

#17 of 36 RAF

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Posted August 28 2001 - 07:16 PM

Quote:
A front projection CRT can not be beaten but this is very nice indeed.

Like others have mentioned, such generalizations are a gross oversimplification and the purpose of this thread was not to re-open the CRT vs. other projection format debate. There's a separate section on this forum where this would be more appropriate.

However, as I stated in some earlier remarks (and what was seconded by Ron and Parker's observations) each projector type has it's own advantages that must be taken into consideration if you want to determine which one is better for your own needs. Yes, the black level of a CRT can be better than an LCD (and actually better than real film, as I stated) but my point was that the black level on the VW10HT can duplicate the theater experience for all practical purposes. But the CRT weighs about 10 times as much, is far more tempermental, does not have as uniform color or as much brightness from edge to edge of the picture,etc. etc.

The very best CRT's are very nice, but they are also very expensive and cost time and money to maintain. Unless you have money to burn this must be factored into the equation. The best example I can cite is that one person who reviewed the VW10HT (Bill Cushman of The Perfect Vision) actually had a $35,000 CRT on order before he saw the (then) $5500 Sony. After the review he cancelled the order for the CRT and purchased the LCD.

------------------
RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]

My HT (latest update 02/05/01)


RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]
CLICK HERE to visit My HT HTF Rules and Regulations

#18 of 36 RAF

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Posted August 28 2001 - 07:36 PM

Quote:
It must be great when old friends finally meet face to face for the first time...

James,

Actually we have all been together at several L.A. HTF events over the past few years but it was great getting together like this on an informal basis. (And thanks for your support).


Quote:
Ronald has his pic in his signature so it wasn't a big surprise.. and I think Robert more or less fits the 'profile' .. but Parker I had all wrong up there

John,

I just realized that I didn't label the picture in the original posting so I assume you understand that I'm the handsome devil standing in the middle (with the Roswell, NM 50th anniversary UFO t-shirt on). I hope your remarks still apply!
Posted Image

And thanks to everyone for the kind words. I agree that the yadda, yadda, yadda stuff belongs elsewhere because no one is going to convince anyone else of anything since actions speak louder than words. And that gets us back to the main focus of this thread - Ron and Parker saw for themselves what I have been telling them for years.

I have to laugh when people tell me that there are some movies that have to be seen in a theater to be appreciated. This opens another whole debate about real ("reel?") film vs. DVD, etc. Also for another section of the HTF. The only advantage for me that a theater has over my HT (in my opinion) is that you have to wait a bit before the movies show up at home. But I can wait. I've got enough titles already in the "to view" queue.

Posted Image

------------------
RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]

My HT (latest update 02/05/01)


RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]
CLICK HERE to visit My HT HTF Rules and Regulations

#19 of 36 RAF

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Posted August 28 2001 - 07:42 PM

Quote:
Once again thanks for sharing.

Jon_B,

You're welcome! BTW, where in Montana are you located? I taught Chemistry and Nuclear Instrumentation for 5 years during the summer in the mid '70's at MSU in Bozeman, MT.

------------------
RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]

My HT (latest update 02/05/01)


RAF
[Demented Video Dude since 1997]
[Computer Maven since 1956]
["PITA" since 1942]
CLICK HERE to visit My HT HTF Rules and Regulations

#20 of 36 Robert Crawford

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Posted August 28 2001 - 07:51 PM

RAF,
It's 3:42 a.m. ET and my question is what is a retired person doing up at this hour of the morning???????? Posted Image Us work drones have to but retirees can sleep in......


Crawdaddy

------------------

Crawdaddy

 

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