I was born in 1969 and grew up on the family farm northwest of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA. The nearest town of 400 was 15 km away so dark skies were at a premium. I attended high school and graduated with a group of 12 (3 were exchange students from Europe). I continued my schooling by enrolling at the University of Saskatchewan. After my 3rd year, I took a break from university and played bass guitar for a couple of country bands. After a year, I went back to university and graduated with a degree in Physics. After that, I continued my schooling at SIAST Palliser Campus in Moose Jaw. After three years I completed my diploma in Computer Engineering Technology and got my first job a month later.
In March of 1998, I married my loving wife Jennifer. It all started when I brought her a bag of fresh garden peas from the farm. Who'd have thought a bag of peas would bring us together in a life full of friendship and love! She is the wind in my sails and the one I look forward to growing old with. Together we have been blessed with three wonderful daughters. Feel free to check out their web pages, too.
My parents were always good about introducing us to neat things when we were small. Growing up on the farm, every young boy likes to collect rocks. I got interested in lapidary when I was in my early teens but could never afford anything more than my rock polisher. I also took a liking to astronomy very early in life. My mom used to read me a story called "You Will Go to the Moon" by Mae and Ira Freeman. It surprises me to go back this book and read through the story I read so many times when I was a youngster. My dad really enjoyed photography and passed it on to me. I hope you enjoy some of my photographs in the picture gallery!
My interest in astronomy grew as we took the planets and constellations in school. The next book that I read over and over again was put out by the National Geographic called "Our Universe". It was written by Roy A. Gallant. My copy is falling apart because I used to read it every day on the way to school and back. I had all the planetary statistics memorized and could recite them at any time. My mom and dad noticed my interest in astronomy and when I was 12 years old, they bought me my first telescope. A 4.25" Reflector which I still own today. I've since bought new parts for it and may some day mount it on my 20" as a finderscope.
I followed astronomy
through high school and looked at pursuing a career in
astronomy after graduating. At the time, there were
only four universities in Canada that had undergraduate
astronomy programs. I decided that I didn't want to
move half way across the country so I did the next best
thing and enrolled in the Physics program at the
University of Saskatchewan. While there, I took both
astronomy courses and helped teach the first year
astronomy labs for Stan Shadick. After graduating, I
pursued my interest in computers. During this time,
my astronomy hobby waned and it wasn't until the fall of
1999 that my interest in astronomy was rekindled. My
friend and co-worker, Don Moreau, was interested in buying
a telescope and asked me for some advice. He ended
up purchasing an Orion SkyQuest 8" Dobsonian. I dug
my old 4.25" reflector out of the closet and decided that
it just wouldn't do. I started looking at telescopes
and was pretty impressed with the 12" Meade LX-200.
However, I found the website for Obsession Telescopes and
was also very impressed. After some contemplation, I
decided that without all the expensive gadgets, the Meade
was only 12" in size and that was not big enough to see
what I wanted. My heart turned towards the 20"
Obsession and I'm so happy I didn't get something
smaller. The scope is truly amazing! Feel free
to read the comments on Dave Kriege's website
The 20" Obsession is an
amazing instrument but I found I was going after mostly
deep-sky objects with it. I got spoiled by the dark
skies around new moon and found that my telescope was
rarely used during nights with the moon up. I
thought that this was kind of sad and started to look for
things to observe while the moon is out. My friend,
Rick Huziak, got met started on measuring variable
stars. At first, it was a bit challenging but
because I as able to submit my observations and plot them
along side everyone else's observations, I was able to
learn how my eyes and telescope performed. I was
hooked! Shortly afterward, I joined the American
Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). This
really opened up the opportunity for me to use my
telescope a lot more. One year, I had my telescope
out observing for 100 nights! It was fascinating to
track faint variable stars because there are very few
observers in the AAVSO with large telescopes.
My faintest measurement with the 20" Obsession was
magnitude 17.2. I enjoyed variable star observing a
lot and decided to dig in deeper. A couple years
later, I bought a 12" Meade LX-200 (go figure) and set it
up in my backyard to start measuring variable stars using
a CCD camera. What fun this was! I spent many
hours learning about and measuring the stars and it is
something I still enjoy today.
After finishing my
schooling, I got my first job working for a company called
Software 2000, Inc. Our company did extremely well
and after about 2 years, it was bought out by a larger
company called SHL Systemhouse, Ltd. Shortly after
that, MCI purchased SHL and during the merger of MCI and
Worldcom, it was sold to a company called EDS. EDS
was then bought out by Hewlitt Packard which is who I
currently work for.