I soon found myself in the middle of 7th grade junior high in Los Angeles, 1966. Being a lame-o from the midwest, this was not a good thing. Southern California was like another planet to me (still is to some people) and I was a fish out of water for about two and a half years. At the beginning of my sophomore year in high school (three school districts later) I hooked up with some guys from school and became part of my first clique. As it happened, these guys turned out to be the 'wrong element' and I continued to find new and improved ways of getting into all kinds of trouble. During the remainder of high school I played bass guitar in a couple garage bands, experimented with just about all the 'recreational pharmaceuticals' available at the time (hey, it was the 60s!) and got into even more trouble. After high school I continued to play in unsuccessful rock groups while working now and then at various jobs. Even though I still got in some trouble, it seemed to be tapering off. Eventually I lost interest in drugs as well.
In the spring of 1976 I joined the Navy after having been talked into 'doing something' with my life by a guy that owned the flower shop where I worked. For some reason he had taken an interest in my future, or apparent lack thereof. The Navy recruiter talked a pretty good schpiel and got me to sign a six year contract in their advanced electronics field. After the initial six, I gave them four more in exchange for a tour of shore duty in Spain. To discuss Spain here would require an enormous amount of time and certainly more server space than I would ever expect anyone to donate, so I'll just say it was the most fun I ever had and will remember it for the rest of my life. I was also stationed in Memphis, San Diego, Seattle, Philadelphia and Jacksonville. By the time it was all over I managed to get through ten years of military service, ending up with enough knowledge of electronics to be dangerous and an honorable discharge.