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Hello There

    I am Neal Pritchett, and these are my pages. I was born on the day after Sputnik, which was launched on October 4th, 1957. This was the first satellite ever launched into orbit, and all it could do was send a monotonous beep back to Earth. Today we navigate, communicate, entertain ourselves, and map out the best places to blow up our enemies, via a collection of satellites cluttering the Earth's orbit. I have lived all of my life in Milwaukee Wisconsinsuperficial me , the home of beer, Harley's, and Summerfest. This is also the home of Jeff Dahmer, Cryptosporidiam, and is one of the most segregated cities in the nation. It has also become one of the most dangerous.
     Unfortunately, most of the brewers have moved away or gone out of business, and Harley's are made in Pennsylvania now, though the engines are still made here. There has also been a loss of most of our traditional heavy industry (AOSmith, Allis Chalmers, Harnischfeger, and others). We have recently been rated as one of the ten worst (number 8) cities for freeway congestion. Our official motto is "A great place on a great lake" (they paid someone to write that). We actually have a wonderfully odd history and at one time this was a remarkable city. Sadly the city has grown dull and stunted, the residue of a great city after greatness has left it. Attempts are being made to revive it, but they may be too little, too late.
    The photo to the right is me when I was about forty, and living in an apartment on the East side of Milwaukee, in the heart of everything. I had just put this web site up. The picture was taken the day I put up this site, back in 1998. It has been in continuous operation since, making it a very old website indeed, and very much in need of a revamp. This had been a turning point in my life, and marked my beginnings as a computer tech and IT person. Behind my right shoulder you can see a typical LCD flat screen of the day - very high tech for the time. It was mounted to an Apple 2C computer.
     The picture below shows what twenty five years in IT, not to mention twenty five years as a webmaster will do to an otherwise normal healthy person. It was taken in 2022. I live in Pewaukee today, though I may be moving back into 'the city' soon. Hard to believe it's the same person. In many ways, I am not the same person at all. These pages help to remind me who I was,and who I have been over the years. God, what the years do to us. I am presently pursuing an additional degree/certification as a web designer. My love of IT, writing, and photography make this a natural choice. It also coincides with my plan to work as an independent contractor, offering networking, computer services, and web services.
    I am an A+ certified computer technician, and had worked several years for G.E. Medical systems, the producers of medical imaging devices like Cat scanners, and MRI machines. I had no direct part in the design and production of these cutting edge machines, but worked on maintaining, and upgrading the 100+ computer network, along with the mainframe and telecom connections. Before G.E. I worked as a production and phone support tech at Milwaukee PC. Previous to my certification I was a bartender and/or waiter for over twenty years, and did some work as a photographer and writer, before finally settling down and getting a "real" job. I have also done network and telecom cabling, and am certified as a Microsoft pre-installation specialist. Other certifications are coming, and I have also done some independent contracting. I have a degree in networking, as well as several technical diplomas.
    My father was a well known local musician (jazz guitarist George Pritchett), who taught guitar, made two record albums, and toured with the Buddy Rich band back in the seventies. He died from a variety of things related to his lifestyle, at the age of fifty six. Being older now, that my father lived to be, offers a strange perceptive. he put quite a few miles on his life, before he came to the end of the road.
    Though I try keep in the background here, I could not resist putting a couple of pictures of myself on this sight. The one below is a bit more revealing than the two above, perhaps too revealing. It was taken by an MRI machine, which is one of the products of G.E.Medical. Volunteers were needed for a series of test and calibration scans. There is no radiation danger from and MRI, as there is from a CT, but there is an intense magnetic field generated within the "bottle" of the machine. If there is any metal in your body from accidents or from medical procedures, you may not be able to get an MRI scan. The little metal bits holding the soles of my shoes on made it feel as if an invisible hand was grabbing them when I first entered the machine; interesting.
    I have also worked as a phone support tech, and in cash management for a company called Metavante. You may not have heard of Metavante, but almost certainly use it's services to one degree or another. The parent company of Metavante was the M&I Bank. Metavante is now part of FIS (Fidelity), and does electronic banking, bill pay, and electronic funds transfer for banks, companies, and individuals. It is an interesting company, though I had been hoping to be getting a more technical position, more in my field of expertise. In truth their are many technical positions there, and I did promise myself, and my boss, to give the place a year before looking for greener pastures. That promise was kept.
    One thing that I feel obligated to say is never use any bill pay service offered by any bank. There are some advantages, and sometimes it is nice to have a bill pay service in your corner when a payee claims that payment was never received. Still, I have seen it go wrong for too many people, and when it goes wrong, it really goes wrong. Metavante/FIS is buying up the customer base for most of the bill pay services. It owns a number of branded services, and provides the rebranded bill pay service for hundreds of banks. I did return to G.E. Healthcare, after having been a network tech for a couple of hospitals. Healthcare IT is a newly specialized field, and I am seeking certification in that area. Besides being interesting, hospitals pay crazy money.
innerself     Most of my favorite things (boats, guns, computers, cameras, radio gear) are listed on this site. What is not listed is my love of travel, flying, geology, chemistry,  astronomy, and just about every other branch of science. The world is full of wonderful fascinating things and it is unfortunate that we live long enough to be acquainted with so little of it. I am pretty conservative, believing in freedom and the related virtues of intelligence, responsibility, common sense, and self reliance which freedom makes necessary. This web site is a reflection of the fact that right now I have no life. If I ever do manage to get a life, this site will be updated less frequently.
     The gun collection shown on these pages was started by me about twenty five years ago when I returned to college. I had been a firearms enthusiast for years, had competed in amateur pistol leagues, and had become quite knowledgeable on the subject. Having gotten an FFL (Federal Firearms License) I had formed a plan by which I might make enough money selling guns at shows and out of my home so that I could devote most of my time to my studies. This plan never did work out. The Feds, who have been vilified lately by some of the gun press, were perfectly nice, and even friendly and helpful; the city was another matter. The city of Milwaukee has no gun shops within it's limits. The shops that sell in this area are all just outside of town, in the surrounding communities. I put up with an amazing amount of grief from these people, to the extent that I still have a bad taste in my mouth about our local government. The result of that whole mess was that the stock I had acquired to sell became a pretty nice personal collection which is shown on this site.
    By a stroke of luck, the assault rifles and high capacity pistols which I bought have risen tremendously in value, because of some of the laws which our trusting friends in the democratic party have passed to tell us what we may be trusted to own. If I did not already own these guns I could not afford to buy them at their current prices. My interest in computers dates way back to the mid seventies. I can still remember my first days at college, when we had time sharing computers with core memory. I also remember how exciting the first small(?) home computers were, and how little could actually be done on them. I have a whole closet full of old computer junk (boards, chips, drives, cards, etc.) which is useless, but which I have a hard time tossing out because it cost a fortune when I bought it. It is not easy to throw out a $700 drive, even if it does only hold 20mb (and besides, you never know when you might need one).
    My company will pay for my schooling, and it is about time I went back. I am also seeking to get a new MCSE, or whatever certifications Microsoft is offering these days. The last time I had something like this was for Windows 2000/XP. The certification process is expensive; but my company will pay the costs, as long as I do the work. My first enrollment at college occurred when I was 15, and required special permissions, testing, and still almost didn't happen. It was odd being that young in college, and I suspect it stunted my social development a bit (18 - 20 year old college girls do not date 15 year old college boys - believe me, I tried.). Now I am in my sixties, and re-entering college for the third time (I was also there in my early thirties, and once again in my mid forties). Instead of the oddball young guy, I will now be the oddball old guy. Oh, well. Being normal was never one of my strong suits. I have long since made peace with what I am, and long ago stopped desperately trying to be like everyone else. It's kind of nice being odd once you adapt. It also makes you appreciate normal people more than you did when you were trying to be one of them.
    I hope to be doing a massive rework of this site though this summer. I have thousands of photographs, and probably a dozen new pages I want to put up, including a couple of local air shows, and the last two Harley festivals. This site has been sadly neglected for the last few years, while I put my creative energies into a writing career to supplement my photography and my regular day job. There has also been far too much time wasted on Facebook, and commentary for the Milwaukee Journal. Well, at least I have not yet sunk to Twitter, which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Short attention span". I am happy to say that I now make a regular (but meager) living as a writer, to supplement the regular (but still meager) living I make as an IT tech. Well, school will help. I plan to live to be 100, and damned if I'm not going to do it.
                                                        Thank goodness for little computers