Last modified: 7 October 2020
My Skunk collection (9/12/07)
Newsletters and convention info (7/10/20)
Corflu 2004 DVD sample videos (18/7/11)
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
Science Fiction by John Martellaro
"Hour 25" science fiction radio show
I am of Japanese origin and was born shortly after the Second World War in the first wave of the Baby Boomers. I was born at my grandfather's clinic in a small town called Fukui; he was an ob-gyn. He died shortly after I was born. My family lived in Kyoto until 1956, when we immigrated to this country shortly after my father had received his DSc in physics from Kyoto University. Unlike most Japanese university students, my father passed his first entrance exam. He is therefore highly regarded by his classmates and other colleagues in his profession. My family is composed of my parents and one sister, who is three years my junior.
We moved to Rochester, New York, where my father had studied at the University of Rochester under a Fulbright scholarship. We lived there for three years, during which time my father held a postdoctoral position at the University. We moved to Massachusetts when my father changed to a position in industry and lived there for five years. Then we moved back to the Rochester area when my father signed on as a researcher at the Xerox Corporation.
I graduated from high school in Pittsford, New York, and went to college at Carleton College. During junior year, I studied abroad at Lancaster University in England. I took a graduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Library and Information Science. I started my working career at Xerox. In 1982, I was subject to layoff when the company went through the first of its many restructurings. My father protested highly and consequently obtained a transfer to the West Coast.
I was still looking for work when we moved in February 1983 to Atherton, California, in the peninsula south of San Francisco. Later that year, I accepted a job in Los Angeles and moved to Downey, a community in southern Los Angeles. I subsequently changed jobs about a year later to work for Hughes Aircraft and moved to West Los Angeles, which is a district in the City of Los Angeles. I moved again a year later when I bought a condo about two miles away from my apartment. About that time, I acquired a long-hair tabby cat, Christopher Robin, who lived with me until he passed away from lymphoma in late May of 2000.
In 1992, I was again subject to layoff when Hughes started downsizing in a serious way. Ironically, that occurred at the time of the infamous LA riot. I was out of work for almost two years and despaired of being able to continue living in Los Angeles, the only place I have ever lived that felt like home. Fortunately, I regained employment, this time with the City of Los Angeles shortly after the Northridge quake. In fact, it was because of the quake that the opening existed. I supported a database that had been created to track the aftermath of the quake.
In late 1994, I met my white knight through a nationwide singles group called the Science Connection. Mike Weasner was a closet science fiction fan who had heretofore not been introduced to fandom. Professionally, he was a computer expert at TRW and was later promoted to a management position.
In May 1995, I interviewed with the Polk Company in Long Beach. I had not expected much but ended up being very impressed by the company. Polk is privately owned,was 127 years old, and is in the business of selling information mostly for marketing purposes. I changed jobs in July of 1995. My duties were similar to those I had in the City.
In late 1998, we adopted a rescued feral kitten named Fluffy. He is all black except for a few white hairs and dark grey patches that you can see if get up very close. He has grown to be a large cat.
In March 1999, I was forced to stop working because of medical problems. After two years, an article sent to me by a friend gave my doctors and me a clue to fixing part of the problem. It was determined that I had hypothyroidism. A couple of months after I started taking thyroid supplements, my fatigue went away.
One activity I started after I stopped working at a regular job was selling Avon products in the neighbourhood. I did it more as an incentive to get out and walk than to make money. It takes a humongous customer base to make any profit and I eventually stopped doing it.
In mid-June 2000, we adopted another kitten. This was also feral but was captured right at birth, so it does not have any feral characteristics. He is mostly white with some dark grey spots; notably, his tail is almost black, and he has dark grey around his eyes. We have named him Mercury. His birthday is officially on record as 26 April 2000. Here are pictures of the cats.
Shadow came to us in fall of 2001. He was a grown cat, and his previous owners were unable to keep him. Unfortunately he became ill a few years later with cancer, and we lost him just after Christmas in 2005.
The following year, I noticed something in my reading that made me think that at least some of my health problems might be related to a problem digesting gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains; the ones in wheat, barley, and rye are specifically found to be a problem for some people. After a negative lab test, I went ahead and tried a gluten-free diet. A few months later I tested negative for fibromyalgia. After less than a year, all my symptoms cleared up. As of summer 2008, I seem to have as much energy as I did before I had my physical breakdown.
In September 2004 we purchased some land in Oracle, AZ, northeast of Tucson, where we hope to build our retirement house. We retired in summer 2007. In December we moved to Arizona and rented a house to live in while we build our new retirement home. We sold our California house in March of 2008 and started planning our new house. Building activity started in September 2008. We moved into our house in June of 2009. The house was not completely done, and most of the remaining touches were completed in the next few months. Our Road to Oracle blog documents all the activities. Unfortunately there were a few issues not taken care of. Time passed, and many of the subcontractors went out of business. Eventually we had to hire new people to complete the last few bits in late 2013 and early 2014. Anything after that is just normal maintenance.
I've planted a few fruit trees; four of them are doing well--the apple, peach, and two loquats. I've also planted a few cacti, but I lost several to severe winter weather; I'm now more careful to ask about cold hardiness. We put in a few paver stones as a simple pathway on the west side of the house. About two years after we moved in, I joined a local church choir. Singing has always been one of my passions, but sometimes it's been on hold.
Mike and I try to stay socially and culturally active, such as by attending plays. We are still members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, but of course we now live too far away to attend meetings. We travel occasionally to conventions, usually a couple each year.