<Picture of Marnix, his wife, and their dogs Linus and Java>
From left to right that's me (Marnix van Ammers), my wife, and our two dogs, Linus and Java.
That picture is from 2003 in what we consider our 2-Sheltie era. The smaller dog, "Java", died in November of 2012 after a sudden and serious bout of pancreatitis. Linus (named after Linus Torvalds) died in February 2016 at age 14 after developing a cancerous tumor on his left hip. We were big Sheltie fans. They were like our kids and we fussed about them constantly.

In May, 2018 we aquired a 6-year-old female Sheltie named "Natty". After 2 years of not having a dog, Natty was a delight. Unfortunately she was with us for only 4 years due to liver disease at age 10. We lost her just prior to Thanksgiving, 2022. We were heartbroken. We miss her so.

<Picture of Natty, a female Sheltie>
About me:
I was born in Holland. I came to the U.S. with my brother, father and mother when I was almost 10 years old. I enjoyed ham radio as a teenager. I did not do well in school, except for playing the French Horn which I apparently did well enough to win some scholarships, including one to USC. I was not happy at USC, though that was not necessarily due to the school as much as to my disposition at the time. I dropped out before completing 2 years at USC. The only thing I did well at USC was the band and astronomy. After I dropped out, I found a job at Pacific Telephone as a messenger. A year later I was promoted to frameman and learned to wire telephone cable pairs to equipment at the Normandy Central Office in Los Angeles. A year later, about to be drafted, I volunteered for 4 years in the army with a guaranteed tour in Europe.
The army trained me to become a Hawk Guidance Missile repairman and gave me a 6 month training course in Huntsville Alabama where I was top in my class. After this training I was sent to Ansbach, Germany to maintain Hawk Guidance missle packages from missle bases around Germany. After a year of that, I successfully auditioned for the 30th Army band in Kaiserslautern. The rest of my military career was relatively nice since the band did a lot of travelling, much of it to beer fests in Germany. We also went to Switzerland, France, Holland, Luxembourg, and Belgium.
I got out of the service in 1970 and went back to work at Pacific Telephone where they made me a Step By Step switchman, trouble shooting and repairing electromechanical switches. In 1973 I took and passed a test to get into the then new field of Electronic Switching. The company gave me 6 months straight of training on #1ESS at Republic ESS which is where I worked for the following year. In 1976 I was introduced to Unix (a version known as CB Unix) which came on a SCCS (Switching Control Center System) DEC 11/40 computer that we used to monitor/analyze the ESS machines. From then on I was hooked on Unix which is what I've been doing ever since.
As part of a promotion, I moved from LA to the Bay Area in 1981 and took up residence in Benicia, about 25 miles from San Francisco. As of 1991-12-30, with 27 years of net credited serivce, I took an early retirement from PacBell. I hired on with Pacific Gas & Electric Company in 1992. I retired from PG&E in 2009. My last official day of employment at PG&E was September 30th, 2009. My work at PG&E was Unix/SMTP/DNS/DHCP administration, software maintenance, and perl programming.
I married twice and divorced once. I have one daughter from my first marriage. As of 2019-03-01, I am happily married and living in Benicia, California, USA with our 7 year old Sheltie, our 18 year old ginger cat, and our new 6 year old tuxedo cat. I enjoy walking, hiking, playing french horn, and messing around with my computer systems.
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Current air quality in my neighborhood:
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2023-01-20 After 4 months of not doing any long walks in the city (San Francisco), I did a 16.54 mile walk on this date. It was a beautiful day and I felt great doing it.

2022-11-24 My last "long" walk was a walk in the city on 2022-09-20. Beyond that I've done a few walks of around 10 miles in Benicia, including one 10.8 mile walk yesterday where I had to go through weeds and through a barbed wire fence (!!). I'm really getting too old for those kinds of walks. I haven't done a city walk in a while. First I had some right hip trouble. Then we had our poor dog get sick. I hope I'll be up for another city walk soon. It's been too long.

I took a class in MacOS earlier this year. It was a remote class. By being a student I was able to get a nice discount on a new Mac and software. I am now scheduled for Wordpress and Web Design classes starting in 2023. If I don't like the classes within the first couple of weeks, I'll drop out, but I like the idea of taking classes, so I hope that won't happen.

2022-02-06 Foot has recovered and I'm doing long walks again. I call it long if it's over 15 miles. I did 19.77 miles in the city on 2022-01-31. I yearn to do some of my other long wallks, like in the East Bay. Would love to do the Iron Horse trail again or through Briones Regional Park. The latter one puts me out of cell phone range and away from services for a long time, but I really miss the walk I did through that park. The city (San Francisco) is still half shut down. Lots of shops are closed. It's not easy to find a place to sit indoors with a laptop, so I haven't been taking my laptop with me as I used to do on city walks. I hope maybe things will be better in a few months.

2021-04-22 Time is still flying along. We are slowly coming out of a pandemic. I have not been able to play in bands. For over a year I made no trips to the city to do long walks. That may have been a good thing anyway. I managed to injure my right foot. I ended up with plantar fascitis and joint trouble. The joint trouble is still bothering me today, but I can manage daily morning walks of ~4-6 miles. After getting vaccinated for covid-19, I made one trip to the city in March 2021. It was nice to see again, but it was different and not as enjoyable as before the pandemic. The streets were emptier and coffee shops weren't open. I hope it won't be too long before the city fully opens up.

2019-09-16 Our old ginger cat, Webster, died last April, so now we have just the one (tuxedo) cat, Ruby.

2019-03-01 How time flies. How long will I continue to maintain this web site? While this web site ran on a Mac Mini for over a decade, it is now a virtual machine on an imac machine (that I found in the trash!). I'm still doing long walks, but less often, perhaps due to the rains, but maybe the thrill (?) of those many-hours-long walks is decreasing. A lot of my walks now are focused on getting some nice pics, especially sunrise pics.

2017-07-24 I have thus far climbed Mt Diablo 4 times, one time taking a longer, eastern path back (17 exhausting miles with quite a bit of worry along the way). In general I am doing less 20+ mile walks and more 15-20 mile walks. I feel my aging bones and muscles complaining, so I expect that I will be doing less mileage. I have taken up the trumpet. I've long played the horn (french horn), but always had a fondness for the trumpet, so I bought one. I played it for the first time in the Diablo Regional Concert Band group just yesterday.

2017-03-13 Found out that there is a minor planet named Marnix. How cool.

2016-10-28 I have enjoyed long walks. During the last 3 years I've done over 50 walks that went over 20 miles. They've been great fun. I love some of the views in San Francisco. Check out this panoramic pic from the Twin Peaks lookout point. BigPanoTwinPeaks.jpg.

2015-12-14 My Status: Enjoying a winter break. Finished with orchestra and band until next year. Still doing some long walks, mostly in San Francisco, but my last 20+ mile walk seemed tough, so I might be slowing down. I always carry my ham radio with me and off an on participate in San Francisco's siren test evaluations through one of the repeaters there.

2015-02-15 My longest walk so far is a little over 31 miles from Fremont BART over the dumbarton bridge, up the San Francisco peninsula to Millbrae BART. Last year I also climbed Mt. Diablo once and that Peak near Fremont that I have trouble remembering the name off (but it's extremely popular).

2014-06-18 My Status: Enjoying long walks. I've done 4 long walks over 26 miles and many over 10. I average about 6 miles of walking per day. Most of my walks are in and around Benicia, but the long ones are usually in the San Francisco peninsula or the East Bay. My last long walk was 26.95 miles from Dublin/Pleasanton to North Concord, mostly by way of the Iron Horse Trail.

2012-10-26 My status: Still retired and still playing French horn. Also doing a tiny bit of ham radio.

2010-04-25 My status: Retired and playing French horn.

Interested in antiques? 18th Century Dutch antiques? Check out our
Family Antiques For Sale.

Click below to see our dogs' political leanings (as of summer 2008) :-)

In case you wonder about such things, below is a picture of the computer this web site was running on a/o summer 2018. A few other web sites were running on this little machine as well. But now, a/o November 2018, this site is running as a virtual machine in a bigger mac. It never ceases to amaze me how far we've come with computers in the last half century.
<Picture of the computer this web site is running on.>