Hi, I'm Thomas Canty.
Well, actually, as many here know, my real name is Lonnie DeCloedt. I turned 42 just under a month ago, I'm single (with no intention of ever getting married), and share my home with two cats and one very popular and spoiled mutt. I work nights at a large hospital in the San Fernando Valley, running the computers (mainframe, AS/400, a bunch of AIX boxes and a WAN) for it and another nearby hospital.
I was born in California (Long Beach to be precise) and when I was young we moved around California several times to places like Anaheim, Rancho Cucamonga and San Jose. When I was 7, my dad's job transferred him to Omaha, Nebraska, where we moved to for eight years. In 1978, his job (different company) transfered him back to California, and except for one year in Ventura County, I've lived in the San Fernando Valley ever since.
Shortly after we had moved to Omaha, my dad gave me his old Argus rangefinder camera and a hand-held light meter. Shortly after that my mother gave me her old Kodak Brownie. I became obsessed with photography at a pretty early age, and my allowance often was spent on film and processing. When I got to high school, I signed up for the Photography classes they offered. I usually failed the class though because I only signed up as a means to get darkroom privileges. I never did the assignments.
After high school I kind of lost interest in it. I still took pictures, but with a p&s, and never paying attention to the creative aspect. In the early 80's, I got online with the local BBSes and became very close friends with someone named Todd Pittman. He had AIDS, the unfortunate result of tainted blood during a transfusion (he was a hemophiliac). During the last year or two of his life he discovered photography and his passion for it reignited my own.
My first digital camera was a Casio QV-30 (320x240 images) in 1996. I have since upgraded eight times, my ninth digital camera being my 20D.
Six years ago I decided I was living a very unhealthy lifestyle and had better make some changes before I died. I quit my 20-year, 2-pack a day smoking habit. A year later I quit drinking. I don't think I'd call myself an alcoholic, but I was definitely drinking way more than a person should. I also started exercising in the form of hiking. This helped me lose 75 pounds that I really needed to get rid of (I've since gained a little of it back, but not too much). My work schedule changed about then too, giving me a three day weekend every other week, so I started taking advantage of that by going on short trips, travelling all over California, Nevada and Arizona (I put about 35,000 to 50,000 miles on my car every year). The hiking and travelling have always gone hand-in-hand with photography, and I've amassed an incredible number of pictures over the years, one or two of which are actually a little good, IMHO.
As far as my musical abilities. As a yung'un, I took piano lessons for 11 or 12 years, and got to be quite good. During a move about 20 years ago, my piano fell apart and I haven't touched one since. I'd be hard pressed to remember how to play chopsticks now.
I've also dabbled a little with the guitar, but never seriously.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.