J.B. Zimmerman

A professional Op, I'm also an (ex-)military analyst with too many fountain pens who was once unhired by the CIA because they asked me what I thought of George W. Bush while I was under a lie detector. I write fiction and fly airplanes for fun.

more about me

Me

MeBorn and raised in New York City, I've come back to my home town after years away. I have loved computers since the first time I sneaked onto a family friend's TRS-80 back in the day. It is with some regret that I've made them my vocation; not because I don't like working with them, but because they're no longer a way to decompress outside of work. These days I have flying for that!

I'm a nerd and proud of it. RPGs, video games from arcade cabinets to 2600 and XBox in between, collecting particular fiddly things, pets, movies, music and books - oh so many books - these are all things which have and do claim my time.

I had a homepage in 1993. Fortunately, it's been lost to time. I had a much nerdier homepage a couple of years later. I have that one, but it's too nerdy to show you. I was a devout Apple Newton fanatic. Some of these and some of my other enthusiasms are documented hereabouts.

Twitter | GitHub | LinkedIn | Résumé

Flight

Flying
Private Pilot, Single Engine Land

I fly as a Private Pilot.

Cessna in Snow

Private Pilot, Single Engine Land

I owe my flying to my late uncle, who was also a pilot and encouraged me to begin training while I was still in college. I didn't manage to finish the license until many years later, but I got there in the end. Working is what I do to be able to fly. It still brings a grin of utter joy and wonder that this is not only possible, but that I can do it, when I feel my gear leave the ground in an airplane.

I'm presently a Private Pilot, Single Engine Land. I have endorsements for High Performance (> 200 HP) and Complex (retractable gear, constant-speed prop, manual flaps) aircraft; I plan on getting my Tailwheel endorsement and a Seaplane rating (Single Engine Sea). I'm working on my Instrument Rating written exam at present.

The airplane above is the one I completed most of my training in while getting my license - N12732, which used to live at 7B2 (Northampton Airport). The background image is 12732 as I prepared to roll her out of the hangar to take my final checkride flight. I returned from that flight a licensed pilot.

Skyline Flight
NYC Skyline Flight

Flying the NYC skyline from KISP.

NYC Skyline Tour

Flying the NYC skyline from Macarthur Airport (KISP) in a Cessna 172.

outback overflight
Outback Overflight

Australia end-to-end, 2014.

queensland-under-wing

Outback Overflight

Before I recommenced and then finished my pilot's license training, I was complaining to a friend of mine that I deeply regretted never finishing the license immediately after college (grad school had interrupted it, and I hadn't finished). He let me bitch about it for a while then asked "What would you do with a pilot's license if you had one?"

I answered without thinking about it, "I'd fly myself across Australia."

"Why?" he asked.

"Because I've never been there, I want to go, and it's one of the last great wildernesses that's relatively safe from an aviation point of view. And that'd be a story to tell."

"Okay," he said, "If you get your license, I'll go with you."

And that was that. I kept a journal of the trip, and I encourage you to read it there. I may at some point put some photos up here from that expedition. It took us two weeks in July of 2014, but we started in Sydney and ended up in Broome - all the way across.

Hobbies

1971 Triumph TR6

I've had this car more than twenty years. Her name is Amanda; she's a Triumph TR6 and she left her birthplace of Coventry, England sometime in November of 1970 to be shipped to the USA. I've owned her since 1993. Together, we've driven from Boston to Los Angeles (and back); driven with maximum hoonery through the entirety of a Boston winter, and generally shared thousands of miles of road time.

The TR6 is a straight-six, 2500cc two-seat sports car in the English mode. Mine has the standard four-speed synchromesh transmission, no overdrive. I've modded her to take tube shocks in the rear, as her original lever shocks bit the bucket and her shock mounts needed metal work; it just seemed sensible. I sacrifice often and heavily to the Devil Lucas, and mutter prayers to the gods of Zenith-Stromberg.

Fountain Pens

I've used fountain pens since I noticed that a dear friend of mine, in whose intellect and arguing skills I am in awe, carried one while we were in college. I noticed he never, ever lost an argument that involved diagrams. He explained the appeal of the fountain pen; the precision it could encourage, the ease of use compared to ballpoints over long periods of writing. I went home and found the one I'd been given for my barmitzvah but never used, and I've been a fan since then.

Now? I collect them. The picture above is the black pens in my collection. The only rule is that I must use all pens I own; my latest acquisition is a 1970 Parker T1, made entirely out of titanium to commemorate the moon landings, and it has a single-piece titanium body with an integral nib. I finally acquired one after searching for seven years!

Firearms

As a lifetime New Yorker, I became actively interested in firearms only recently. My first rifle was given to my brother and I as teenagers - our father gave us a Savage-Anschütz bolt-action sporter as we were both active in summer camp riflery.

More recently, however, I spent a year or so outside New York City while training for my pilot's license, and befriended a man who is a gun enthusiast of the first order. With his help, I acquired an M1 Garand battle rifle, and the hobby had me by the throat. I am mostly interested in historic firearms - military surplus rifles, known as milsurp. I have several. The gun pictured here was my first handgun - it is an Israeli surplus FN Hi Power, designed by John Moses Browning.

My primary legal residence is no longer in New York City, and neither are my firearms - this is how I am able to legally possess them. I'm not a very good shot anymore, which is excellent - it means I have tons of room to improve, and can look forward to practice bearing fruit.

When I was in high school, I used to shoot skeet with a friend. I need to find a good skeet gun and take that up again.

M1 Garand

M1 GarandThe M1 Garand is a semi-automatic, gas-operated battle rifle chambered in 30-06 (30 caliber, issue of 1906). It was the primary infantry weapon of the U.S. military in World War II and the Korean War. Named 'the greatest battle implement ever devised' by General George S. Patton, the Garand saw service with the U.S. armed forces all the way up to the 2003 invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, where desert warfare meant engagement ranges longer than the M4 and M16 could reasonably attain were common. While the U.S. worked to arm soldiers with more modern semiautomatic 7.62x51 rifles such as the Knight's Armament M110 and reconditioned M14s, M1 Garands were issued to designated marksmen.

This one is mine. It was made at the Springfield Arsenal in 1943, and saw service in the Pacific Theatre and in Korea before being sold as civilian surplus in the late 1950s. It's shown here on a recent range trip.