For those of you who like to know who's behind the words you read in Gas Engine Magazine, you'll notice a new name in this issue: Christian Williams. Some of you are aware that I am the new assistant editor at GEM, but many of you are not, so I thought I'd take a few moments to introduce myself. It all started on June 24, 1978 … just kidding - I won't go back that far.
In all seriousness, I'm a recent transplant to the Kansas prairie. I spent my formative years in the Chicago area and moved to Milwaukee to attend Wisconsin Lutheran College, where I graduated in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in American history. From there, I worked my way up through the ranks of a local newspaper and eventually made the move to Kansas this past June. I spent the first couple months getting acclimated to my new surroundings, which is my way of saying that I spent the summer unemployed and desperate for a job. Fortunately, my girlfriend (whom I followed to Kansas) spotted the GEM ad looking for an assistant editor and a few weeks later, I was casually putting together the August/September issue, whistling all the way. At least, some of that last sentence is true.
The truth is, I admit feeling a bit overwhelmed the first few weeks here and I chalked that up to the fact that I had never actually seen a running gas engine before. I also had to question why a seemingly very smart man, Editor-in-Chief Richard Backus, would trust GEM to someone who openly admitted not knowing anything about the magazine or the hobby. I thought, either this man is nuts or he's a patient risk-taker with a keen eye for diamonds in the rough. I choose to put my faith in the latter and am continually working at proving him right.
I'll be the first to tell you that I've got a lot to learn when it comes to understanding the technical aspects of gas engines. But I can also tell you that I understand the passion you have for this hobby because I've been collecting things for as long as I can remember. It started with baseball cards and stamps, moved on to old newspapers and now, its guitars, banjos and pretty much every other kind of folk instrument. I know what it feels like to search for and find that "must-have" item; what it feels like to find something neglected and breathe new life into it; and how it feels to share your collection with someone who appreciates it as much as you do.
I also like to travel and am looking forward to meeting many of you in person. I think books and the Internet are great resources, but nothing beats going to a show and getting your hands dirty. I've been to three shows in the last two months and am looking forward to planning out my 2008 tour as soon as the next Farm Collector Show Directory comes out.
So I guess I've let the cat out of the bag: It's true - until attending the 2007 Portland, Ind. show (coverage on page 5), I had never seen a running gas engine. But it's also true that after attending that show, and another, and yet another, I've been bitten by the bug. I'm sure I'll see you soon.