McGrew's Miscellanea

About the Author

[Photo of Darin McGrew, 11k JPEG] I am a software release engineer. My professional resume has more details.

This document describes my experience with

Derby Races

My first experience with a Shape N Race Derby was in 1988 as an adult leader for the CSB Stockade program (3rd–6th grade boys) at Peninsula Bible Church. I built an unusual car (a beaver driving a log) and entered it in the adults' All Comers division. The only other unusual car built that year was a very realistic turtle built by one of the boys.

At the beginning of each derby season, we display several completed cars (including some of my unusual ones) to help newcomers understand the project. Others in our group (kids and adults alike) have started to follow my example, creating unusual car designs of their own.

For several years, I was our derby chairman. However, after 12 years as a CSB Stockade leader, I spent 7 years leading our CSB Battalion program (for 6th-12th grade boys). Now, I am back in our CSB Stockade program, serving as the Chief Ranger.


In elementary school, I had often helped my friends with their math homework so they could play with me sooner. In high school, I heard the greeting "Hey, can you help me with my math homework?" frequently. I'd often thought of teaching as a career, but the idea that "no one can survive on a teacher's salary" held me back.

When I was "redeployed" by Sun Microsystems in 1994, I did a lot of soul-searching and research regarding teaching as a second career. Without a credential, I'd have to teach at a private school. My technical background would be more useful at higher grade levels, where familiarity with the subject matter becomes more important. My wife and I determined that we could make our budget work, and so I applied for teaching positions.

I taught pre-algebra for one semester at The King's Academy (TKA), a private Christian junior- and senior-high school in Sunnyvale. I also helped the drama teacher with classes and with auditions for the extracurricular spring musical. I loved teaching.

At the end of the semester, my position was eliminated during some financial cutbacks at TKA. Someday, I may earn a credential and return to teaching. In the meantime, I volunteer as a leader with the CSB Stockade program at Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto.

Performing Arts

My first musical instrument was a simple plastic recorder (a "Tonette", if I recall correctly). I played with an ensemble of other fourth-grade students, and none of us knew what it meant to tune an instrument. Sometimes I am amazed by the things supportive parents endure.

Since then, I have played the saxophone (alto, baritone, and especially tenor), the bugle, and the guitar. I've dabbled with the piano, the Highland bagpipes, and most of the instruments that my junior-high band program had available. Currently, I play guitar, accompanying myself while songleading.

I've also sung in various choirs and ensembles since junior high. A few years ago, I sang tenor in Our King's Court, my church's "madrigals" vocal ensemble. Currently, I lead "campfire" and worship songs with PBC's CSB Stockade program.

In high school I discovered drama and musical theatre. I performed in several plays and musicals in high school, several musicals with Hartnell Community College's summer theatre program, and a few other musicals (including three at Stanford). Currently, I participate in my church's drama ministry by performing short monologues and skits every now and then.

Other Interests

In 1998, I accepted an invitation to join the Web Design Group, which was founded to promote the creation of creative, informative, browser-independent, and resolution-independent web sites that are accessible to all users worldwide.

My wife and I enjoy gimmick car rallyes, riding our ViewPoint tandem bicycle, and organic gardening. We also enjoy board and card games like The Settlers of Catan, TransAmerica, Lost Cities, The Big Idea, and Quiddler. I also enjoy geocaching, and am a member of Geocachers of the Bay Area.