FAQ stands for "Frequently Asked Questions."
I used to have a RAQ—"Rarely Asked Quentions"—because I got neither enough visitors nor enough questions to put up a FAQ, so a RAQ had to do. However, recently I have received more questions, etc., so I figured it was time to change this to a FAQ. This FAQ simply consists of useless data about yours truly.
This FAQ contains so-called "public-domain" information about me. Beyond that, it includes information that, while not as easily available, is stuff I would gladly tell you if you asked. I will not post things such as my Social Security Number, my drivers license number, my passport number, and so on.
In 1996? No. In 2002? Yes. And in 2013 as "social media" reaches middle age? Probably not.
Without giving out addresses and such:
Not too many places; here’s the list:
This just explains the type of work I’ve done:
I’ve also managed to not get jobs. For example, Burger King rejected me, and Dairy Queen wouldn’t even give me an interview (either time that I applied). I had to turn down a bell-boy position in McCall, Idaho one summer because of a trip to Rhode Island for the inaugural World Scholar Athlete Games.
I had a happy childhood. My parents were good to me, we had wonderful pets, I had great educational opportunities, and so on.
As for school itself, I liked it and I did well in it. My favorite grade was probably the 4th. I rarely got into trouble. Since I was the ‘big’ kid in school, people rarely picked on me, and I was never in any fights. I had a perfect attendance record through many of my years in school. Yes, I was—and am—a total and complete nerd/geek (evidence: voted most academic by my high school class).
I didn’t play sports as a child until the 4th grade, when I started playing soccer at school. In the 5th grade I joined a team. I also played basketball that year (and in the 8th grade). One summer was spent playing tennis, but not much ever came out of it. I also spent a summer on a swim team—I still have the ribbons and such somewhere. I mostly did the butterfly and medley races. In the 8th grade I also did track and field—I started with the discus and 400m race; I moved up to the discus, shot-put, and 200m race. In Germany in high school I played for a local soccer club—the best team I had every played with up to that point. After high school I went to Rhode Island to compete in the World Scholar Athelete Games; I have yet to play with a better team.
At one point I was a Cub Scout, and later, a Boy Scout. I even went to camp one summer in McCall, Idaho. I used to enjoy it, even though while I was a Cub Scout our Den Mother picked on me because I had asthma. After a while in the Boy Scouts I realized that 1) our Troup wasn’t doing anything worthwhile (no leadership) and 2) I really didn’t believe in the institution itself, so I quit. Back around the 1st grade I started playing the piano, in the 6th grade I joined the school orchestra (for which the funding was eliminated the next year), where I played the violin, and I switched to the viola a year later and took private lessons for a few years. I wish I had worked harder at both instruments; I still have my viola, and someday I'll get my own piano.
I used to draw a lot, reading was—and still is—one of my favorite activities, and around the 6th grade I started writing. I even decided back then that I wanted to become a writer when I grew up. I still say "when I grow up". In elementary school I began with BASIC and LOGO, and now I prefer Python, though I'm fascinated by Lisp dialects. We had sheep, rabbits and cows when I was a kid, and a nice garden and orchard; now I settle for an herb garden in my kitchen window.
After graduating from college, I went on to graduate school. I spent the 2005-2006 academic year in Berlin on a Fulbright Fellowship. I am still working to get that monkey off my back; my dissertation still haunts me, but I hope not for very much longer. It's on the topic of analogical reasoning in 18th-century German philosophical aesthetics ... it's a fascinating topic, and if you have a couple hours, I'd love to talk your ear off about it!
Adolescence and college were good to and for me. I went abroad as an exchange student in high school, and I went on two study abroad programs in college. If you are in high school or college, think about doing it (if you haven’t already), and if you are a parent with kids of the right age, think about encouraging them to get involved with study abroad and/or youth exchange. In college I also got to pursue fencing (for a short time)—a wonderful sport. Highly recommended.
These days I brew, cook, write, and work with Linux and other Unix-y things.
I started using computers back in 1983 (3rd grade), but I never had access to a modem or anything like that. In the spring of 1992 I went to CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, and saw lots of neat computer “stuff.” Then, in the fall of ’92 (back in Idaho) I got online (doing work for a teacher at first), mostly just sending and receiving e-mail. In the spring of ’93 I got my own account; I was an intern at the Idaho Legislature and I was working for the Learning Links network (in coordination with Idaho Public Television) as a sort of “internet journalist.” Four of us covered the goings-on at the legislature and posted reports to Learning Links.
Then came the "Eternal September"; in the fall of ’93 I went to college, got a college e-mail account, and had direct access to the Internet (via a shell account) for the first time. The rest is history ...
Read the rest of this site—that will give you some information. I doubt you’re terribly interested in me (there are more interesting personal pages out there), but if there is something you’re dying to know, you can always contact me and ask. Marketing types, spammers, etc., need not apply. However, if you’re hiring, please get in touch with me—especially if you’re paying a lot.