Too much information!

No, this isn't going to be a tedious recitation of my entire life since the day I was born. Just assorted trivia in random order, to satisfy the folks who want to know more about me.

I'm Canadian, sort of. I was born in Toronto but I haven't lived there since I was six years old and I have only visited once or twice, when I was maybe ten or twelve. I can't tell you what it looked like, what the snow was like, or anything more than a handful of memories about my family life there. I never learned French, and I didn't learn the National Anthem until I was past thirty. Mostly I play up the Canadian identity thing when I want to stand out (or should I say "oot"?) in a crowd. Technically, I never went through the formal paperwork to pick up US citizenship - I still have the tattered old green card that was issued to me in Detroit in 1969. I am told it's just a formality since my mother and wife are both citizens, but at my age, why bother?

In addition to Toronto, I have lived in Houston, Galveston, Crockett, Nacogdoches, and Dallas -- all in Texas -- before settling in the wide open countryside of Wyoming. I have relatives in Germany from my father's side, but I have not been there since I was a wee lad either. Now that Papa has passed away, it's unlikely I will make it over there or see them again.

I'm a Christian! If you have known me a long time and did not know that about me, shame on me. I don't believe we are called to beat folks over the head and coerce them into joining the club, but neither am I ashamed or unsure about what I believe. I'll be more than happy to debate the finer points with you, or you can read more about my worldview in the rants section.

I went to college at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX from 1981 to 1985. I started out going for a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (of course) but they required me to pass calculus. I proved conclusively - twice - that I would not be doing so, and instead changed my major from a science focus to a business focus, still in computers. To this day I have not once made use of the specific programming skills I learned in college, but the BBA was useful in getting me my first few jobs after I graduated so I guess it was worth my dad's money.

I'm an old-school computer geek. By that I mean I got into computers in 1977. The first one I owned was the Commodore PET in 1979, with all of eight THOUSAND bytes of memory, a screen that could only display 40 characters across by 20 down, and no storage except for a cassette tape that almost never worked right. I remember using paper tape spools in high school, and my freshman BASIC class was the last at our university to use punched cards before everyone moved to the newfangled video terminals like the ADM-3, connected to a massive Honeywell CP-6 mainframe. My database professor was all about COBOL; for four years we learned how to describe databases in COBOL and use archaic sorting methods to retrieve data from mainframes. After I graduated, I never saw one mainframe; my entire career has been built on using database programs on PCs: dBase II and III, R:Base, and Clipper, the last of which is still my primary focus at my job of nearly 16 years. So while I can tell you more than you ever wanted to know about how to optimize a dBase search query or add new DIMMs to your AMD 486 motherboard, I can't help you a bit with your Javascript or Flash animation or your php scripts, whatever they are.

Some of the above has recently changed. I had essentially the same job for 17 years, maintaining computer programs that were written in the computer stone age, and we finally discontinued the old programs in July 2009. That left me obsolete and useless, but my friends at work saw to it that they teach this old dog some new tricks. So now I'm all about php and SQL and and jquery and I don't know what all else... I'm still figuring it all out.

My geek nature led me to the girl of my dreams in 1988. I spent all my leisure time on dialup computer systems in the pre-Internet days, getting involved in chat rooms and message boards. Along came a MENSA gal who shared my interests in music and literature, and over the next five weeks we went to Disney World, got married, and moved my stuff out of my apartment and into her house. Long after we got married, we would still set up our computers on the dining room table, typing chat messages to each other two feet away. Is that geek enough for you? For those who said it would never last... we are starting to plan our 25th anniversary together, and we still spend more time sending each other email than speaking.

I have spawned twice. My daughter Irene is now 22.76 and starting her third year at the U of Wyoming, where she enjoys a full scholarship, enough to pay for tuition AND housing AND books, thanks to her ACT score of 34 (out of 36). I'd like to think that her terrific academic skills are the product of good genes and the fact that we homeschooled both kids. Her younger brother, now 20.09, got a 31 on the ACT and some ridiculously high score on his ASVAB, the army aptitude test. Yes, army. Out of apparent defiance to his long-haired dad, the boy shaved his head off and joined the army as soon as he graduated. He completed basic training and 17-week advanced training course in MOS 25U, where they teach you all those weird military acronyms as well as "communications support". So right now I have two reasons to be the proudest dad on the planet.

I think that covers all the high points. You can read all about the things I do for fun on the Fun Stuff page, more about my job on the Work page, and... well, just read the section headings at the top and read it all. If you really feel an urge to pry into my private life more than I have written, email me and I'll make up something.