I’m a pentadecadal applied scientist living the dream at a major research institution, the legatee of privilege, providence, and preparation. I grew up in rural Oregon for around 18 years, grew up further in Seattle for another 18, continued further upgrowing in Baltimore for another, yes, 18 years. I am now continuing to grow up still yet further in rural Germany – who knows, maybe for another 18 years! When young I never aspired to live here, but I studied German thinking it important should I become a chemist (it wouldn’t have been). As of 2020 mein Deutsch ist immer noch schrecklich.
I was barely six for Apollo 11. I’ve never been athletic, nevertheless neither have I been indolent. Lots of walking and hiking, and now I usually bike to work (my town is the offspring of Hobbiton and Corvallis) along pedestrian paths and farm roads. In my teens I barely touched anything sugar-sweetened. I got chunky with my first desk job, in my mid twenties, spending about a decade ignoring how much sugar and alcohol I consumed (I prefer Oregon-style craft ales). With my third childhood I started working out habitually and eating more carefully, and continue to gradually increase my intensity/numbers of reps and diet quality. Recently I’ve taken some 60 km weekend rides. Flattish here, but a definite workout!
My parents grew up during the Great Depression, and my first childhood was painted by Norman Rockwell. We grew our own green beans and tomatoes, canning those, freezing a year’s supply of u-pick corn and occasionally filling a freezer locker with half a cow or pig (butchered and wrapped, to be sure). We canned country sausage and sometimes made summer sausage. In season we had fresh homegrown carrots, zucchini and acorn squash, Hallowe’en pumpkins, onions, garlic. “The Folks” (parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, half of them from Seattle) would get together for a big canning/freezing extravaganza in the fall. The Folks, thrifty and self-reliant, could (collectively and among other things): sew/knit/crochet an entire wardrobe, plumb/wire/build houses, farm, repair automobiles, keep accounts, labor as needed. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter were “Freedom From Want”, with the rest of the year similar if less showy. By the US Bicentennial we were relatively prosperous, although I had to pay for my own college after my first year of loans and scholarships was over. I managed to work my way through to the end of junior year before running out of money and nepotistically joining the Seattle software industry, reinventing myself as a biologist from 2004-2011 after burning out on that. Mom died in the 90’s, Dad in the 10’s. My brother lives in our childhood home. The dream I now live is to implement my humanitarian contribution, aiming to utilize (one uses a hammer to drive a nail. One utilizes a can of beans to drive a nail) huge swathes of algae to clean polluted water, recycle agricultural nutrients, and swallow a bit of carbon.
Mine is a grandiose dream, and I am persuaded that maximum effectiveness requires me to establish a Web Presence as one of many incremental efforts (alas, I am a slacker and getting older so maybe a go-getter will steal my ideas and make it happen; until then I slowly trudge onwards). I suppose this is so “The Algorithm” knows I exist and am participating as a product whose information and activities are exploited by deep learning, which will magically guide resources my way. I have seen e-socializing develop from bulletin board nodes communicating over 300 baud modems (I was sysop of the short-lived Biosphere III in Seattle; Tukwila Station, Cafe Dionysos, and House of Baloney were run by housemates; we even hosted XAKEPOBO MECTO for a while). I dug ditch on the information superhighway (typography testing in desktop publishing, perf and build testing OSs and browsers) from the late 80s through the 90s. I witnessed social media transition from optional in-group nerd thing with pathological tendencies to essential pesthole with occasional compensations. Although today rather alienated from the milieu, I believe that I must participate and that is why I’m starting this blog and slowly expanding my presence in other online venues.