I was born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, managing to survive being a teenager in a big university town during the late ’60s and early ’70s.
My father decided early in his parenting career that with four boys to raise, he would give us tools rather than toys for birthdays and Christmas. His comment was that, “even with the astonishing attrition rate, tools lasted longer than toys.” My brothers and I grew up building (and destroying) many things. One of the family slogans was, “If some other dumb S.O.B. can put it together, I can sure as hell take it apart.” My mother was happy for us to be doing almost anything we wanted – as long as it was outside and she didn’t have to listen to it.
I came to Portland, Oregon to go to college, and never left. I fell in love with the lush green. With its ferns, moss, and deep forests, it seemed like Eden. My plan was to be a math teacher. But, physics stole my heart, so I ended up with a secondary teaching certificate and a physics degree.
Silly me – I had learned something about programming computers in the meantime. Programming had the seduction of building things without leaving a heap of scraps lying around. Student-teaching gave me the invaluable insight into the real difficulties of teaching – bureaucracy, seniority-based politics, and limited authority. So, computer programming became my job of choice.
Shortly after college, I took up whitewater kayaking, to make good use of one of the area’s persistent natural resources – rain. And there are many beautiful rivers. Between the spring runoff, the ocean in the dry part of the summer, and rain-fed rivers in winter, I could paddle year-round. What a wonderful, visceral way to learn about fluids! And, “there is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in small boats”.
I now have two boys of my own and a wife who makes my life possible. I consult in the software industry, currently specializing in the analysis of software for copyright and patent litigation. I have a photography business on the side, called Liquid Sculpture, that specializes in photographs of water drops and splashes. Pastimes include photography (particularly of my two angels), playing a bit of bridge with my aging father, and squeezing the concertina.