A Career in Chapters
Variety and Good Fortune
The Early Years
I was hired by a friend of my parents to take care of their yard. I worked for an hour. They liked the job I did so much they assumed it must have taken at least two. I asked only for an hour’s wage, but they insisted on giving me two hours wage.
I also helped out at my father’s barber shop. People smoked in those days, and I had to clean up all the hair and cigarette butts. To this day, I hate both.
I also helped my Dad build planter beds of bricks around the house. I don’t imagine I was actually much help, but Dad was patient.
I played freshman football at Park Junior High School, and ran cross country and track at Antioch High School.
I graduated from Yale University. I spent my Junior Year Abroad in Freiburg, Germany, and passed the next year at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. I returned to Yale for my Senior Year.
Later, I received an M.A.T. in ESL, French and Bilingual Education from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Even later, after teaching at Antioch High School, I returned to school to get a B.S. in Computer Science at Sonoma State University.
After college, I spent a year at Anatolia College in Thessaloniki, Greece as a teaching fellow, living in the Greek boys’ dormitory, and teaching an English class on the girls’ campus. The Greek administration also didn’t appreciate making waves; they expelled for causing trouble a student who was my very favorite because of her intelligence and passion.
I earned an M.A. in Teaching at the School for International Training. It was one of my favorite years. I also got introduced to Chomsky.
I spent three and a half years teaching English in Nepal with the Peace Corps, and helping write text books. I was in a village in the Far West.
Teaching At Home
Back home, I taught English and French for four years at my alma mater, Antioch High School. I was yearbook advisor, where I brought in computers and desktop publishing. At one point my wife said, “You seem to like computers better than students,” at which point my career in software engineering was launched.
A Software Engineer
I have had a hand in compilers and libraries for DOS, Windows, and OS2; ported the GNU assembler, linker, debugger, and tools to a new processor; led a team in building a networking switch simulator with MIPS instruction set simulator; created software for a SONET switch; wrote simulators for the design of multi-processor computers; wrote a variety of Linux OS-level programs; contributed to a distributed file system; and wrote a reverse-proxy router.
In retrospect, I sometimes wish I had made a career writing assembly language. Working at the assembler-linker level was so much fun. Aside from assembly, my favorite languages are C and Go. I’ve also written Perl and Python, Java and Fortran, Tcl/Tk, Pascal, and a variety of scripting languages.
What does the future hold? I love old photographs, like those of Eugène Atget. I recently saw an exhibit at the Met, I think Linnaeus Tripe, of a trip through Burma. There’s some quality of texture and depth in them that I can’t quite describe. I’d like to learn the old techniques and see how close I can come to capturing that quality.
I am an avid follower of politics and write about it at Mind&Politics. I engage many brain cells in trying to understand why we follow the politics we do. I would like to write more frequently.
I would like to read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid, the Bible, and Beowulf, and am studying Homeric and Biblical Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Old English to that effort. Also Spanish.