All About Me

Hippy mom and
a very young me I'm originally from Humboldt County, CA, well behind the Redwood Curtain, a land that suspiciously resembles the Moon of Endor, though lacking Ewoks as far as I know. I was born into a hippy household and some of my earliest memories are of flipping through Moody Blues and Pink Floyd records.

I grew up in "Sunny" Fortuna, which bills itself as the friendly city, and it may very well be if you listen to country music and drive a big truck. I didn't do either, so I wasn't a big fan.

After somehow graduating from the local high school, I stuck around for a couple of years and attended College of the Redwoods. While there, I took a lot of math and science courses, but more importantly, I got my introduction to programming on a real computer (I was already hacking my HP 48 pretty proficiently).

I transferred to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA, intending to complete my education. Aside from going to school there, I also landed a nice internship at The Mathworks, where I was able to get paid to break Matlab.

My plans certainly didn't come to fruition there. After a year, I realized that I'd take quite a bit longer than I wanted to finish college, and that I really wasn't a big fan of living on the East Coast. I moved back to California to Santa Cruz, intending to transfer to the university there.

As with the Massachusetts plan, the Santa Cruz plan didn't work out so well. I moved there at the worst time for finding work (beginning of the summer), so, as my money supply dwindled, and the realization dawned on me that I wouldn't be able to get into the university (I had too many credits), I decided to do something vastly different. I joined the Army.

Two months of Basic Combat Training in the summer heat at Fort Lost in the Woods, MO introduced me to Army life. Then it was off to mild Monterey, CA for a year of Russian at the Defense Language Institute. After graduating at the top of the class (two-thirds of those starting out didn't graduate at all), I was sent to the Middle of Nowhere, TX (Goodfellow AFB) for follow-on intelligence training in a different, but related field. After graduating second in the class, I volunteered for Airborne training, partially because jumping out of planes sounded awesome, partially to ensure I wouldn't get stuck at a desk job. I finished Airborne training and was sent to Fort Bragg, NC to be assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group.

As luck would have it, a friend that I had met at Goodfellow, Jason, got assigned across the street to 7th Special Forces Group. I had asked, and he had agreed, that since he was a rock climber, if we got stationed together, he'd teach me to climb. So on our weekend we started making climbing trips, first to places in North Carolina like Crowders Mountain, and then, up to the New River Gorge in West Virginia, home of a lifetime of fine climbing.

What with being deployed all the time, I didn't progress very quickly with climbing. However, I did get to visit countries I wouldn't have otherwise seen: Ghana, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. These deployments turned out to be quite nice in hindsight (well, Ghana was quite nice while I was there), but at the time, I just wanted to stick around the US and climb a bunch.

After three years at Fort Bragg (the Army threw in an extra year for me), I was finally free to be a civilian again. I headed across the country, back to Santa Cruz, and got a programming job at a small company in Silicon Valley, Advent Systems.

While I started working, Jason was on a road trip, climbing his way across the country, since he, too, had just left the Army. I visited him in Yosemite where he introduced me to Robin, a climber (and many other things) from Alaska who was on a road trip. She and I hit it off pretty quickly, and are currently engaged.

Robin moved down from Alaska to join me in Santa Cruz. She ended up working as a civil engineer at a small firm in San Jose. For a variety of reasons, a year there proved to be a bit much, so she quit. While we were on a climbing trip in Bishop right after, she saw a flyer advertising transportation engineering jobs with CalTrans in Bishop. We both jumped at the opportunity to get out of the Bay Area and move to the Eastern Sierra.

Robin moved out right away, but I wanted to tie up loose ends at work (and pay off my car and save up money), so I waited a few months. In the meantime, my company (now L-3 Communications since they bought Titan Corporation who bought Advent) asked me if I'd like to continue to work part time from Bishop. Of course I would! I'd be a fool not to.

So now I live in Bishop with Robin. She works full time at CalTrans, and I work part time for L-3 from home and climb a bunch. We were married in October 2006, and we'll doubtless continue to live here until it's time for us to move somewhere else, wherever and whenever that may be.

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