Part of my home page are an intentional homage to W. Richard Stevens. If it wasn't for his clearly written books that I discovered in the late 90's I might not have been confident enough to become a programmer. Granted, my life seems to be far more convoluted than Richard's, but at this moment I'm nearly 10 years older than he was when he died and I'm very impressed and thankful for his earthly works.

It's funny Stevens begins his Biography section with his schooling. It's part of my story too, but it's intertwined with everything else. I'm envious of people that went to school in one block of time and then were able to live their lives. That's not my story.

I received a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Mississippi (2009) and a Master's of Computer Science from Colorado State University (2011). I also have a degree from Thomas Edison State College - a B.S.A.S.T in Radiation Protection (1994).

I started a paper route when I was 13 in Liverpool, New York. I was also a dishwasher for a while in a Carrows in El Paso.

I spent a little over 6 years in the Navy as a nuclear mechanical operator and engineering laboratory technician. When I was 17 I took the ASVAB for the Marines since I figured the 3 years of French I took in school wasn't enough to join the French Foreign Legion. I mostly forgot about that test and finished my last year of high school and started a semester of college - a semester that I rarely showed up for classes. This part of my might be discussed another time. In order to try to reset my life I joined the Navy as a Torpedo Man's Mate on December 15, 1983. The recruiter called me back after receiving my ASVAB scores from the Marines and asked if I wanted to be in nuclear power. I found out I could leave El Paso for boot camp in three weeks although it would cost another 2 years of my life. If I waited for my original orders I'd have to wait 3-5 months in El Paso and that wasn't an option. I waited until after Christmas to inform my father I was leaving. He started yelling at my mother that it was all her fault. I still don't know what he meant and my mother has selective memory, so she doesn't remember and I'll never know. Regardless, after a few years I was a fully qualifed Engine Room Supervisor and also an Engineering Laboratory Technician - I was discharged as a Machinist's Mate First Class. Again, there are many stories to tell from this time and they may be told later, but from a student's perspective I never stopped learning. I was that weirdo that started a CIE electronics class and later a cheaper NRI electronics class. These classes were dropped after going to sea but still being charged - it wasn't worth it. I knew a sailor that completed most of a degree from RPI that was able to finish the CIE AA degree in electronics and that made quite an impression on me. I think he managed to stay in one patrol to finish it off. He started doing really well in the Navy after that in that short period of time I still knew him. You could call taking those classes and dropping them a failure, but I did discover the 22 books of the Navy's NEETS modules (Navy Electricity and Electronics Training Series) and went through all of those over two patrols and submitted all assignments. After that I took and passed the exam for the FCC General Radiotelephone Operator with Radar Endorsement License. Sometime in that era I also learned 5 wpm Morse and studied for and passed the Novice and Technician's Ham Radio license. I was one of the last Machinist's Mates on that class of submarine to be a qualified Throttleman. I think the interest in radio and realization that I could do more than my current label was sparked by a yeoman that also stood a watch in the radio room - something that didn't happen often. I only remember his first name. During this time I also restudied math - a subject that I was afraid of until Nuclear Power School, read the Principles of Naval Engineering and completed all the assignments, and was generally intrigued by and and read quite of bit about many aspects of engineering. From an educational standpoint I had faith in myself - at least as a student. It was 6 years later than it should have been, but that's better than never. During this time my only interest in computers on the submarine was for the games 688 and Battlechess. Also, a friend of mine had a love for Amiga computers (who wouldn't?) and he had drawers full of "floppies" (the 3.5" non-floppy floppy) of games from various sources. For some reason I was rather amazed by the smoothness of a pinball game. I almost forgot to mention this: I went to Nuclear Power School in Orlando and then to Prototype Training in Ballston Spa and did rather well and no one was more surprised than me. I stayed at Orlando during Christmas break and studied a few weeks after school started because I thought I was going to fail - a lesson from that is that overstudy can sometimes override fatalism and despondency and calm an anxious mind.

My introduction to computer science was a correspondence class in Pascal from LSU in 1991. I hate to admit it, but the entitled part of me swiped (borrowed long enough to install) a Pascal compiler prominently displayed on the Radiological Engineer's shelf and loaded it up on computer in one of the labs I worked in. I would roughly solve the problems at home and bring notes to the lab during night shift and completed the assignments during the dead time. Much of my job was an industrial babysitting job, so there was plenty of time. Some people could spend most of a 12 hour shift complaining about every aspect of their life - I was satiating my curiosity and hopefully learning things that would impact my future. I should mention that I had computer lab class at high school in the early 80's, but it was mostly an exposure class in the sense a handful of computers were shared by about 30 students and using PEEK and POKE were considered hacking. I didn't buy a computer until late 1994 - a Quantex p90. It was mostly used for Doom 2 and Quake I, but I started getting interested in BSP maps and modifications to Doom, but I think I only created one basic Doom map. Threewave created capture the flag mods and I found out that Id used Next workstations to build the games so programming began to intrigue me a little more. I was working with Unix machines at the time at work - not as an admin, but just as a user. One of the technical specialists that I knew handed me an aging duplicate copy of a Unix System's Administrator handbook and while I was curious, I wasn't hooked until I saw a big Slackware book at a B. Dalton's in Vicksburg. Before that, I started to learn to program in C using DJGPP's conversion of gcc to Windows. I started using the RHIDE editor too - an editor that was apparently inspired by Turbo Pascal editors. I had also purchased the Mix compiler. The book that came with Mix was exactly what I needed - it had examples for almost all standard C API calls and I retyped many of them by hand to learn the C language. K&R's The C Programming Language would come later. A C++ compiler cost real money at that time and I knew Linux had g++, so after many failures, I installed Slackware and managed to start X and connect to the internet. I had no knowledge of X servers or network connections at that time and my travails preceded Google and I didn't know anyone that knew Linux, so this was an ordeal. After I installed Slackware I learned a bit of C++ and was into kernel recompiles and tested many Linux distributions. Due to the incredibly slow download speed at that time I used to order and install many other Linux distributions including RedHat, SUSE and Turbolinux. Turbolinux with an Afterstep window manager was my favorite for quite a while. I even had a direct response from Scott Stone, the release engineer, to one of my queries. I was using tin and mutt for news and email. I was also doing other things, but this wasn't a bad start to learning about computer science while I worked as a Radiochemist for 6 years in a commercial nuclear power plant.