As a child, I loved playing in Tilden Park behind our house, building things out of LEGO, and smashing them up again. I played trumpet with the Longfellow Middle School Jazz Band for two years. I was a generally happy and mellow kid. In 1970-71, my family took a sabbatical to Paris, where we lived in the suburb Robinson and my father smashed atoms. I attended a French school, and I remember the French kids mercilessly harassing me. They chased me around the yard all through recess, pelting me with snowballs. At one point, I asked my mother how to say "stop" in French. The next day at lunch, I held my hand up bravely like a good policeman and commanded, "Arrête!" They laughed and continued to pelt me. Perhaps due to this, I spent most of my grade school and junior high years hiding in the library playing games with pencils and paper.
In 1979-80, my father and I took another sabbatical to Geneva, Switzerland. There I attended the International School, which was populated mostly by children of Caterpillar employees from Peoria, IL, plus some Iranian expatriates. They were the most degenerate group of individuals I've ever met. Through their influence, and because of my separation from American culture (what we called the Helvetican Retardation Factor), I developed a keen interest in the music of AC/DC and the film "Hair". I grew my hair long and wore bell-bottoms.
When I returned, I discovered that I was just slightly out of step with the friends I'd left behind. While I was gone, my fellow pencil-pushers had merged with a group of girls. I adjusted quickly to a life of making out to "Rock Lobster", and eventually slid further and further into the punk scene. The highlight of my punk career was when I broke my collarbone stage-diving at a Fear show at the Fillmore. My punk days ended, however, soon after the infamous Twins of Berkeley turned against me and had me beat up.
Off to college I went. I attended the University of Washington in Seattle, where I discovered (as many do) sex, drugs, art, and the Grateful Dead. Much fun was had -- too much fun to detail here. My roommate Keld and I created the first blacklight room, which won the "Best Dorm Room" contest in the 1986 yearbook. I went on to create a number of others in various houses in which I lived. In the summer of 1986, Jef, Deb, and I took a month-long trip to Australia, where we found this feral pig. In 1988 I received my B.S. in geology and my girlfriend dumped me. I moved back to Berkeley and took off around the world with my friend Mark and a backpack. We spent six months hanging out between Bali and Amsterdam, eating great food, seeing great sights, and contracting great illnesses. A few written pieces about this trip are collected on my writing page.
When I returned, I got a job in the hazardous materials business. I was the only guy in the office who knew anything about Macintoshes, so I eventually ended up spending more time troubleshooting computers and managing databases than shoveling sludge. Life was good then. I was living alone in an exquisite studio with a large yard in Berkeley, making lots of art, attending (and hosting) lots of parties, and going on many midnight kamikaze bicycle rides.
But the travel bug wouldn't leave me alone, and in 1991 I set off in my Toyota pickup to discover America. The trip is faithfully chronicled in a journal, for those interested in reading about it. Along the way, I got into a little trouble, fell in love with Marjorie, and lost a few friends. By very end of my trip I was certifiably insane -- you try spending eight months alone in the back of a truck. I limped back to Berkeley and went into social hibernation. Fortunately, I slowly regained my sanity and my friends.
Marjorie and I soon decided to drive her stuff out to California and live together. We ended up in the Palo Alto area, where I worked at a string of computer companies, most of which imploded. It was all the rage.
Marjorie and I were married, had two kids, bought a house, and rest is an endlessly repeating cycle of work, sleep, and driving kids around. But I love it.
Currently, I'm six feet tall, weigh 205 pounds, and, as always, have very elastic skin.