Just under thirty years ago there was an article in New Scientist (I didn’t just read it for the pictures) that talked about various things one ought to know if contemplating a Ph.D. Since I sort of was at the time (I was in the middle of a postdoc — it seemed only logical to follow it with the prerequisite) it seemed worth reading.
It made several excellent and helpful points. For example, it advised a candidate to embrace the tradition of banal conformity found in Ph.D theses everywhere. (In other words, DON’T TRY TO BE CLEVER.) It also advised embracing certain aspects of Sheldrake’s Theory of Morphic Resonance — it made the point that if everyone has (say) got the name of their department wrong for the past eight years, well, who are/were you to fly in the face of tradition? Their suggestion? Resonate.
That’s more or less what I’m doing here: all blogs have a place where the author describes him (or her)self in (glowing) detail and his (or her) hopes, dreams, desires and accomplishments. Because everyone does that, I’ll do it too.
Well, up to a point.
Why? Because I don’t really like talking about myself. I’m not entirely sure why that is — perhaps I’m just naturally shy and retiring. Or maybe I spent too much time reading some of the more… ‘motivational’ entries in my quotes file. (Many — I almost said ‘all’ — longtime un*x users have a file of ‘humourous’ quotes and a crufty script to extract one whenever ‘needed’.) Most likely, of course, is that I recognize that I’m just not that interesting a person. Some interesting things have happened to me or around me, but that’s not really the same thing. (This is probably why there’s (so far) only one picture of me on this blog and it’s really a picture of two young ladies named after starship captains. And a skull hat. (Aside: there’s now two.))
But because I’m resonating, some factoids about me (a few more here):
- I’m fiftysomething (almost the exact same age as the St. Lawrence Seaway in fact), rather contrary and — despite the gender of my pseudonym — male.
- Being Canadian, I play two different sports that involve large quantities of ice. (Not very well, but I play them. I write about them a lot too.)
- I collect T-shirts. Some of them have stories.
- I spent most of the 1980s in grad school in the pursuit of a doctorate in nothing. While learning to be completely unemployable I happened to pick up a few skills that led to a quarter-century in IT (system administration, mostly).
- I’ve played role-playing games since around 1976. In those days there was only one; that has since changed. I have about two and a half metres of RPGs upstairs along with a notebook that contains almost every PC I’ve created in the last thirty years.
- I last had a haircut in 1981. The woman that cut it has since died. I’m fairly certain that it wasn’t my fault.
- I’m left handed. In grade school I was forced to stay after class so they could break me of this obnoxious habit. It didn’t work.
So that’s me. There are more details in various posts. What do I Intend for this space? After two years I still don’t know; so far it has mostly been a recounting of anecdotes, of vignettes, of things that have made me smile, scratch my head or that have just bugged me. (I talk about this a little in ‘Pondering‘. A little.)
(Oh — that article also advised one to write a weighty thesis. (In their words: SLIM VOLUMES ARE OUT — FAT SLABS ARE IN.) Mine was one of the shortest in fifty years. I have no idea how I survived the defense.)
(An earlier version of this page is here.)