Normally I am something of an introvert and not prone to self promotion but when faced with filling a page labelled “About Me” I am not left with many choices.
I was born and raised on the Not So Great Plains. I am speaking of that part of South Dakota that is not what you think of when you think of Great Plains. Minnesota has a thousand lakes and we had one. That one was man-made in 1928 when shovel-ready projects actually were. The places to our west had endless vistas and scenery that made it hard to doubt the existence of a creator. We had snow drifts that seemed to go on forever for half the year and a dry wind that blew twenty-four hours a day for the other half of the year. Yet in spite of what we did not have in eastern South Dakota, it remains one of my favorite places on earth because it is home. Growing up in that part of South Dakota was like living in Mayberry without the Southern accents. I spent the first eighteen years of my childhood there.
Of course, my childhood did not end after a mere eighteen years but continued on as I moved from high school to college. The rumors that I had to leave the state at that point are without foundation. The facts were that I wanted to experience the urban lifestyle found only in Northeast Iowa in a town teeming with all of the excitement that only generations of Norwegian farmers can bring to an area.
It was there in Decorah, Iowa, that I received an education from Luther College, although I am sure the regents would prefer that I not mention it here. While at Luther, I took enough courses in mathematics to qualify for a major to the amazement and consternation of the professors in that department. Looking into the future and considering the possible impact on their reputations, they encouraged me to take more computer science classes. Their transparent ploy was based on the hope that I would never attempt a career that involved mathematics. Incidentally, I also had enough philosophy courses to qualify for a major in philosophy. This did not concern the philosophy department, either because they were stoics or perhaps just practical enough to know that I would never be able to get a job in that field.
After graduating (I know this comes as a surprise to you), I took a position working for the college. In retrospect, this may have been an effort to maintain the employment statistics for their alumni. Another possibility is that they preferred to have me working there rather than have me taint the well for future job applicants at some other employer. In either case, a year and a half later and for no discernable reason, I moved from the suburbs of greater metropolitan Decorah to the suburbs of Chicago. My adventures in Chicagoland started at a small timesharing company and thereby hangs a tale, but I do not have the time or the legal advisor to go into that now.
My next employer was Hewlett-Packard and I had the extreme good fortune to be there during some of the best years of the company and my life. I was blessed to work for one of the best companies on the planet for twenty-two years. I then spent the next nine watching what happens when a quote of Ariel Durant gets applied to a company. “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”
However, you would be mistaken to assume that I am bitter. I have managed to find forgiveness in my heart for the greedy, ignorant bastards who took down a once-great institution and turned it into just another peddler of largely me-too products. Not only have I managed to find forgiveness but the night terrors have subsided to the point where I only experience them during the first thirty-one days of most months.
On the positive side (& it far outweighs the negative), I met and married Karin while working at HP. The result of that has been over thirty-five years if wedded bliss for me1)You will need to learn from Karin how close to thirty-five years she has experienced as wedded bliss. and three wonderful children. I would spend more time talking about my family but it is more important that they continue to talk to me so I will leave this topic alone for now.
Although I loved the people and work at HP2)At least for the first twenty-two years, life after HP has also been rewarding in every way except for monetarily. I have found time to read books other than during a plane ride. I can now commit to meeting a friend for lunch and not have to cancel because of an escalation somewhere in the world. I am now able to devote some serious time to volunteering my services to several groups that prefer to remain unnamed for what should now be obvious reasons. I have also returned to my one of my early passions and have started writing software after too many years away from it. And finally, I now have time to spend filling pages and posts on several websites3)Specifically NotQuiteProfitable.com and NotQuiteNews.com. Now, aren’t you glad you asked About Me?
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