Originally just a simple boy from Arkansas, I have not really changed very much.
OK, so that may not be enough to let you know who I am and what I am about. To better explain my interests and skills, it might be helpful to know I am a student of experience and not academia. I am not saying school is bad, it was just not for me. Everything seemed to move at a snails pace, and what we were being taught was too abstract to be practical. My High School was filled with amazing teachers, I would only later find out. I was fortunate to participate in a very active Gifted and Talented program, developing my creativity and spontaneous problem solving skills. This was the most valuable experience of my entire life. I went to many world finals and International competitions, which made me appreciate the diversity I had never really noticed. Just seeing how many different kinds of students were from Arkansas, nevermind the US and other countries, I realized that there was so much undiscovered for me, and I had to broaden my horizons. Well, off I went to Louisiana Tech as a Biomedical Engineering major. After the first year, I actually met some Biomedical Engineers, and realized this was not what I wanted to do. That was my first (failed) lesson in failing fast. I stumbled through my second year as a Medical Tech major, and that was a miss as well. I should have been taught better about how to read a college course guide, and filter out the crap.
So, with a greatly successful high school experience and two years of half-hearted college education, I made my way into a great job at a resort in my hometown of Hot Springs. I was an Activities Director at a timeshare resort. I planned a week of group activities that vacationers would not be able to enjoy on their own. I was mainly an emcee and resident personality that knew all about the city. I could just be myself, and do simple things that brought people together. Man, what a great job.
I kept up with computers as a hobby back then, always trying new things and using them whenever I could. I would have never imagined that I would later make my career out of those things. I eventually found Bulletin Boards, and made regular modem connections to get the latest software and keep up with technical discussions. That brought me into the world of artificial intelligence and machine thinking. Somehow, that led to creativity and innovation studies, and some business strategies that rely on strong leadership, fast thinking and loose protocols.
Somewhere along this line of exploration I picked up a book about creativity and business, which had a thick foundation on Zen philosophy. I had read some Buddhist stuff in the past, and even a few Zen specific things, and it was just confusing. But, when I read a particular passage, something deep within was exposed. Actually, all the stuff that had covered up my real self was knocked off. It was like a corrosion caked bell had been rung, sending the shards of encrusted crap into all directions. Anyway, things looked different after that.
I took up meditation and wizzed through book after book of Zen philosophy and study. I discovered I was not alone in this experience, and there were volumes of commentary on the matter. I eventually started studies with a Zen Master from Kyoto, and I have been quite rewarded through the ordeals of long meditations and koan study. I was fortunate to help lead a Zen study group in Hot Springs, where we discussed things and did some meditation work.
In my full-time work, I was in the middle of the Internet explosion. I was linked one way or another to an ISP, and I was there for the building of the bubble, the pinnacle of speculation, and the eventual cooling of the hysteria. I was chiefly a web programmer, with a healthy dose of server manager and network engineer thrown in here and there. I had a great time doing product development, which kept me in the bleeding edge of VoIP, Wireless and network services for the ISP. Now, I am at the global level of networking. The customers I work with are powerhouses that drive the global economy and are working in countries all over the world.
For fun, I got into card magic. I blame it on a simple Halloween wizard costume. I needed a few tricks as a wizard, and a local magic shop totally hooked me up. It was after Halloween that I came back in again and again looking for card tricks that did not require any special equipment or preparation. This is not the usual "pick a card, any card" variety of card magic. I was interested in the sleight of hand type of magic based on old gambling ideas and skills reserved for liars and cheaters. It was not long before I was immersed in the rich Chicago magic scene, full of professionals and amateurs that all loved magic. Over time, I gathered together one of the more complete libraries of privately circulated books and manuscripts specific to card magic and sleight of hand with playing cards. I have to be honest, it breaks my heart when I perform a trick for someone that required hours of practice and some very real skills, and they just want to check the cards for the source of the trick.
Along the way, I got into sewing and the more elaborate needle work techniques of embroidery, lace and trim making from a developing interest in renaissance costume. There seem to be big gaps in the skillset needed to make some of the more genuine articles that really adds the characteristic foundation and decoration to the garments. Of course, I wanted to know how it was done, and tried my hand at a lot of it. Reticalla, embroidery, gold work, and bobbin lace all appealed to my sense of curiosity.
Later on, life and a good living added some pounds to my mid-section. Healthy eating seemed to be the right thing for me, so I re-thought my meal patterns and the foods they contained. Applying creative principles and a skilled kitchen sense, I work on delicious and nutritious meals and adapted recipes that could work well for anyone. They are adaptable to be useful for meat lovers, vegetarians, and vegans. By default and not by intention, most fall into low sugar and most pop-diet categories. I truly believe that pop diets and avoidance fads just add window dressing to a simple and fundamental way of eating that is basically natural and uncomplicated by marketers with new stuff to sell. To be even more precise, I really hope to teach the Chef mindset, which is being able to look at what you have and fashion something delicious from a pantry of basic but familiar components.
All of this, and I didn't even finish College. Teaching yourself is a skill worth developing.