Do you prefer solicitors and service staff to address you by first name or by title+last (e.g. "Ms. Smith", "Dr. Adams", etc.)?"Mister" du Coeur, until and unless I say otherwise. First names feel like adding insult to injury coming from a solicitor -- it just adds to the presumption.
How many careers have you had?Only one worth really calling a "career". I flirted with the idea of becoming an actor at one point (it was one of the main reasons for going to Brandeis, actually), but dropped that when I realized (a) how hard I was going to have to work, and (b) how unlikely I was to make as much money as I wanted. Programming, by contrast, was entirely second-nature...
How many jobs? How many employers?
Hmm. Counting all "real" jobs (including my work for my father during high school, but not the scut-work Operations job at college), I believe that's eight employers by company name. Mind, two of those companies were my father's three-person office, and Looking Glass was technically owned by Intermetrics when I transferred there, but the jobs were pretty different. Hard to separate "jobs" from "employers" otherwise, since most of those positions have involved vast numbers of distinct projects, some for external clients and some not.
What was the best employer you worked for?"Best"? Hard to say, and I suspect my opinion would vary day-to-day. At the moment I'll say Convoq, in the sense that it's actually pretty decently managed. (Witness the fact that it's still in business after four years.)</li>
What was your favorite job?
I've actually liked most of them. Even Trenza had the virtue of being a cool and insanely ambitious project, although it wasn't all that much fun in retrospect. None were perfect, but all had strengths. Intermetrics let me do all kinds of cool stuff on DARPA's nickel, but little of it got commercialized. Looking Glass had *fabulous* ego-boo, at the cost of an insane level of effort. Buzzpad was deliciously well-run, but couldn't survive the horror that was 2002. And Convoq is pleasantly sane: not perfect in any way, but remarkably sensible for a startup. (And for the record: working for my father was both the most educational, and in many respects the toughest job. Since he'd taught me everything I knew, he *knew* how much I knew, and expected me to use all of it.)
How many companies, businesses or incorporated organizations have you founded?
Nothing that was quite that real-world.
Did you grow up to be what you wanted to be when you were 5? When you were 10? When you were 15? When you were 20?Hmm. Not sure what I wanted to be at 5, but it was probably an astronaut. By 10, I was probably already assuming I'd be a programmer. By 15, I was starting to flirt with acting; by 20, I was pretty clearly ensconced in my current track.
Have you published any books or academic papers? How many?
I founded The Letter of Dance, which at the time was the nearest thing there was to a journal on Renaissance Dance. I wrote a few articles for that, only some of which are cringe-worthy in hindsight. I wrote one chapter of Special Edition Using Java, a shovelware tome that several Carolingians were involved with. (I wrote the chapter on VRML, which I believe was obsolete before the book made it to the stands.)
Do you hold any patents? How many?
Three written, two submitted, one granted. The first was at Trenza, for the fairly radical "dynamic winnowing" scheme I came up with for managing large numbers of users in an online virtual world; I still want to try implementing that someday, but the company folded before we went anywhere with that. Second (the granted one) was for the Meet ASAP feature here; third (still pending, I think) is for the ASAP Links feature. The latter two were both joint efforts, although I did the core of the technical guts for each. I feel vaguely guilty about participating in a process that I consider fundamentally broken, but it's a key part of the game as things stand.
Are you licensed or certified to practice a profession(s)? If so, what?
No -- I actively dislike the idea of certifications for programming.
Ever served in the military? What branch and how long?No. Odds are that I couldn't serve frontline, even if I wanted to. (I have a very slight case of Tourette's, diagnosed in my teens, which shows up as a nervous tic when I'm tense. Generally controllable, but not something you want when holding a gun.)
What's the largest number of employees you have ever managed at a time?
I'd honestly say 3, although I've been jointly involved in managing larger groups. On the club side, I've run medium-sized event staffs, as well as running my Masonic Lodge.
How many countries have you lived in?
Just this one.
How many times have you been married?
How many kids do you have? How many grandkids?
Whom do you observe Thanksgiving with?
Nowadays, we seem to have fallen into a pattern of alternating years between family and friends. Need to figure out what we're going to do this year.
How many parents have you had?
Same as siderea -- Three. Two by birth and a step.
How many of your parents are still alive? How close are/were you to them?All still alive, and I'm fairly close to all three. I talk politics with my mother, and technical matters (and cooking) with my father and stepmother.
What's one way you were surprised to find out you turned out like one of your parents?
*Surprised*? Tricky -- there isn't that much to be surprised about. I suppose it did catch my aback a few years ago to realize that I'd picked up *both* my father's gregarious nature and my mother's introversion, a tricky pairing to juggle.
What's one way you expected to turn out like your parent(s) and were surprised not to?
By the standards of my family, I'm a conservative. That isn't saying much.
Do you own or rent your home? If the former, how many years on your mortgage, if any?
Own. The current house has 29 years and change left to go, although we managed to get about halfway on the last mortgage.
Do you have roommates (i.e. non-family adults living with you)? If not, how long has it been since you had roommates?Nope. Not counting cats, it's been close to 20 years.
Have you ever sat on a jury?
Once -- the first time I was ever eligible, I not only got called in, I was seated as foreman of the jury. It was a hoot.
Have you ever run for office? Held office?I assume this means real-world political office, in which case the answer is no. In clubs, yes, ranging from Chair of Intercon 15 to Master of my Masonic Lodge. (I've held lots of SCA offices, but the only one I've "run" for was Baron.)
Are you a member of a political party? Do you volunteer with it? Do you donate money to it?
The Democrats certainly seem to think I'm a member, but they are incorrect. I don't think I've donated or volunteered directly for a party, although I've donated lots to various more-specific political causes. I haven't volunteered much, and really ought to.
What's the nicest restaurant you've been to in the past year?
Probably either Blue Ginger or The Blue Room.
What's the nicest item of furniture you've bought? (Gifts don't count!)
Pity, because I'd probably name the end table we inherited from my grandparents last year. Most of our purchases are comparatively functional. I guess I'd say our bed, which was fairly expensive, but has proven to be worth every cent.
What kitchen appliance are you most happy you bought? (Gifts don't count!)Tougher -- there are so many to choose from. I'll cheat and say my grill, which is my favorite *cooking* appliance.
Do you have a preferred airline? How many frequent flyer miles do you have?I've got modest number of FF miles on several airlines, but I don't fly enough to care much.
Where do you like to go to vacation?In truth, we've been to Mouseworld more often than any other place. But I have been jonesing to return to London sometime.
Women: Do you wear skirts or trousers on the job?N/A.
Men: Do you currently have facial hair?Have had since I was 16. (Nobody, including me, wants to see my chins.)
Do you have grey hair yet? If so, do you try to hide it?Have had for several years now. The advantage of being a guy is that a bit of grey in the beard looks decent, so I haven't seriously considered coloring it. That'll probably change down the line, but I suspect I'll never do so -- while I'm a bit vain, I'm also too lazy to be bothered. (However, I was recently a bit freaked out to realize that my chest hair is going grey.)
siderea's Grown-up Meme
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