David In a Nutshell

During my six-plus decades on this planet, I've done an awful lot of stuff. I got started early: as a high school junior, my first paying job was painting signs; I also worked at a hobby shop. While earning a Bachelors degree in advertising design from Trenton State (a.k.a. The College of New Jersey), I worked at a local ad agency, becoming the art director shortly after graduating. This was followed by a stint in the printing business, which included darkroom work, plate-making and four-color press operation. I even repaired presses and other equipment; indeed, I discovered that I had a knack for fixing almost anything, from movie projectors to washing machines, from tape recorders to cars—consequently my nickname at the time was "spooky."

However, wanderlust and creative urges later drew me in other directions, such as multimedia production, voiceover work, sound design, computer animation and video production/post production, during which time I also designed and built my own camera for special effects photography. When computers started killing the graphic arts industry, I moved into desktop publishing and then into marketing, eventually becoming the marketing manager for an optical instrument manufacturer. By the early 90s I'd also become a commercial web developer, and I did technical illustration and technical writing. My final career move before retiring was to work as a software developer for a major pharmaceutical company, which turned out to be the most challenging and rewarding decade of my professional life.

While flipping my first home in my late 20s, I became a renaissance man by teaching myself carpentry, plumbing and electrical work, developing a particular penchant for tiling. (I'm now exercising all of these skills carrying out a lifelong dream of building my own home—or trying to, as outside forces have been working against me.) Although I have more hobbies and interests than I can count, model railroading undoubtedly tops the list, having been an obsession since I was seven; I even hold a patent for a model product—albeit one I've yet to develop. As a member of the "Old Man Crew" at the Pine Creek Railroad, I've also spent time working on 1:1 trains. Here I am jammed upside down inside the cab of diesel 7751 replacing the generator brushes.

Writing and photography are close behind modeling and trains, and I've published a number of articles on a range of topics from model building to software interface design. Plus I've created dozens of websites comprising thousands of pages, both for myself and commercially for businesses; this one has been mentioned in a few books. Cinematography is a passion, and in another life I'd have been a filmmaker. I'm particularly keen on animation and special effects, having worked briefly in both fields. Science fiction in any form—literature, film, television, art—competes for my attention with science fact, from dinosaurs to astronomy to technology, with a smattering of theoretical physics just for kicks. Music is a huge part of my life, and I'm playing something virtually 24/365; about the only genres I don't like are rap, acid and opera. I've even dabbled in composing my own tunes on occasion. I can honestly say that I've never been bored—I don't even know what that's like—and I never expect to be.

As a person, I'm not the most agreeable one you're likely to meet. Never had any offspring, never wanted any—indeed, I have a strong aversion to children. I'm not about to claim I've had the worst childhood of all time, but it was still bloody miserable. Left a lot of scars—thankfully none quite deep enough to cause a psychosis (maybe). My adult life, regrettably, hasn't been much better; as a consequence, I'm admittedly antisocial, and much prefer hiding in the woods: trees are non-judgmental, and they won't mistreat or leave you.

Incidentally, on the chance it might be of interest, a vividly accurate "sonic portrait" of me can be rendered with a single 12-minute piece of music: the third movement (Romanza) of Ralph Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 5, as performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra under the direction of Sir John Barbirolli. I'm specific about the particular performance because no two are exactly alike, and others produce subtly different emotional effects. While I've never heard a "bad" rendition of the Fifth, for me Barbarolli really owns this piece; the remarkable depth of emotion it evokes often moves me to tears, even after having heard it literally tens of thousands of times since I discovered it when I was around 14. Music has always spoken to me deeply, but never so intimately as with this work.

Grumpy Old Fart Film and TV Reviews

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