About the Grump

During my ~6.5 decades on this planet, I've done a great many different things, and I got started early: as a high school junior, my first paying job was painting signs; I was also a salesman at a hobby shop. While earning a Bachelors degree in graphic design from Trenton State College (a.k.a. The College of New Jersey), I worked at a local advertising agency, becoming the art director shortly after graduating. This was followed by a stint in the printing business, which included typography, darkroom work, plate-making, press operation and more. I even repaired printing presses and other equipment. Indeed, I discovered that I had a knack for fixing almost anything—even things I'd never seen before—from movie projectors to washing machines, from tape recorders to cars; consequently my sobriquet at the time was Spooky.

However, wanderlust and creative urges later drew me in other directions, such as multimedia production, voiceover work and sound engineering, followed by computer animation and video production/post production in Manhattan studios. During this time I also designed and built my own four-axis motion-controlled pin-registered 35mm camera for special effects photography, which became the engine of my own studio for several years. I could have patented the camera, but my timing was off: computers had just started killing off the traditional graphic arts industry, so I moved into desktop publishing and then into marketing, eventually becoming the marketing manager for an optical instrument manufacturer. In the 90s I also worked as a commercial web developer, in addition to doing technical illustration, technical writing, and software interface design. My final career move before retiring was to become a software developer for a major pharmaceutical company, which turned out to be the most challenging and rewarding decade of my professional life: in a very small, indirect way, I'd contributed to cancer research.

While flipping my first home in my early 30s, I honed my skills in carpentry, plumbing, electrical wiring, sheetrock, tiling, and just about anything else to do with home improvement. I'm now exercising all of these skills—and more—carrying out a lifelong dream of building my own home. Although I have more hobbies and interests than I can count, model railroading undoubtedly tops the list, having been practically an obsession since I was five; I even hold a patent for a model product. I also spend some of my time working on 1:1 trains as a member of the Pine Creek Railroad; at left, I'm jammed upside down inside the cab of diesel 7751 replacing the generator brushes. I'm not a locomotive engineer (never wanted to be), but I do operate a Euclid 10,000 pound forklift, which is a massive machine.

Writing and photography are close behind modeling and trains, and I've published quite a few articles on a wide range of topics, from model building to software interface design, from fiction to pet care. Plus, I've created dozens of websites comprising thousands of pages for myself, for others, and commercially for businesses; this one has been mentioned in a few books. Cinematography is another passion, and in a different life I'd have been a filmmaker, although I'm currently pursuing a film project with an indie producer (it's never too late to follow your dreams!). Science fiction in any form—literature, film, television, art—competes for my attention with science fact, from technology to astronomy, with a smattering of theoretical physics just for kicks. Music is also a huge part of my life, and I'm playing something virtually 24/365; I've even dabbled in composing my own music on occasion. I can honestly say that I have never been bored—I don't even know what boredom is like—and I never expect to be.

As a person, I'm probably not the most agreeable one you're likely to meet, given that I'm more opinionated and verbose than most folks prefer. But I'm also painfully shy, with a very strong aversion to crowds and parties. Never had any offspring and never wanted any, mostly because I dislike children, but also because I thought it would be cruel for a child to inherit even some of my personal baggage. I'm not about to claim I've had the worst childhood of all time, but it was still bloody miserable. Unfortunately, my adult life hasn't been much better, having been hurt by entirely too many people I'd trusted. It's all left a surfeit of scars and a disposition for depression. As a consequence, I prefer hiding in the woods: trees are non-judgmental, and they won't abuse or betray you. In short, I'm just a grumpy old fart who loves cats.

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