Books, culture, fishing, and other games

August 02, 2003

More Than You Wanted to Know

I, Dan, rose from the waters of birth with a rod in one hand. From the hospital my parents took me immediately to the Thornapple River. There I caught my first fish, a bluegill, under my Grandmotherís osprey eye. For four years I called that my home water, then another kind of fishing set my life off onto a wilder trajectory. My father, being a fisher of men, took us off to the wild backcountry of Brazil, more commonly known as ďthe Amazon.Ē (My parents are missionaries for A.B.W.E. In fact, they just went back to the Amazon for yet another term since there is a shortage of pilots.)

Over the next twelve years I learned every form of fishing known to man. (Well, I did miss out on ice fishing, and I refused to try dynamite, though I did try firecrackers once.) Somehow I also found time to learn to read, and developed an interest in electronics, along with the usual things. I spoke Portuguese from the time I was four, took the first grade in Portuguese, then shifted to an English mix of correspondence courses and missionary boarding schools. I had a total of four years of schooling, of my first twelve, in American schools, when we were back in the States on furlough (in the 4 on, 1 off pattern).

I was back in the States, weíd settled in Atlanta, for my senior year, and I enrolled in Georgia Tech. My interest in electronics mutated into an interest in computers and programming. I dropped out after one year though. I was bored. I had been working as a weekend announcer at a small radio station. I took a mailroom job at a regional brokerage firm and worked both. Two years later, after a series of rapid promotions, I was moved to Wall Street to help open a clearing office there for the brokerage firm. Fourteen months later they moved me back to Atlanta to run the stock transfer department. I wanted to automate most of it, but they didnít believe I knew what I was doing, so I made a couple of calls and quit to start my own company. I wrote accounting software for the then emerging microcomputers for the next five years, developing a full accounting system for hotels along the way.

I sold out of that and took a job as a systems engineer with a computer firm and did the high-tech, rat-race thing, moving into networking, then internetworking companies. Somewhere in this period I started writing a bit and hanging around with writers. I suddenly wished Iíd gotten the formal education Iíd missed. So I started taking night classes at Georgia State, mostly literature and writing. When, after yet another job move, an upheaval wiped out my manager and changed the complexion of that company, I just quit and went back to school fulltime. When the degree was in sight, I sent out the apps for grad school. University of Chicago gave me the nod, so I went there for an M.A. I considered a Ph.D., butÖ maybe later. The politics in the academy are not attractive and I was losing my joy in reading too.

Coming out of that I promptly jumped back into the rat race (after a bit of fishing and frolicking in virtual worlds). This time it was network security companies, then consulting. Iím currently underemployed. Iím doing one ongoing job producing a monthly report on the medical privacy landscape and waiting for some contracts to close. Meanwhile I work at writing and fish less than I could.

Besides reading (almost anything) and writing, Iíve had a long and deadly relationship with computer games, mostly of the more strategic sorts. Iíve played most of the online games starting way back in the dark ages of hourly charges for 300 baud connections. I canít resist checking out the new ones, but I am jaded now, and burn out fast. I did a google on my name today and found out that a scenario I did for Civilization II has won fan awards in the meanwhile, which is pretty cool. I also turned up some references to old (bad) poems I published and strategy articles for games. Itís amazing the junk the web preserves.

And now I blog when the urge overwhelmes me. I like the immediacy, I admit. Were I a ďrealĒ writer, Iíd work a series of essays into a book. Maybe I can do that through the backdoor of blogging. I sure wonít do it the traditional way.

Posted by dan at August 2, 2003 03:12 PM | TrackBack


I couldn't find your last name anywhere. I'm a graduate of Puraque, class of 1974. I was only there for three years 72 to 74. My brother, Les, and his wife, Debbie, work at the schools as dorm parents, cooks and occasionally teachers. Did we go to school together?

Kerry Bowden

Posted by: Kerry Bowden at July 8, 2004 05:06 PM

did you know you are a googlewhack?

Posted by: Keith at August 8, 2004 02:42 PM
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