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User since: Sep 19, 2000 at 20:09 UTC (20 years ago)
Last here: Sep 20, 2020 at 01:21 UTC (13 hours ago)
Experience: 15976
Level: Monsignor (18)
Writeups: 552
Location:~Seattle, WA (USA)
User's localtime: Sep 20, 2020 at 07:48 -07
Scratchpad: View
Member of: janitors, pmdev, power users, SiteDocClan
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OK, the pic is a startup screen from my aborted attempt to master Black and White, but hey, who doesn't like to have their divine powers acknowledged?

Note: Most of the following was written in the 'aughts. Since then, I've added multiple roles in the industry (including three in places I'm sure you've heard of and two in places you might have heard of). No longer working with databases; most recently involved with the (open) web, cloud services (from multiple providers), and i18n.

Hello, and welcome. If you're looking for nodes you should know, check here.

About Me

I wandered from the Monastery because my day jobs took me away from Perl. I returned in 2019 because, well, a new role brought Perl back into my toolkit. (I am not operating system monogamous; I routinely carry devices running five separate OSs. Why? Because I never know when I need to check something.)

20+ years professional experience in varying development roles, e.g. working as a programmer-type. Have worked in nearly every department devoted to development and programming, ranging from front-line tech support to project management. This includes stints in documentation, QA, training, development, and developer services. Currently doing a lot of the above.

I'm still a working programmer, paid to develop code...sadly not Perl (though, I'm working on that). Improving my Perl and Unix skills so I can be relevant (read: employable) in a city that slavishly supports the Evil Empire. (While the bulk of my experience is in Windows, it's not been with Imperial tools. PK once said, "Eich Bein Borlander."1 When he said that, I was. This was a cool thing at the time.)

I have worked for federal agencies, commercial software publishers, consultancies, and corporate development. I have worked with Fortune 100 companies, non-profits, TLA government agencies, book publishers, small companies, large ones, and many sizes in between.

All of which means I've had the dubious honor of working across the entire spectrum of organizational structure and business models. Also, I've lived (in the last six years) in Santa Cruz (CA), near Manhattan (NYC), Atlanta (GA), and ~Seattle (WA), which means I have a pretty clear understanding of regional differences in this country. (FWIW, I *really* miss decent ribs, foot long 'dawgs from the Waterfront, decent public transit, and the ability to pull all-nighters.)

Really good with Databases. Getting better with Perl.

Sign: Capricorn with Leo rising, as if that matters.

Dream Job: Anything at ILM, provided they were located in another state.


If you see me making an odd comment in ChatterBox, or even a post, it's likely an attempted pun or obscure reference meant to be humourous. I love word-play and can quote long passages from a variety of the standard geek sources from the last 30 years. I hold a BA in Drama from a liberal arts college known for being difficult and a have fascination for problem solving.

Combine all that with a sense of humor steeped in Monty Python, the BBC production of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and many others and you can understand why I tend toward being overly silly at times, especially with obscure references.

About the 'Nym

   "You're just a common thief, then."
   "Madame, I may be a thief, but I am not common."
      -- Source forgotten, sorry... 2

Some time back, I promised to explain the 'nym. Most of you have undoubtedly heard of the text adventure game called Adventure (or one of its variants: Colossal Cave, Crystal Cave, Zork, et al.). During my first semester of college, I worked as a computer operator in the CIS Lab, which contained a DEC VAX 11/750. This machine had a variant of Adventure called dungeon.

During a slow afternoon, an argument took place between the four operators. Two claimed they could finish the game with a perfect score more quickly using the source (Fortran, I believe) while I and a friend politely (ahem) disagreed. We claimed one only needed careful mapping and initiative. A challenge was made. A few weeks later, my team won (proving, I suppose, Sherlock Holmes's maxim regarding Observation and Deduction).

One of the rooms in the game (the Sphere Room, if memory serves), contains a small sign on the wall that says, "Hello, Footpad." One notices it just after having a cage fall from the ceiling, trapping your character. I found that amusing and adopted it as my tag line on the system chat client. (As an aside, this message appears when I boot my DOS-based machines or telnet into my remote Unix accounts. Drives casual observers nuts.)

As with most games of this type, you're given a rating based on the number of points earned by playing. In dungeon, a perfect score is rated as "Master Implementor." One of the operators took to calling me "Master Footpad" and the others quickly followed suit. (One threatened to hack the payroll records accordingly.) I eventually dropped the "Master" bit.

(Aside: I do use the 'nym in other online areas, though not /. or yahoo. I've got different 'nyms there. I do not own the domain because someone's squatting it and I don't feel like rewarding them for it.)

This was reinforced later when working on my Drama degree. See Farquhar's The Beaux-Stratagem (notably Act II, Scene I). If you have to ask, you missed the point. Read the entire play...out loud. Yes, it does help, especially when reading the older stuff. Try it with Bill; you'll be surprised. I don't give a flying fig how silly it sounds; just do it...out...loud. Yes, do the falsetto, if it helps. Play the part; feel the part. Become the character.

Huh? Wha? Oh, sorry. I got sidetracked. Anyway...

Many of my favorite literary (and occasionally historical) characters have been "gentlemen o' the pad" or people beyond the pale. Consider: Simon Templar, Robin of Loxley, Alexander Mundy, Bart Maverick, etc. (there are others as well, but I'll leave those for your imagination).

Thus, the 'nym is a nod to the gentleman scoundrel. Someone who may not always follow the rules, sometimes inconveniences others, but generally helps to improve things in the long run.

Or, as I explained to a senior manager who once accused me of being a loose cannon, "No, I'm a maverick. There's a significant difference."

   "Scoundrel. I like the sound of that."
      -- Han Solo, "The Empire Strikes Back"

Special thanks to:

Email address available upon request; please send a private /msg first.

And so on...

I'm in the process of fleshing this out a little more. In the mean time:

Here's a bit of ego boost I once received (and nearly missed) in the CB:

tye frontpages another [of] footpad's lazy, underresearched, quick hacks of a node, says "my work here is done", and heads home.

(The ID of the node in question is left as an exercise.)


1 - I'm told the proper German is, of course, Ich bin ein Borlander. This may be true, but the scuttlebut that I ran into while working there says the phrase I quoted was the one actually uttered. So, which form of pedancy would you prefer? Revisionism or Journalistic? :-)

2 - And, no. It's not from Die Hard; the quote you're thinking of is slightly different. I believe it's from a novel. If that helps.