Exploring the World from the American West


How did the world we see around us come to be? And how does the world work? Both the natural world and the man-made world. To experience the beauty of the world, and the very best of human creations regardless of age or provenance. With an inclination to adventure and the adventurous in human endeavor, such as sailing and exploration, which aid those other goals about understanding the world and seeing its natural beauty. And with an inherited tendency to design things and create things and build things.

Such are my interests and my motivations. (Who wouldn't care about these things?) Such is how to understand my activities. This is an answer to the question "What do you do?" This is an answer to the question, not "what do you do for a living," but "what do you do with living?"

Like others I have a job, and I am a high school graduate. I had other academic experiences, long ago. I studied the physical sciences; it might have been biological sciences. But I do not define myself by a job title, or by a high school, or by having done time at some university or other. I am happy to say I attended the excellent Wooden Boat School in Maine during two summers. You can say I am a graduate of the Wooden Boat School.

I have had the good fortune to have done some interesting things. My family has turned out very well, but I can only take perhaps a little credit for that and I thank them greatly. I excavated the grave of a high Saxon nobleman in England. I have contributed to understanding the pyramids of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, my work which shall last the longest. I initiated the first experimental programming to make "point" public weather forecasts from numerical weather prediction model output files, which led to the point forecast tools in the National Weather Service web pages today. I have designed two sail cruising yachts and two day sailers, and built the day sailers. I restored one of Pete Culler's "good little skiffs." I can make good biscuits, and cheese souffle. Ici on parle un peu Francais. I know my way around a few cities and museums in Europe and the US, and I have seen Die Lustige Witwe at Volksoper Wien. I can drive on the wrong side of the road with standard shift. I can recognize and name all the native trees of the southern Rocky Mountains, and know something about the geology there, though western geology is a full-time, life-long, dedicated vocation. I have given paid history talks from Washington to Indiana. I was lead speaker at a science meeting in Portugal in 2014. I like to make photographs, and to write. I have published several papers in history journals, including the Cambridge Archaeological Journal.

As for work, I started by making a hash of the career I trained for, being too immature then, and not being smart enough and not driven enough by common ambitions, ever. Since then I worked as a programmer in weather data for 17 years, and in solid earth geophysics for the past 10 years. The sum 27 does not account for everything.

Whom do I admire? Theodore Roosevelt. David McCullogh. James Gurney. James Stewart. John Gardner, possibly a relative. Kenneth Clark. Combine a little of all those to get a small sense of whom I aspire to become. And many others.

What are my "goals?" Duke Ellington had the best answer to that question. Less amusingly, for me there are two books I want to write, one about a technical topic, and the other in philosophy, not counting several other book ideas I will not bother with now. And I really want to make ten or more good large canvases of western scenery. That's it -- one or two good books, and ten good painitngs. And some travel and boating. To enter the lagoon of Bora Bora standing in the crosstrees of a topsail schooner would be grand. And get most of the big chores done at home. And always try to act cheerful.