Seven Things - Tagged by Keith Casey

I'm really not sure I understand these "seven things" or "tagged" memes, but I'm going to give it a shot, after Keith Casey did a drive-by tagging of me on New Year's Eve.

So, without further ado, seven things you may not know about me…

  • My actual college degree is in comparative religion. I ended up in the Religion department at the University of Puget Sound (yes, the initials are UPS, which can easily cause confusion with brown, parcel-bearing trucks), due to a line of questioning that occurred during an Artificial Intelligence course I was taking. The instructor was asking if there would be any ethical barrier to unplugging an AI — i.e., since it would be capable of thought, would this be equivalent to "killing" it? My initial response was, "No," because humans consist of more than thought… and then I started wondering a bit about that. My emphasis in religion was in Eastern religions. I have a minor in Mathematics (CS at UPS was actually CS/Mathematics).

  • I have an FCC Commercial Radio Operator's License. My parents were volunteer DJs at KGLT while I was growing up, and I did my first radio announcing at… get this… the ripe age of 11. I finally got my license before starting college so that I could be a DJ at the university station… and ended up as the General Manager of KUPS my last two years.

  • I had long hair — down to my butt at times — for around ten years. Which likely comes as a huge shock to those of you who have met me at conferences. Ironically, I cut it off just prior to moving to Vermont as part of an effort to increase the success of my job hunt.

  • Before I started my programming career, I was a graphics technician. The job immediately prior to my first programming position was with a small book publisher that specialized in bird hunting and flyfishing guidebooks, for which I created maps, scanned and processed images for books, and did book and catalog layout.

  • My first Object Oriented Programming was in Perl. If you've ever done OOP in Perl, you'll likely agree with the following statement: OOP in any other language is easy by comparison. I mean, come on, a syntax where the very definition of an object requires that you "bless" a "thingy"? Truly; this is from the "bless" documentation:

    bless REF: This function tells the thingy referenced by REF that it is now an object in the CLASSNAME package. If CLASSNAME is omitted, the current package is used. Because a bless is often the last thing in a constructor, it returns the reference for convenience. Always use the two-argument version if a derived class might inherit the function doing the blessing. See perltoot and perlobj for more about the blessing (and blessings) of objects.

    This made OOP in PHP look easy.

  • I hold the degree of shodan in Aikido, though I haven't trained in several years, due to time and travel constraints. I love the movement and flow of Aikido, and always found it very meditative. I also liked working with weapons, especially the bokken (wooden sword). This is why when I say, "don't make me get my clue bat out," you should take heed; I know from experience that white oak leaves a mark.

  • I could have been Cal. When Zend first interviewed me, it was for the position of Editor-in-Chief of DevZone. After my in-house interview, I had reservations — I didn't feel experienced or connected enough, and was worried I'd botch it. Fortunately for me, and probably the PHP community in general, they decided to hire me as a PHP developer instead.

So, that's seven things (and quite a bit more, really) about me. And now it's time to tag some others:

  • Cal Evans is an obvious choice for me. Besides having worked together for some years, he's a great friend.
  • Stefan Koopmanschap, who took a train to Amsterdam just to have dinner and a beer with me.
  • Sean Coates, whom I met in an airport on the way back from ZendCon two years ago, who lives less than two hours away, and whom I haven't seen since that ZendCon.
  • Lorna Jane Mitchell, with whom I'll be doing a tutorial session on Subversion at php|tek, and who will be clearly flustered by being tagged.
  • Ivo Jansch, whom I met almost two years ago, and somebody I admire and respect greatly.
  • Ligaya Turmelle, one of my co-authors for "The PHP Anthology," the woman who got me to volunteer as a phpwomen Booth Babe, and now MySQL guru.
  • Rob Allen, who has made my job easier by publishing tutorials and now a book on Zend Framework, and who in real-life is a mild-mannered Clark Kent I'd gladly raise a pint with any day.

And here are the rules I'm supposed to pass on to the above bloggers:

  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post - some random, some wierd.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.