Thanks Edward for tagging me and introducing me to this blogging game. Now I have to tell some 5 things personal about my life that you couldn’t possibly know. Not really the forum I had intended to discuss ‘real life’. But so’s not to party-poop, and since you want interesting stuff, I’ll give you some of that:
- Like a lot of young boys growing up in the eighties, I had aspirations to become a space traveler – I came from a Royal Air Force family on one side and a US Army family on the other. I started learning to fly planes at age 16, and planned to join the USAF Airforce Academy as the next step. (I am an Anglo-American-Portuguese nignog by birth). Back then, applying to the airforce academy required written nomination from your congressman. However, I was born and raised, and resident in England, and in order to apply for the academy, at that time, had only to acquire a written personal nomination from the Vice President of the United States! (none other than Dan Quayle at the time). Needless to say, his written, hand signed, stately response to my plea was sadly – not in my favour.
- I didn’t initially do so well academically at school. Graphic art and physics was where my talents were. “Amore et Labore”. I went to catholic boarding school with monks (of the Josephite order) and wasn’t really into god-bothering the way they liked it. Needless to say, I didn’t fit in too well with that regime. I finally got ‘excused’ from school after an accumulated 9 year long record of ‘bad stuff’ (They actually kept a large manilla folder of it all, and threw it all at me in the end!). Technically speaking, we actually came to a ‘mutual agreement’ for leaving the establishment, after the final incident when – I refused my housemaster to leave the exam hall during my final graduation exams to shave of my beard stubble which I had allowed to grow too long in the preceding week! On the flipside though, I coped very well to independent, diverse life at university. Although I failed my first year of engineering at my first uni due to alcohol and sleep abuse, I got a sporting scholarship to a college in the mid-west US, where I made the Dean’s List. Then got serious about studying, returning to engineering in the UK to graduate from this uni after a further 3 years of study resulting in an upper 2nd class honours degree in Electronic Engineering (Opto-Electronic thesis).
- Sport was my main hobby as a kid, I started rugby at age 6, baseball at age 8 and american football at 17. Somehow, I was also the chess champion at primary school. Rugby was the main sport at school, and baseball and football were club sports for sundays. (Saturday schooling!). I earned my place on the Middlesex County Rugby under 19’s team (that’s one hop away from the national team). I made the men’s British Olympic baseball squad at age 17, and MVP’ed for the under 19’s British Crusaders National American Football team at age 18. The last achievement won me a sports scholarship to that college in the states, but a major, ‘contract’ injury destroying my left knee ended all hope of a professional sports career. I took up passionately rock climbing, mountaineering and skydiving shortly after learning to walk again. My primary hobby now is skydiving, where I have over 1200 jumps and specialise in free-fall photography (Its’ all about the tage!). I now also play Ice Hockey as a winter sport since I am living in Finland at the moment.
- Quietly – my IT career for me was actually a fall-back option from what I really wanted to do in life. During and after university, I trained to be mountain guide and paramedic, ending up emigratting to New Zealand, where my ultimate plan was to set up an adventure camp for keen kids wishing to learn and enjoy outdoor pursuits. Somehow, during that time, due to financial constraints, I had to give up ambulance work and fixing rich peoples houses on the side to survive, and earn some real cash contracting back to IT.
- I have mild dyslexia, acquired probably through the abuse from the contact team sports I’ve grown up with!
[BTW: that was a lot of fun finding various inter-web links to events, some of which occurred before even the web existed.]