I grew up on a dairy farm near Manheim, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with about twenty cows, a thousand chickens, a dozen cats, and a dog or two. Early interests included chemistry experiments, identifying wildflowers, hiking trails in the Shenandoah Valley, and exploring caves in West Virginia. I began college at Penn State, but transferred to Alaska to finish my degree. After another year in Fairbanks, I moved to Anchorage where I worked at the Center for Disease Control as a computer programmer and systems manager. Then I spent several years at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services doing similar work for their Office of Epidemiology, interrupted by summer backpacking trips and winter travels to Australia. After learning some Swedish, I went to Sweden and attended Uppsala University, receiving an MS degree in Computer Science. The school, established in 1477, is the ninth oldest university in the world, and considered the best in Scandinavia. Yes, classes were taught in Swedish.
Upon my return to Alaska, I found its roller coaster economy at the bottom and moved to San Francisco to find employment. I found work in Berkeley, writing graphics workstation drivers and developing a user interface for a CAD system. I loved living in "the Bay Area", with its European flavor: great public transportation, lots of ethnic foods, Victorian style houses. After a few desert backpacking trips and travel through national parks and monuments in the southwest, I drove the 4000 miles (6500 km) back to Alaska. Since my return, I have been teaching computer science at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and spending summers backpacking and collecting fossil and mineral specimens. Foreign travels included more trips back to Europe (Scandinavia and Germany), and cave exploring in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Sweden. Domestic travels were numerous trips to Hawaii and California, with a couple of visits to the Gem and Mineral Show in Tucson, Arizona.
I started my side business, the Department of Redundancy Department, in the spring of 1997, after having played around with fractal designs for a decade. Although heavy teaching schedules in computer science allow me essentially no free time from late August to early May, my summers are completely open. That means lots of time for exploring in mountain regions like the Chugach, the Talkeetnas, the Wrangells, the Alaska Range, and the Brooks Range. I also tutor calculus and statistics, sell some cut and polished mineral specimens, and occasionally have a photograph or two published (Alaska Geographic, Alaska Magazine, Alaska Weather Calendar, Anchorage Times, and Summit Magazine). Hobbies include backpacking, rockhounding, spelunking, paleontology, stereo photography, computer programming and graphics. Recently, I have combined the interests of wildflowers and automaton theory by writing programs to simulate plant growth using Lindenmayer systems.