Well, that was fun. Home safe now, with a bunch of delightful memories and photos.
Having had entirely too much to do with corporate and government projects, I hope you all can appreciate how incredibly smoothly this thing went off. Rather like this incredibly stable, bug-free website. Those whose efforts contributed to putting it all together are to be congratulated -- but most especially appreciated.
Our less cosmopolitan neighbors hereabouts have a saying which applies to unselfish effort and success on this scale: "Hold my beer; watch this...." Wait; that's the wrong saying. In this context it should be "Yuh done good, guys!"
And you really did.
See you all at the 100-year reunion.
Finally found a picture of her that Sherry, my bride of almost 30 years, is willing to let me upload. She's only slightly less camera-shy than ("I vant to be alone...") Garbo.
Her accomplice in this too, too artsy, black-and-white character study is Hazel, one of our more successfully obedience-trained Corgis. Notwithstanding an impressive résumé, immediately prior to this picture Hazel had blown a UDX competition routine with such breathtaking, crowd-pleasing flair that her performance that day may have served as the inspiration for the now-famous-in-dog-circles T-shirt: "My dog NEVER did THAT before...!"
We now return you to our regularly scheduled Comments:
Primary accomplishment during first five years post-HS-graduation: Managed to avoid being drafted, sent to Viet Nam. Thereafter, for next 12 years, tried, failed at, or bailed out on, more occupations than Colonel Sanders pre-KFC.
Initial, pre-Sherry, venture into marriage provided similarly educational experience: six delightful weeks of four-year marriage....
Learned to fly; gave it up once I learned myopia exceeded limits for First Class Medical certificate; could never make a living at it.
Built, raced Formula Vee (see FV photo below) all over Midwest, set lap records which stand today, won two championships, but never attracted sponsorship or pro ride. On the other hand, many of those I beat regularly back then are dead now....
Ultimately discovered court reporting; attended school, passed the state/national certification exams in 1976; moved to Florida in 1980; been working mostly felony court ever since. Professional high point (low point personally -- high ick factor): Worked entire two-week grand jury which indicted Danny Rolling, the Gainesville Student Serial Murderer.
In early '80s, discovered modest talent for selecting, arranging words: In 1981 & '82, sold novellas "Emergence" and "Seeking" (parts I & II of the "Emergence" novel [Bantam paperback, 1984]) to Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact magazine. Both novellas and the "Emergence" novel made final ballots for Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick awards; novel won Balticon's Compton Crook award for Best First Science Fiction Novel. Both novellas won Analog's AnLab readers' voting by the highest margins ever seen.
Next came "Threshold," Bantam paperback, 1985, followed by
--20 years' writer's block.
But in 2001, GiganticPix bought movie option on "Emergence," jolting me out of block: Horrified realization that some Hollywood flack would mangle my story prompted me to "get the bleep over it"; write a screenplay to go with the option. Like most movie projects, it's currently orbiting Hollywood in limbo. Not holding my breath; neither should you....
Thereafter wrote novels, "Spēcial Education" & "Schrödinger's Frisbee"; currently in prerelease, awaiting publication.
Finally, in 2008, completed and sold novel, "Tracking," sequel to "Emergence," again to Analog; serialized in three parts, beginning July, 2008. Well received; much positive fan mail; already nominated for Hugo, Nebula, etc. But not holding my breath here either; serialized-only novels seldom even make it to the final ballot, and the Wormhole Press startup (see below) has encountered one delay after another, so the vast majority of the normal reading (voting) audience hasn't gotten to see it yet.
Currently I'm toying with plot elements and accumulating bad puns for the "Tracking" sequel -- no working title yet.
Having lost, then surgically reattached, right middle fingertip two years ago, am semiretired from court reporting. Still can write machine shorthand quickly enough to "get by," but with no surface feeling in tip, am nowhere near as fast or unthinkingly accurate, plus each keystroke actually hurts, so it's less fun.
Sherry, also a felony court reporter, has less than ten years to go to state retirement. In contrast to my modest talents in the field, Sherry's tested in the upper one percent *of* the upper one percent of reporters nationally; she's capable of doing realtime and TV captioning. She's also a graphics artist (oils, watercolor, digital, etc.), specializing in pet portraits, but recently has begun exploring melted glass bead art.
We live in the center of ten heavily wooded acres halfway between Williston and Bronson, Florida. We're clearly visible on Google Earth.
Our primary hobby is Pembroke Welsh Corgi rescue (see Artis, Teela Brown photos below), though we have several unplanned rescued cats as well, and an even less-planned rescued Australian Cattle dog: See Caleb's adoption photo -- for the first couple weeks he actually thought his name was "Awwwww..."
Finally, advances in computer technology have made it possible for ANYone to be a publisher, so currently I'm gearing up to open Wormhole Press, Inc., a small-press publishing house targeting science fiction, fantasy, pets, various forms of art, and other niche markets. There have been delays -- to this point the project has been a showcase for Murphy's Law. But adversity tends to stiffen my resolve (means I'm stubborn). Anyway, it'll be hilarious if my retirement hobby turns out to be more profitable than all my single-minded efforts to make a living to this point....
Just curious: Am I the only one who, since he began fussing with this website, has begun having occasional first-day-of-semester dreams again, wherein I not only don't know what classes I'm supposed to be in, or where they might be, but everyone I ask has a different opinion of where they've moved the bleeping guidance office...?
Quite literally (even after I found the guidance office...), nothing I learned in grammar or high school prepared me for any of my failed occupations, the court reporting profession I succeeded in, or writing science fiction.
Decades later, we learned I'd had a then-undiagnosed learning disability (almost all learning disabilities were undiagnosed back then; those of us saddled with them were just "slow"); and while I'd soak up everything like a sponge for five or six weeks at the beginning of a course, once short-term memory was full, that was it: Took a long time and much repetition thereafter to transfer it into long-term -- way more time and repetition than the formal classroom structure of the day could tolerate.
Likewise, I never had a clue that "studying" was a skill. In 12 years of schooling, no one ever taught me the mechanics of *how* to study. Anything I picked up in school came in almost incidentally, passively, through osmosis.
Just as the science of learning disabilities was in its infancy back then, so, too, was guidance counseling....
In any event, after "achieving" nearly uniform Cs and Ds in math and almost everything else in the formal school setting, and barely graduating, I educated myself on-the-fly.
Prior to kindergarten, I had taught myself to read at home, gradually absorbing spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure over the years from others' writings. After graduation, learned enough math to work "simple" orbital mechanics well enough to write authoritative science fiction. Acquired sufficient competence as a self-taught programmer to create a DOS WordPerfect add-on package that permitted one to perform any function the program was capable of by touch-typing two or three home-row or home-row-accessible keys: unanticipated aptitudes to find in someone whose childhood-through-late-teens ambition was scuba/hard-hat undersea construction/demolition/salvage....
Point of fact, the only formal schooling I actually benefited from was court reporting "college," in my late 30s, where I not only got excellent grades (by then I'd absorbed the academics well enough to teach them, and, as the oldest student ["gramps"] was asked regularly to fill in for absent staff) but ultimately I built enough machine shorthand speed to pass the state certification exams in Illinois and Florida, as well as the national association certification exams.