About Mr. Guilt   1 comment

Bow tie avatarI was born in Louisiana, and am a descendent of the Acadians–the French settlers of Acadia (now known as Nova Scocia) who finally settled in the Bayou State. Born in the Seventies, I’m a solid member of “Generation X.” I attended high school at Saint Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

After graduating, I attended college at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I received a degree in Political Science. Along the way, I worked in King Library, and got my first taste of the Internet, pre-web, on the Vax.

I also met a girl.

After a few years back in Louisiana, I moved back to Cincinnati, married the girl, and bought a house. I’ve been in the Queen of Cities for seventeen years as of this writing, and enjoy the community. I live in a hundred-and-twenty-year-old house with my wife, our daughter, and three cats. I seem to have several varied interests, which form the basis of my blog.


I consider myself a geek. Geeks have numerous characteristics–a near obsessive love of technology and pop culture, for instance. However, I think one of the best descricription of a geek comes from Marison Mayer of Google: “Geeks are people who love something so much all the details are interesting.” They don’t look at the end product, but all the components, and how they are put together. My mom will tell you how, at seven, I would take apart toys and reassemble them, just to see how they would work. Geeks love things in a child-like fashion, and are willing to express that love without embarrassment. I take pride in being a geek, but I also see geekiness as something that is not limited to classic geek prursuits (computers, SciFi, etc.). I look to see and appreciate how other people pursue their interests in a way a geek would (even if they don’t consider themselves geeks).

Professional

I have been working in the information technology feild for approximately twenty years. I got my start working in desktop support, including teaching users how to work a spreadsheet and deploying workstations. I moved up to server administration. I am now the data center manager for a global consulting firm, and have been developing and mainting skills in IT infrastructure, security, and business continuity.

I find IT infrastructure in general and the data center in particular to be an interestig part of IT. At such a low layer of the “stack,” almost everything else that happens–from processing accounts to eCommerce–has to involve these components. As we moved into the twenty-first century, I’ve discovered that the data center is one of the few places where people physically touch hardware. I’ve also found that there are a variety of other challenges in that space that are unique. On a given day, I’ll have to discuss shipping servers, disposing of network gear, the financial model used to charge for the sapce, and workplans for bringing on new clients.

Cat Conservation

Feeding at Cat...Like a BossPrior to 1996, I wasn’t a cat person. I grew up with dogs, and my parents did not hold cats in high regard. That summer, however, there was an orange cat living in the parking lot of my then-girlfriend (now-wife). We determined she was abandoned, and, as my apartment didn’t charge for a pet, I took her in. We named her Maggie, and she lived with me for fourteen years as my best friend.

Over the years, other cats have joined my family. This inspired an interest in the entire felidae family–cheetahs, fishing cats, snow leopards, and the other 37 species. One of the things that facinate me is how, on roughly the same platform, a variety of adaptations can be seen. You can many similarities between, say, cheetahs and fishing cats–roughly the same shape and proportions. However, where cheetahs have large lungs and a spring-like spine that gives them their great speed, fishing cats, have webbed feet and a coat that allows it to operate well in water.

I’ve become and advocate for cats. I have made contributions to a variety of cat-related websites. I also take photographs of cats at zoos, many of which have been used for other publications. My own blog has also educated many. In many cases, this is the first exposure readers have had to some species of cats. You can’t save something you don’t know about. My hope is that through education, we can start to take steps to save these wonderful creatures.

Truth be told, I’m facinated by all sorts of living creatures–orcas, otters, lizards, whale sharks, and other critters. While I tend to write a lot about cats, I will often slip in details about the rest of the animal kingdom.

Fountain Pens

As a junior in high school, I read an article in Popular Mechanics about fountain pens. A few years later, I was able to purchase my first fountain pen, a Parker Sonnet. Over time, this grew to include pens that date back to 1890. I’ve also learned how to repair pens, which makes “sumgai” finds.

Though I have pens that go back for more than a century, I like to think of my collection as a “working collection,” in that the pens are regularly inked and used. Granted, there are some which get used a lot more than others. These were made to be used, and I think it would be sad if they simply sat in a box never to touch paper. I also think it is a testiment to their engineering.

Most fountain pen collectors also become afficianados of paper, ink, and other office supplies. I’m no exception. I’m fortunate in that my wife seems to share this interest, and is willing to walk into various office supply stories with me. My daughter is picking up the bug as well.

Cycling

By the Portsmouth MuralI’ve been a cyclist since starting college. My parents got me my first adult bicycle as a graduation from high school present. I describe myself as a recreational road cyclist. While I primarily ride a bicycle with drop bars, I don’t race, nor do I tour.

Mostly, I like to go out for nice, long rides. There is a lot of great countryside in the Midwest to explore, and I think a bicycle is a great way to know the land. Anyone who had riden in southwest Ohio knows it’s anything but flat.

I’ve completed over two dozen centuries in the last decade–one day rides of one hundred miles or more. It’s great exercise, and a lot of fun. I’ve also made a lot of friends.

Starting in 2000, I became a bicycle commuter, covering the five miles to and from work by bicycle (though for the last several years, due to a lack of place to shower, I’ve moslty biked home from work, rack’n’riding to work). Aside from being great exerise, it saves money, and is great for the environment. I think bicycles are part of a many tiered strategy to solve a lot of urban transportation problems.

My road bike is made by Habanero, and has a titanium frame (the best material for a recreational cyclist’s rig, in my opinion), and Shimano Ultegra components. I commute using a 2002 Trek hybrid I lovingly call my “truck.” It’s been outfitted with a rack, as well as a hitch for a trailer bike.

Cooking

Inspired by Alton Brown, I started to cool. It started small with first–it’s hard to mess up granola. I’ve moved on to a variety of dishes, even creating a few recipes of my own. I bake a lot–my daughter has rarely had store-bought bread in our house (and no, I don’t use a bread machine).

Cooking, in my opinion, is a very geeky pursuit. In the process of arrving at the finsihed product, you see all the components (otherwise known as ingredients), and the processes by which they come together. The more you understand how that works, the better you are at cooking, in my opinion.

I post pictures of my cooking pursuits on my blog, along with the occasional recipe. My favorite place to discuss cooking is on twitter on Monday afternoons as part of Foodies Night In.

Computers

In part because of professional pursuits, I’m a lover of computers. My first computer was a Commodore 64. I programmed a lot in BASIC. In college, I learned more programming languages. Today, I do a bit of hacking in perl, and manage my family’s network. I confess that working with computers today is much, much easier than it was back in college.

As I noted earlier, I’ve been on the internt longer than there was a World Wide Web. I thought a 2400 baud modem was an upgrade, and I’m very comfortable going to a command line.


Means of Contact

You can find me at Twitter, which serves as my virtual water cooler, and Pinterest. These may be the best ways to get in touch with me, as an e-mail address is an invitation to spam. I’m happy to exchange e-mail with folks–you may just need to get to me first through one of those methods (or any private messaging afforded through WordPress).

I make an effort to maintain some degree of privacy on my blog–I avoid putting my real name, employer, etc, in an obvious fashion. My goal is to limit googling my real name and landing here, or vice versa, immedately. That’s not to say it can’t happen; I just want to not make it easy. Since Facebook and LinkedIn use my real name, I don’t have a direct link from here.

Posted 2009-05-26 by Mr. Guilt

One response to “About Mr. Guilt

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  1. Pingback: July Hodge-Podge « Mr. Guilt's Blog

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