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I used to wonder what I was going to do when (if?) I grew up. Lately, I’ve decided that although growing older is mandatory, growing up is most decidedly optional.
I was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, but moved away when I was quite young. I graduated from Boulder High School in Colorado, moved to California to attend De Anza College, and ended up leaving school to take a job as an operating systems programmer for ComputerVision.
I spent the 1980s and 1990s working in electrical and software engineering, specializing in closed captioning technologies for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, a field in which I hold two patents and several awards (not to mention the three books on the subject I’ve written). See my ego wall for details on patents and awards. I also gave a TED talk about captioning at TEDxBozeman in 2014. During my two decades in engineering, I wrote operating system and application code, designed integrated circuits, and programmed in a wide variety of languages.
I moved to Montana, where I owned a bookstore for 15 years with my wife, Kathy, although my primary source of income was writing. My list of publications includes over two dozen books and technical manuals, and hundreds of articles for magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, and Web sites. I’ve written for a wide variety of publications, from the World Book Encyclopedia to Renaissance magazine, on subjects ranging from cattle to computer hacking.
These days, I work as the Education Director for the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary, write books, and work on whatever side projects capture my interest (including my on-again, off-again webcomic called Ferret in a Lab Coat). We also have a family-owned tea shop (the Phoenix Pearl Tea Tavern), which my daughter manages.
I had a teaching credential (now expired) in computer and related technologies, and have taught at three colleges. I have also put on seminars for dozens of organizations.
I have served on numerous boards of directors, including the Red Lodge Festival of Nations (I served two years as president), the Fremont (California) Chamber of Commerce, Red Lodge Area Chamber of Commerce, Beartooth Elks Lodge #534, and the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary.
If there’s something Scottish going on in the area, I’m usually involved in it. Events I’ve emceed and/or organized include the Yellowstone Scottish Highland Games, the Festival of Nations, the Home of Champions Rodeo Parade, and our annual Robert Burns supper.