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Updated December, 2010
The profile of a local curmudgeon, mumpsimus*, writer and editorI am a Canadian writer, researcher, amateur historian, political commentator, blogger, politician, and avid reader.
I began working and writing for newspapers in 1969. Since then, I have been a newspaper reporter, photographer and managing editor; magazine editor, columnist and feature writer; book editor and book author (Mapping the Atari, published 1983, revised 1985, and contributor to Compute's Third Book of Atari, 1985). I currently write feature articles for the travel press, motorcycle press, pets magazines, local magazines, and write a regular weekly newspaper column on computers and technology, as well as regular articles for Discover Mexico. I worked for the local newspaper for eight years, including two as Sunday editor and three as managing editor.
I have written about Mexico, paintball, aviation, wargames, military history, animal behaviour, humour, movie and software reviews, computer languages, technical manuals, tequila, go, chess, poetry, music and album reviews, history, politics, Shakespeare, science, web design, Buddhism, language, cooking and food, ferrets, the environment, religion, the Cold War, tequila and winemaking. And probably a few other subjects I've since forgotten.
I also maintain a blog with some of my current writings, political comments, book and movie reviews, software and technology reports. I have been a regular radio commentator, TV interviewer and even had my own humourous local cable TV show and was the host of Politically Speaking. For a decade, from 1992, I was the local correspondent for CBC Radio's Ontario morning.
Computers are a big interest for me. I bought my first computer in 1977 (Radio Shack's TRS-80) and began writing about computers and software in 1978. I had a regular column on military/historical computer games and simulations in Moves Magazine from 1981 until it was sold in the late 1980s, and contributed to SPI's Strategy & Tactics magazine as well. I was also an occasional play-tester for SPI wargames. I was a contributing editor for several Atari and ST magazines in the 1980s. I was a sysop on both CompuServe and Delphi systems, running Atari-related SIGs, as well as my own home-based BBS. I have owned many Atari, Kaypro, Commodore, IBM, Apple, HP, Zenith, Compaq and other computers since 1977, although today I own PC-based systems.
For m0re than a decade, I wrote a weekly column on computers and technology for a Canadian newspaper, as well as regular articles for Discover Mexico magazine. My wife, Susan, and I love Mexico, especially Zihuatanejo, and we have been travelling around Mexico for the last 20+ years. We do not own property there, do not have time share or any business connections: we just enjoy the culture, people and geography of Mexico. We have also visited other locations there, including Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Arandas and Tequila.
I have owned many motorcycles in my time, from Triumph to BSA, Honda to Kawasaki, Royal Enfield, Harley and BMW. And, of course, Triumphs are the bikes I love the most. At the moment, time and finances don't permit me to own a motorcycle, but I hope to have another soon, preferably something classic - cantankerous and oddball, like me. But anothwr Triumph would be lovely.
I have had a web site since 1995, starting with my Henry Hudson timeline and a single tequila web page. I added and modified the rest over the following years and continue to upgrade it. My forum started in 2003, my blog in 04. I rebuilt the Henry Hudson and Tequila areas entirely over the last two years. My ukulele reviews went online in 2009.
Before we moved to Collingwood, I was a writer and editor, working both freelance, and on staff at magazines, newspapers and book publishers. I also worked at and was a volunteer at the Toronto Humane Society.
My own interests lie in predominantly history and science, although I read in many other areas including theology, sociology, economics, sociology, language, urban development, comparative theology and politics. I do not have a degree in any of these disciplines, but rather consider myself merely a lay historian who enjoys research. Sort of a Renaissance man, I suppose.
My wife and I moved from Toronto to Collingwood in 1990, making the shift from a large city to a small town. I serve my community as a member of the local municipal council (elected 2003, re-elected in 2006 and 2010). I have sat on the Library board, regional airport services board, sustainability committee, hospital board, and the affordable housing committee.
In the past I have sat on the Museum board (as chair), Chamber of Commerce board, Greening of Collingwood committee, Ride for Site local host committee, Vision 2020 committee. I have been a volunteer for many local events, organizations and other committees for the past 15 years. I believe strongly in active participation and volunteer service to help my community. Years in the media and my own personal interest in politics have focused my beliefs in the democratic system, the necessity for open and transparent process in government and bureaucracy, and the need for accountability in government - and I continue to rail against their lack in our current local municipal government.
For 11 years, Susan and I also owned (and I ran) a small retail print/copy/courier/graphics shop here - formerly Mail Boxes Etc. rebranded as The UPS Store. Through it we supported local service clubs, events, organizations and charities as much as we could afford. There I did design work, editing, art and layout, as well as answering the many political questions residents brought in. We sold The UPS Store in spring 2010, so I could dedicate my time to writing a book, Web site design, and to local politics.
In March, 2006, I joined 35 members of my forum in a historic whirlwind tour of tequila distilleries in Jalisco, including Tequila, Amatitan and Arandas. It was perhaps one of the most exciting and memorable events of my life. A forum group 0f 26 members returned in 2007 to visit the area again, this time including stops in Arenal and Tepotitlan. We enjoyed our third tour, in April 2008 - this time Susan joined us. Another tour is arranged for 2011, although we may have to wait for 2012 to join again. See my forum for details and my blog/gallery for personal notes.
My passions and pastimes include English language, motorcycles, history, paleontology, virology, Mexico, blues and jazz, politics, animal welfare, Shakespeare, Dickens, computer simulations, Buddhism, photography, motorcycles, chess, tequila, cross country skiing, bicycling, Japanese flute, gardening, Indian food, typography, Web design and programming, military history, winemaking, Napoleon, municipal/urban growth, photography, Darwin and evolution, the environment, cats, dogs and ferrets, hot sauces, the origin of writing and the alphabet, hieroglyphics, and a lot more. I believe, as Casanova is reported to have written, "No man can learn everything, but every man should attempt to do so."
I play a few musical instruments - just for fun, and not terribly well - guitar, harmonica, a little Native Indian flute, ukulele (since Feb. 08!) Strumstick, bass and I tinker with several others. I am fascinated by Eastern sound and want to explore sitar, veena, saz, oud, bouzouki... when I get the time (and money) to do so. I have a page now about my experiences looking for a good harmonica and several pages with my ukulele reviews.
I also like to play computer games (mostly simulations or strategic games like CIV I-V and Sim City, Spore and sometimes chess and go, but also some FPS and RPGs and even the odd MMORPG like World of Warcraft). I wrote a weekly newspaper column on computers, software and new technology that sometimes had reviews of these games. I also like to play chess, a game I was once rather good at, but have played little since I moved here, and my skills have become rusty. A new chess club at the library may help hone them.
I am a voracious reader and seldom have less than a dozen books on the go at any time, the great majority of which are non-fiction, with particular emphasis on history, sociology and science. I never stop researching my favourite topics, hence the frequent updates and changes to some pages herein.
Last updated: December 2010
*Mumpsimus (noun, Middle English): Incorrigible, dogmatic old pedant. Also called a foolosopher. Derived through incorrect copying of the Latin word sumpsimus. Found in the delightful book, Forgotten English, by Jeffrey Kacirk, Quill Books, New York, 1999.